12 November 2019

Words Weekend - Sage Gateshead

Ah, words. After having around a hundred pieces published and posting over 350 blog posts here, you could say that I'm a bit partial to them. Even when trying to make a living out of them has left me disillusioned (three years of freelance copywriting can do that to you), I'm still in love with curling up with a great book (no Kindle for me) or visiting a quirky book shop. So naturally I was excited to hear about the inaugural Words Weekend, coming to The Sage Gateshead from 6th to 8th December. 

Words Weekend Festival
Words Weekend aims to unite communities and ignite imaginations
With over sixty events taking place across five venues at The Sage, you can come and hear some of the world's finest writers, thinkers and speakers discuss their work, share their personal journeys and give advice on how to pursue a writing career. And great news, 40% of events are completely free, and every event is BSL interpreted and accessible. Created by Fane Productions, their aim is to celebrate the power of words and stories with a packed programme of talks, workshops, panel discussions, music and spoken words to unite communities and ignite imaginations. 

So who's taking part? On Friday 6th December, catch chef Nadiya Hussein as she discusses her memoir, Finding My Voice and shares her views on the barriers women face to be accepted and heard in today's society. There's also a chance to see literary rockstar Margaret Atwood in conversation (filmed at The National Theatre London). On Saturday 7th December, bestselling author Marian Keyes is in conversation with Cosmopolitan's Laura Jane Williams and legendary DJ Norman Jay MBE will be sharing his colourful life story and talking about his new memoir, Mister Good Times. I can't wait to see Turner Prize-winning contemporary artist Grayson Perry, who'll be dissecting the nation's "Prejudices, Fashions and Foibles" on Sunday 8th December (sold out but you can add your name to the waiting list). Also on Sunday, investigative reporter Stacey Dooley will be talking about her remarkable career so far, and exploring what it's like to be a woman in the world today. 

Words Weekend Sage Gateshead
Just some of the authors appearing at Words Weekend
Anyone wanting to find out more about pursuing a career in writing is spoilt for choice for events passing on tips and wisdom about the industry. Budding poets should attend How To Make A Living As A Poet on the Saturday, If you're interested in finding out more about arts reviewing and journalism, don't miss Narc Magazine's New Reviewers workshop, where you'll learn the secrets of writing a great review, and have the opportunity of putting your skills into practice. Written a novel? You'll have the chance to speak to literary agents from Curtis Brown 120 (email info@wordsweekend.com to book your place).  Or get advice from published authors Cash Carroway, Carmen Marcus and Paul Ewen at How To Be A Public Author on Saturday. Creative Access helps BAME candidates, as well as those from lower socio-economic backgrounds to access creative careers - their event takes place on Sunday at 1pm.

Literary kids will enjoy the Horrible Histories Roadshow with Terry Deary (Saturday), a creative writing workshop led by David Almond in conjunction with Seven Stories (Saturday), and much loved children's author Michael Morpurgo reading from his beautiful book, The Best Christmas Present in the world, accompanied by a carol-singing choir (Sunday). Kid Normal fans can join authors Greg James and Chris Smith for an action packed Super Zero event (Saturday). There's also a festive story party hosted by Seven Stories on Sunday at 2.30pm for kids aged three to five. 

Gil Scott-Heron Words Weekend
Pioneering artist Gil Scott-Heron will be remembered and celebrated at Words Weekend
The extraordinary life of US musician, poet and activist Gil Scott-Heron will be celebrated at the Festival. A mural by Brighton-base artist Dan Lish has been unveiled on one of the arches next to The Sage, which marks a collaboration between Words Weekend and Sage Gateshead's Arches Academy (a space for alternative education and engagement through creative activities). On Saturday 7th December the young people of Co-Musica Arches Academy will showcase their work inspired by the pioneering artist in the main concourse at 6.30pm.

I personally can't wait to spend a whole weekend indulging one of my passions next month! I'm sure that Words Weekend will be a great success, and the first of many!

For more information and to book tickets please visit wordsweekend.com (please click on the links above to get tickets for specific events). 

For updates please follow Words Weekend on Twitter, on Facebook and on Instagram.

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