Sell-outs, drama and laughs - Scarborough's Books by the Beach is a huge hit

The Books by the Beach team with organiser Heather French at Queen Street Methodist Central HallThe Books by the Beach team with organiser Heather French at Queen Street Methodist Central Hall
The Books by the Beach team with organiser Heather French at Queen Street Methodist Central Hall
This year’s Books by the Beach was a big success with sizeable audiences for all events and big crowds for the household names – sayd festival director Heather French.

“Historical novelist Stacey Halls was a warm and engaging speaker and gave us the perfect Friday launch event. Locally-based Prof Jo Fletcher followed Stacey and delivered a wonderful illustrated talk on the importance of wine in ancient Egypt,” she said

Queen Street Methodist Central Hall was the main venue for the event which ran from Friday June 7 to Sunday June 9.

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There was a change of setting for osy crime writer Glenda Young.

Books by the Beach organiser Heather French declared the event a hitBooks by the Beach organiser Heather French declared the event a hit
Books by the Beach organiser Heather French declared the event a hit

She hosted a cake and cocktail event at The Crescent Hotel. It was a relaxed and informal event with refreshments served at the interval.

Journalists appeared at this year’s Books by the Beach including Peter Taylor, who was brought up and educated in Scarborough and during his career headed the Panorama programme.

" Peter spoke for a fascinating hour on the road to peace in Ireland alongside his former BBC colleague and festival patron Helen Boaden,” said Heather.

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David Nicholls was the Friday evening headliner event and he gave the large audience a masterclass in how to write a novel.

"His love of writing shone through and it was easy to see how he is one of the most sought-after screenwriters in the UK,” said Heather.

Saturday opened with enthusiastic sea conservationist Dr Helen Scales who gave an illustrated talk on the wonders and plight of the oceans.

Helen was followed by bestselling novelist Rory Clements who spoke eloquently about his new novel Munich Wolf, alongside regular interviewer Gerry Foley.

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Frank Gardner was the next event and he was a festival highlight.

"We were delighted he fitted us into his busy schedule and we could have listened for a least another hour as he fascinated the audience with his knowledge of international politics,” she said.

Polly Toynbee and Alan Johnson were the perfect double act on Saturday as they discussed differences in backgrounds, education, class and the guilt of privilege.

Saturday evening was a funny, witty and revealing hour with comedian Helen Lederer.

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Sunday opened with festival friend Alan Johnson at the YMCA theatre when Alan discussed a number of topics an his latest thriller.

Journalist Sophie Elmhirst shared incredible true-life tale of Maurice and Maralyn Bailey who in the 1970s sold their home, built a boat and sailed to New Zealand.

Debut novelist Jennie Godfrey gave us a taste of 1970s Yorkshire in the shadow of the Ripper.

Two headliners rounded off the festival. Jackie Kay wowed audiences with fabulous performance poetry from her new collection May Day.

Jackie made the audience laugh and cry in turn.

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The festive finale featured judge from BBC’s Great British Sewing BeePatrick Grant who talke to a sellout crowd about the way fashion has altered over the years and what we can do to change our clothing choices.

"It was a brilliant way to end this year’s festival, with a two-hour book signing queue for Patrick when he kindly spent time chatting to everyone and allowing them to take photos with him,” said Heather.

“Big thanks to everyone who helped in any way. We’ve all had such fun and look forward to doing it all again next June.”