Read Between The Borderlines

Borderlines Book festival is back for its third year this October and organisers promise it will be bigger and better than ever.

Organised by a team of volunteers including representatives from Bookends Carlisle, the County Library Services, Tullie House Museum and Carlisle Cathedral, this year’s festival will see a range of authors from all over the country head to Cumbria to tell their tales.

Councillor Ian Stewart, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for libraries, said: “This is only the third Borderlines Book Festival but it’s already well established in the literary calendar. More than 1,900 people from Cumbria and beyond came to festival events across Carlisle last year and this year’s festival promises to be even bigger and better.”

The popular event aims to establish and sustain an annual celebration of the written and spoken word in Carlisle. This year’s festival features high quality writing workshops, with subjects as diverse as journalism, scriptwriting, cartoons and writing for children and author Antonia Hodgson will be offering a master-class in writing historical fiction.

There is plenty to appeal to all tastes and interests including talks by labour favourite politician Alan Johnson, the Queen of Crime herself, Val McDermid talking about killing people for fun and profit, and OBE Hunter Davies who will be discussing his life with his wife Margaret Foster who passed away earlier this year.

Celebrity authors booked for this year include novelists Salley Vickers and Anna Pavord; playwright Jimmy McGovern; language guru David Crystal; standup comedian and writer Susan Calman; historian, Alison Weir and Carlisle-born poet and novelist Sarah Hall.

Last year saw almost 2000 ticket holders turn up to listen to national and local authors talk about their books, inspire others to write, and open people’s minds to dialogue and discussion.

Beginning on Thursday September 29 the festival spans 11 days, meaning there is sure to be something for everyone.

The event will kick off with Alexander McCall Smith, followed by a week of events, with the main festival taking place during the weekend of October 7 – 9.

Weekend Lineup

  • Friday, October 7Helen Weston, The Perils of Memoir Writing – 10.30am – 12.30pm, Carlisle Library, £10

    Angela Locke, The Art of Travel Writing – 2 – 4pm, Carlisle Library, £10

    Val McDermid, Killing People for Fun and Profit – 6pm, Crown and Mitre Hotel, £9

    Hunter Davies, My Life with Margaret – 8pm, Crown and Mitre Hotel, £9

  • Saturday October 8

    Rebecca Smith Masterclass: Intricate Characters Are The Most Amusing 9.30am – 12.30pm, Crown & Mitre Hotel, £25

    Karen Lloyd, The Gathering Tide – A personal journey around the Edgelands of Morecambe Bay 10am, Tullie House, £6

    Ruth Sutton, Writing Fiction from Scratch: getting beyond the blank page 10am – 1pm, Tullie House, £15

    Poetry Breakfast, with Malcolm Carson 10 – 11.30am, Tullie House, £6

    Janet Queen, Writing for Magazines 10am – 12pm, Prior’s Room, Carlisle Cathedral, £10

    Anna Pavord, Landskipping: Painters, Ploughmen and Places 11am, Crown and Mitre Hotel, £7

    Joanna Cannon, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep 11am, Carlisle Library, £4

    Graham Robb, Cols and Passes of the British Isles 12pm, Tullie House, £6

    David Ward, News Journalism 12.30 – 2.30pm, Prior’s Room, Carlisle Cathedral, £10

    Salley Vickers, Life, Death, Place and Art 1pm, Crown and Mitre Hotel, £7

    Paul Teague, Self-Publishing Fast Start 1.30 – 4.30pm, Tullie House, £15

    Max Adams, Walking with Giants: Journeys Across the Borders of Time and Space 2pm, Tullie House, £7

    Rebecca Smith, Jane Austen’s Guide to Writing 2pm, Carlisle Library, £4

    Give the Devil the Best Tunes, Jimmy McGovern in Conversation with Isabelle Grey 3pm, Crown & Mitre Ballroom, £7

    Geraldine Green, Stimulate Your Writing: Poetry 3 – 5pm, Prior’s Room, Carlisle Cathedral, £10

    Simon Bradley, Writing the Railways4pm, Tullie House, £6

    Mari Hannah & David Mark, From Facts to Fiction – 4pm, Carlisle Library, £4

    David Crystal, How Eloquence Works – The Gift of the Gab 5pm, Crown and Mitre Hotel, £9

    Poetry Please! 7.30 – 9.30pm, The Fratry, Carlisle Cathedral, £5

    Alan Johnson, The Long and Winding Road – 8pm, Crown and Mitre Hotel, £9

  • Sunday October 9

    Denis Perriam, Carlisle’s First Learning Centre: Tullie House 10am, Tullie House, £6

    Colin Shelbourn, Cartooon Workshop 10am -12pm, Prior’s Room , Carlisle Cathedral, £10

    Antonia Hodgson, Publishing and preparing to submit your work 10am – 12.30pm, Crown and Mitre Hotel, £20

    Sarah Hall, Borders: Land, Laws and The Mind 11am, Crown and Mitre Hotel, £7

    Sophie Franklin, Charlotte Brontë in the 21st Century 11am, Carlisle Library, £4

    Poetry in the Cathedral with Martyn Halsall 11am– 12pm, Tullie House, £6

    Ben Crystal, Shakespeare on Toast 12pm, Tullie House, £6

    Bob Wilson, Writing for Children 12.30 – 2.30pm, Tullie House, £10

    Andy Rashleigh, Script Writing 12.30 – 2.30pm, Tullie House, £10

    Juliet Barker, Charlotte Brontë: A Life in Letters 1pm, Crown and Mitre Hotel, £7

    Jan-Philipp Sendker, Dragon Games 1pm, Carlisle Library, £4

    John Sadler & Co , From Archive to Novel 2.45 – 4.45pm, Community Room, Tullie House, £10

    Stuart Cosgrove, Northern Soul: Young Soul Rebels 3pm, Crown and Mitre, £7

    Will Smith, Mainlander – Comedian To Author 3pm, Tullie House, £6

    Antonia Hodgson, Death at Fountains Abbey 3pm, Carlisle Library, £4

    Susan Calman, Cheer Up Love 5pm Crown and Mitre Hotel, £9

    Alison Weir: Six Tudor Queens 7pm, Crown and Mitre Hotel, £9

    Ticket information

    Online from our website Just click straight through to our safe and secure online booking system.

    In person From Bookends, 19 Castle Street, Carlisle, CA3 8SY, 9.30am-5.00pm Monday-Saturday; 11.30am-4pm Sunday

    By phone Call Bookends on 07412 366152. This number is for ticket purchases only. For any other enquiries, please email us at

    Please note that if tickets are posted out, there will be an administrative fee of £1.

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