Book Three: What came next…

By 2019 the Newark Book Festival was certainly an annual cultural highlight in the town. We were back for three days in July but extended the Festival reach by launching a Schools’ Programme too – more on that later!

The Festival launched with a bang with a lively outdoor performance with local community groups – Our Greatest Show – setting the scene for another three days of creativity, insight and joy.

Expanding on previous Festivals, the programme included 62 events and two exhibitions across twelve venues. We welcomed 148 artists and creatives (including Literature Village stallholders), enlisted the help of 40 volunteers and most importantly attracted 5,785 audience members and participants – our biggest yet!

The programme included author talks with Joanna Cannon, Alison Weir, Joanne Harris, Mark Billingham and Hull Noir as well as a focus on celebrating Nottinghamshire’s rich literature heritage.

The Schools’ programme was a massive success – the Festival engaged with eleven local schools and worked with eight authors who visited schools to lead special workshops and events with young readers aged 3 – 16. Overall 1,200 primary school children and 100 secondary school children engaged with the Festival in this way.

“I just wanted to share what an absolutely amazing and inspirational day we had….What a brilliant opportunity!”

Also new for 2019 was our Festival pop-up shop in the Buttermarket, which served as a central information hub plus a venue for pre-festival activities. Having a central location in town in the lead up to the Festival gave us the opportunity to meet our audiences face to face and tell locals and visitors about what’s on.

And once again, we had lovely feedback from our audiences:

“The Festival goes from strength to strength – wonderful for the town and for all of us who love reading”.

After another successful year, we started to plan a Festival for 2020, but what came next we weren’t quite expecting.

The Festival was supported by funding from Arts Council England, Newark and Sherwood District Council, Nottinghamshire County Council and Newark Area for Arts and Leisure Foundation. Festival sponsors and partners  included Newark District Council, YMCA Newark and Sherwood, Tallents Solicitors, Karrot Entertainment, Creative Apostrophe, Waitrose Community Matters, Co-op Champions, Tesco Bag for Life, Ambitions Personnel, Duncan & Toplis, Typesetters & Designers, Writing East Midlands, Marshalls, LetsXcape and Peachy Events. The Festival Bookseller was The Bookcase Lowdham.