Durham Book Festival

New Narratives for the North East

They tell us that we live on a tiny crowded island. They try to tell us that we are tiny within ourselves. Tell them to come up here with the skylark, to forget what they think they know, and to look down upon the vastness of the North.” – David Almond, from ‘Sing the North’.

Fifteen writers have been commissioned to create new work about the North East in an ambitious project from New Writing North, Durham Book Festival and the North East Culture Partnership.

We believe that in order to thrive we need strong narratives and stories, which help shape our collective imagination.  We believe that the North East needs new narratives to tell its story and to help shape its future.

In late 2019, we launched the call-out for New Narratives for the North East, a major commissioning strand for new work across genres.

The project was announced following massive political events for the region, including the Brexit vote and the 2019 General Election. The commissions were made during a global pandemic in which areas of the North East have been amongst the worst hit in Britain.

Yet, the 15 writers are asked to look beyond the flux and rhetoric of the current moment to capture something deeper and more lasting about the contemporary North East and its people.

The work will be presented in a variety of forms including as essays, films, podcast episodes, and as part of a special digitally-focused Durham Book Festival.

New Narratives for the North East is created by New Writing North for the North East Culture Partnership and is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, Durham Book Festival, and Arts Council England.

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