Scarborough's Books by the Beach guest Anita Sethi reveals the racial attack which inspired her memoir I Belong Here

Journalist Antia Sethi will be at Books by the Beach on Sunday June 12Journalist Antia Sethi will be at Books by the Beach on Sunday June 12
Journalist Antia Sethi will be at Books by the Beach on Sunday June 12
Journalist Anita Sethi talks abut the racial attack which inspired her award-winning memoir I Belong Here at a Books by the Beach event in Scarborough next month.

Anita was on a train journey through northern England when she became the victim of a race-hate crime.

After the event Anita experienced panic attacks and anxiety. She longed for wide-open spaces and was intent on not letting her experience stop her travelling freely and without fear.

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The Pennines - also known as ‘the backbone of Britain’ runs through the north and also connects north with south and east with west. The Pennines called to Anita and although a racist had told her to leave, she felt drawn to further explore the area she calls home.

Anita’s journey, illustrated beautifully in her new memoir I Belong Here, is one of reclamation and discovery - exploring place and identity through nature.

She has emerged as a refreshing new voice in nature writing. Anita transforms her personal experience into one of universal resonance, offering a call to action, to keep walking onwards. Every footstep taken is an act of persistence. Every word against the rising tide of hate speech, is an act of resistance.

Anita was born in Manchester, where her love of nature first flourished in childhood, in wild urban spaces. Forever asked where she’s from Anita has for a long time felt like an ‘outsider’, but her new book helps her claim her place in the world.

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Anita is a journalist and writes for many national newspapers and magazines including the Guardian, Observer, Sunday Times, BBC Wildlife, Vogue, New Statesman, Grant and TLS. I Belong Here - her new memoir - won the 2021 Books Are My Bag Readers Award.

Heather French, festival organiser said: “ I’m thrilled that Anita has found time in her busy schedule to visit Scarborough in June and add a special something to this year’s Books by the Beach programme.

"Her memoir is humbling, emotional and brave. It's a mix of memoir, nature writing and travelogue.

"I encourage everyone to come along and listen to Anita, who is an inspirational speaker. This promises to be a festival highlight."

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Book by the Beach is on at various venues across Scarborough on Saturday June 11 and Sunday June 12.

Anita is appearing St. Mary’s Church on Sunday June 12 at 1pm.

All tickets from YMCA Scarborough Box Office on 01723 506750.

The full programme:

Saturday June 11

10am: Patrick Gale talking about his new novel Mother’s Boy. Venue – Queen Street Methodist Church Hall

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1pm: Lisa Jewell and her biographer Will Brooker – talking about a year in the life of Lisa.

Venue –Queen Street Methodist Church Hall

3pm: Nicholas Crane – discussing his book Latitude. Venue – St Mary’s Church

5pm: Prof Lucy Easthope, UK expert on disaster recovery. New book – After the Dust Settles.

Venue – Queen Street Methodist Church Hall

7.30pm: Charlie Higson – new crime novel – Whatever Gets You Through the Night.

Venue – Queen Street Methodist Church Hall

Sunday June 12

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10.30am: Alan Johnson – new spy/crime thriller – The Late Train To Gipsy Hill.

Venue – YMCA Theatre. 1pm: Anita Sethi – newspaper journalist who suffered racial abuse and to help her recover walked the backbone of England.

Her book I Belong Here is her journey of reclamation and identity, whilst walking through nature.

Venue St Mary’s Church.

3pm: John Volanthen, Thai cave rescuer. His book is his memoir, Thirteen Lessons To Save Thirteen Lives.

Venue – St Mary’s Church

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5pm: Dr Chloe Duckworth – TV book tie-in with Great British Dig. Venue – Queen Street Methodist Church Hall

7.30pm: Keith Brymer Jones’ book is Boy in a China Shop, a memoir of his life.

Venue – Queen Street Methodist Church Hall.

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