Book One: The very first Newark Book Festival

Back in 2017 the very first Newark Book Festival was a two-day event that took place in mid-July. For two years previously a smaller event, Books In The Castle, had proven that there was appetite for an annual literature festival in Newark, and so it came to be!

That year we programmed 38 events that took place across nine venues in the town (and on the river!). We welcomed 54 artists plus 20 stallholders to the new Literature Quarter in the Market Place. The 17 volunteers who helped to run this first Festival were invaluable – where would we be without our amazing volunteers?

Author Matt Haig headlined the Festival with a sold-out talk at Newark Town Hall, there was a chance to meet the BFG, poetry with Dr Rhyme and free street theatre performances. The programme also included talks focussing on women’s fiction, crime writing and Nottinghamshire’s literature heroes and events with authors Luca Veste, Cathy Bramley, Edward Marston, Natasha Pulley and Lucy Rowland.

2,362 people visited and participated in the Festival, with 75% not having attended the previous version of the Festival.

As part of the 2017 Festival there were also three commissions: a festival poem, a festival postcard and a festival story.

It was a fantastic start to Newark Book Festival, establishing itself as a playful, creative and insightful cultural event for audiences of all ages.

An excellent balanced programme this year – well done!

I enjoyed the Literature Quarter

Very pleased to see use of multiple venues

The Festival was supported by funding from Arts Council England, Newark and Sherwood District Council, Newark Town Council and Newark Area for Arts and Leisure Foundation. Festival sponsors included Tallents, Duncan and Toplis, Turquoise Teapot and Karrot Entertainment. The Festival Bookseller was The Bookcase Lowdham.