Celebrating Sunderland - Literature Festival goes online

Literature Festival 2020

Sunderland Libraries Services Literature Festival: 1-10 October 2020

Sunderland's annual literature festival is once again upon us, celebrating local talent, literature and themes with local authors and artists.

Sunderland Libraries Services have taken the decision to move the 2020 Literature Festival online. We believe that now, more than ever, books can play an important role in reducing isolation, provide a sense of connection or escape and help us make sense of the world. We have put together a diverse, interesting, uplifting and inspiring digital programme, with content for all ages. The festival will be supported this year by Sunderland University, Sunderland Shorts Film Festival, Lonely Tower Film & Media & Living History North East.

We will be launching our free online programme on Thursday 1st of October which is also National Poetry Day, please visit our website to find out who will be appearing and keep up to date with any changes or additions.

Councillor Linda Williams, Portfolio Holder for Vibrant City at Sunderland City Council, said: “We are all very happy that the 2020 Literature Festival is able to go ahead. Although it may be online and not in person, Sunderland Libraries Services will be providing as good a programme as ever!

“Reading is one of the most important skills a person can learn, and it has become even more important during this pandemic. From helping some feel less isolated, to ensuring children continue to grow their reading skills while schools are closed, reading is a universal pleasure that everyone can enjoy. I encourage everyone to get involved and help celebrate the literature that comes from our vibrant city.”

The festival promises a wide range of inspirational authors and exciting events for all ages, featuring some favorite local authors and the chance to discover new writers and illustrators, film clips, workshops, taster sessions and storytelling.

Highlights include:


To celebrate National Poetry day, join Children’s Poet Conrad Burdekin for a poetry challenge.


Sunderland Shorts Film Festival, based in the North East of England celebrating short films with big ideas will run a series of online events featuring some of their favourite previous entries to the last 5 festivals spanning all genres from established talent to student, young & emerging filmmakers, as well as skill development workshops and networking opportunities.

Make sure you sit back at 6.30pm each evening for Lonely Tower – short local history clips


Author session with Robert Scragg, Anne Twine, Cressida McLaughlin, Glenda Young, Nancy Revell and Marie Garner    


Children’s Illustrator Liz Million drawing tutorial.


Theatre Space North East specifically commissioned recording of one of this year’s plays in the park ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’


During the week, we will be celebrating reading as a source of comfort, companionship and escapism. You’re never alone if you’ve got a book to read or listen to.

Also take a look at our Digital Services

Free e-books and e-audiobooks available to borrow from BorrowBox, and free e-magazines available from RBdigital, both of these services can be accessed from most devices at www.sunderland.gov.uk/libraries. To access the full range of services and to borrow items users will need to log in using their library membership number and PIN.
A free interactive Library App is available which allows users to renew their checked-out items, to place reservations on books and to browse our catalogue and upcoming events.
Wind the Bobbin, our free interactive nursery rhyme app is also available to download, with videos, songs and an area to create and record your own nursery rhymes.
All apps are free to download from the App Store and Android Market.

Visit here for a programme and more information on the festival.

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Sunderland is one of the few cities in the UK to have a river, beautiful coastline and two award winning beaches at Roker and Seaburn.


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