Famous faces line up to illuminate 
reimagined seaside books festival

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Books By The Beach is a new chapter in the annual festival of reading and writing, which draws authors and broadcasters to Scarborough.

This year, as well as a new name and emphasis, the literature festival has new venues including the Victorian prison in Dean Road, the Town Hall, the Spa, and Scarborough Art Gallery.

Lucy Worsley

Lucy Worsley

Many events, though, are still in the Concert Room of Scarborough Library in Vernon Road, and The Crescent Hotel will host the literary lunch.

“We wanted to use the town’s buildings and give Scarborough a higher profile,” said Heather French who, with writer and critic Peter Guttridge, is a co-director of Books by the Beach.

The prison will be used for two writing workshops and Ghosts and Ghouls by Gaslight event with atress Greta Scacchi and author David Stuart Davies.

In a separate event Scacchi will also be talking about her career in films based on books – including White Mischief and Heat and Dust.

A Gothic festival dinner will be held at the Town Hall in St Nicholas Street. The guest speaker will be Lynn Shepherds whose The Pierced Heart was inspired by Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

The art gallery in The Crescent will form the backdrop for writing workshops led by Booker Prize long-list nominee Paul Pickering.

Spooky stuff is one theme running through the event – which runs from Thursday April 24 to Sunday April 27 with an extra event featuring king of Scandi crime Jo Nesbo at the Spa on Monday April 28.

Scarborough is one of only three dates Nesbo is doing in Britain. The others are in London and Nottingham.

One of the other themes of Books by the Beach is World War One – appropriate in what is the 100th anniversary year of the Bombardment of Scarborough.

These include historians Allan Mallinson and Margaret MacMillan talking about the Coming of the Great War, Aspects of the Great War with Emily Mayhew, Roderick Bailey and Santanu Das and an illustrated talk on war artist Stanley Spencer by David Taylor.

Returning star names include historian and broadcaster Lucy Worsley, broadcaster Kate Adie and authors Margaret Drabble, Joanna Trollope and Joanne Harris. Also on the guest list are broadcasters Peter Snow, James Naughtie and Sally Magnusson.

Writer and critic Barry Forshaw – a festival favourite – is the guest at this year’s literary lunch. He will be talking about Gothic crime cinema.

“Adding a special flavour to the festival are Wold Top Brewery,” said Heather. “The Hunmanby-based company has produced Bestseller beer for the event, so cheers to success,” she said.