[T]HE Borderlines Book Festival returns to Carlisle in October for the fifth year. There will be events from Thursday September 27th – Sunday October 7th, with most taking place October 5th – 7th at the Crown & Mitre Hotel, Carlisle Library, Tullie House Museum, Cakes & Ale Café, the Museum of Military Life and Stanwix Arts Theatre.
The media and MPs (ex!), in their various guises, provide a few big players for the festival this year. Ex MP Alan Johnson looks at the way music has influenced his life with the help of Stuart Maconie who will tell us, in another event how he walked North to South retracing the footsteps of the Jarrow marchers to discover what Britain is really like today. Former Labour Minister, Chris Mullin, who was MP for South Sunderland for 23 years, introduces his memoir, Hinterland. Susan Calman, comedian and radio and TV presenter, dances her way back into the Crown and Mitre Ballroom to lighten our lives! Another Radio 4 comedian, Robin Ince, provides further laughter and cheer as he tries to work out the human condition. Guardian journalists, Lucy Mangan reveals her favourite children’s books of years gone by whist investigative reporter Luke Harding spills the beans on Trump and Putin.
The festival’s supporter and media partner, Cumbria Life will be celebrating as Hunter Davies talks about his 100th book, to be published by the magazine.
Anniversaries play a big role this year. It’s two hundred years since Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was published, and author Fiona Sampson tells all. It’s 100 years since the end of World War One, and military historian, Peter Hart, who has worked as the Oral Historian of the Imperial War Museum since 1981 will talk on The Last Battle. And of course, 2018 marks the centenary of Women’s Suffrage. We are proud to welcome to the festival Helen Pankhurst, the great grand-daughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, the founder of the Suffragette movement. Writer Caitlin Davies will also talk about those Bad Girls – the suffragettes who were imprisoned for their beliefs
This year sees the inaugural Carlisle One World Talk by a leading expert on climate change, Mike Berners-Lee.
Poetry and performance will play an important part this year. The Scottish Makar (Poet Laureate), Jackie Kay, will venture over the Border and delight us all with her poetry and childhood memoirs. Another Scottish poet, multi award-winner, Don Paterson, will play music and read poetry with Cumbrian writer, Marie-Elsa Bragg whilst looking at tradition, landscape and spirituality. The ever-popular Poetry Breakfast with Malcolm Carson will take centre stage once again in Tullie House. And we will have the Cumbrian premiere of Lamanby, a combined film and live reading by Jake Polley of the depiction of his Carlisle childhood as seen in his award-winning anthology Jackself. The festival will be in awe when world-renowned Shakespearian actor, Michael Pennington, recounts the demands put upon any actor in playing King Lear.
Fiction lovers will be delighted to hear Booker Prize – winning author Pat Barker on her newest book, Silence of the Girls. Joanna Cannon’s fans will love hearing about her new novel, Three things about Elsie, which follows her bestselling The Trouble with Goats and Sheep. Carlisle writer M W Craven joins author Vaseem Khan in comparing Cumbrian crime stories with Indian crime stories. (That’s an intriguing one!)
Cumbria features in a further three events-Andy Beck on his magnificent book the Wainwrights in Colour and Graham Robb on the history of The Debatable Land, on the Anglo- Scottish border, and Ruth Sutton with her Cumbrian crime fiction
No festival would be complete without one or two biographies, so Cumbrian Kathleen Jones’ portrayal of Catherine Cookson is bound to reveal a few little-known facts about her life. It’s likely that the life of Thomas Cromwell as written by historian, Diarmaid MacCulloch in his new biography will be a very popular choice at the festival.
Professor Sue Black’s gripping account of her life and career as a professor of anatomy and forensic anthropology is sure to be fascinating as well as harrowing. Moving swiftly on to life, rather than death, Edinburgh GP, Gavin Francis combines patient case studies with cultural history to show the changes in mind and body that continue throughout life. And the life and times of the animal kingdom will be well documented by natural historian and journalist, Jim Crumley.
There will be two masterclasses on crime fiction and historical research; workshops on poetry, fiction, graphic novels, blogs, mindfulness, nature writing amongst others; films; a quiz; a poetry book launch; puddings from famous meals in history with Struan Stevenson at Cakes and Ale; secrets of a bookseller from Shaun Bythell of Wigtown and the best ever parenting tips from blogging sensation and Dad, Matt Coyne.