Cumbria Crack

Award-winning Borderlines Book Festival returns to Carlisle

Thursday 26th September – Tuesday 8th October

Author Highlights for 2019: Louise Minchin, Tim Farron, Alexander McCall Smith, Amanda Owen, Gervase Phinn, Hunter Davies, Ann Cleeves, Joanne Harris, Adele Parks, Andrew Roberts, Jackie Morris.

Borderlines Carlisle Book Festival returns to the city centre from Thursday 26th September to Tuesday 8th October. Last year over 3,300 tickets for over fifty events were sold, and this year promises to be even bigger!

Events will take place across Carlisle, in the Crown & Mitre Hotel, Carlisle Library, Cakes and Ale Café, Tullie House Museum, the Tithe Barn, and Stanwix Arts Theatre. The 2019 programme will be distributed across Cumbria and beyond from early August.

Tickets go on sale on Monday 5th August and can be purchased online at and at Bookends, Carlisle.

Famous faces and celebrated authors and poets will be visiting Carlisle for a fantastic programme of events, talks and workshops to suit all audiences.

We are delighted to be joined by BBC Breakfast presenter Louise Minchin who will be detailing her amazing story of taking up competitive sport after a 30-year gap and representing Great Britain at the World Triathlon Championships.

From sport to politics, former Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron will talk about his political career and the prospects for the Liberal Party in British politics. Artist and author Razwan Ul-Haq will focus on one of the most high-profile political and social issues of our times in Phobiastan, his creative response to Islamaphobia and belonging in the north of England.

At a time when Greta Thunberg has stunned the world with her campaigning, journalist Lauren Sharkey’s book ‘Resisters’ tells the story of other young campaigners across the world. Lauren will lead a panel event, Any Questions style, with prominent Cumbrian women and will also be delivering a special presentation to students from Trinity School about creating positive change.

Renowned illustrator Jackie Morris will talk about the stunningly beautiful ink illustrations she created especially for the latest addition of the lost children’s classic The House Without Windows, as well her award-winning modern classic The Lost Words.

Fiction features strongly with several bestselling authors including popular crime fiction author Ann Cleeves who will discuss her career spanning 30 critically acclaimed novels, featuring characters portrayed in the hugely successful TV series Vera and Shetland. Acclaimed author Joanne Harris talks about her life and career following the worldwide success of her bestselling and film-adapted novel, Chocolat. Adele Parks, multi-million bestselling domestic noir author, will also give an insight into her writing life. Alexander McCall Smith will delight the crowds with tales of his prolific career as the author of so many best-selling books including the hugely popular No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.

The festival will explore mental health when Nathan Filer, who won the Costa Book of the Year in 2013 with Shock of the Fall, looks at schizophrenia. Sue Armstrong tackles the problems of ageing in Borrowed Time and Emma Decent has dementia as the focus of her poignant one-woman performance.

We will also be joined by one of the world’s most eminent forensic scientists, Angela Gallop, who will share her experience of solving high-profile criminal cases including those of Stephen Lawrence and Damilola Taylor.

From science to history, with Andrew Roberts’ discussing Winston Churchill and Radio 4 broadcaster Natalie Haynes taking you on a tour of the Trojan War through her unique combination of ancient history and stand-up comedy.

Moving from Ancient Greece to the Yorkshire Dales, Amanda Owen will regale us with her Adventures of the Yorkshire Shepherdess, about her busy working farm, as recently featured in the hit TV series Our Yorkshire Farm. And, also from Yorkshire, we have Britain’s favourite Schools Inspector and comedian, Gervase Phinn.

Closer to home, we welcome back Borderlines’ Honorary President Hunter Davies, entertaining us with Happy Old Me, his third volume of memoirs. Hunter missed last year’s festival due to emergency heart bypass surgery and we are thrilled to have him back!

For aspiring writers, our workshops offer the chance to hone your craft and develop new skills, from memoir writing with Emma Darwin to crafting novels with Adele Parks and David Mark.

Borderlines Festival prides itself on bringing fantastic performers to the City. This year we will be mixing a real-life mystery with one of the greatest thriller writers of all time: Where is Mrs Christie provides an excellent evening’s entertainment in the one-woman show with Liz Grand, exploring the 11 days when Agatha Christie went missing and was presumed dead. The Scary Little Girls theatre group will provide a chocolate–inspired evening of tales and anecdotes once deemed rather risqué when they present their Salon du Chocolat show. Fairport Convention vocalist Iain Matthews will also be inspiring us with an intimate performance bringing his critically acclaimed memoir to life, with co-author Ian Clayton.

This year’s festival has a variety of open mic, poetry and reader events to get involved with, from Border Mics! Open Mic Night with Lucy Burnett to Zosia Wand’s Reader’s Party which celebrates the joy of reading (with tea and cake included!). And the ever-popular Poetry Breakfast with Malcolm Carson will return.

For more information and to book tickets, visit

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