Record numbers at book festival

Author Andrew Martin at  the  Literature Festival  111545
Author Andrew Martin at the Literature Festival 111545

RECORD numbers attended this year’s Scarborough Literature Festival – ensuring a sixth event will go ahead.

More than 3,000 people attended 48 events – featuring 56 authors – over four days last week.

The Long Weekend patron, award-winning author Kate Atkinson, said that the festival had helped to put Scarborough on the literary map.

She praised the welcome and professionalism of the Scarborough library staff who run the festival.

Apart from headline authors such as Joanna Trollope, Margaret Drabble, Jodi Picoult and Michael Holroyd, this year’s festival branched out with a whisky tasting.

There were also masterclasses with the festival’s first writer-in-residence Jackie Kay, a book group with Andrew Martin and a political journey with Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell.

There were also fringe activities and the festival set a new Guinness World Record when Craig Glenday, Guinness World Records’ editor-in-chief invited his audience to build a tower out of dice with chopsticks using only one hand.

Visitors came from all over Yorkshire and further afield.

“The Long Weekend has become a fixture in many people’s calendar and the great success of this year’s programme means it can only go from strength to strength, “ said Derek Law, North Yorkshire County Council’s corporate director for adult and community services.

“Even in these straitened times the festival proves that people are willing to invest in their passion for books and the entertaining mix of talks and workshops for both young and old has been especially popular.”

The festival’s director Karen Atkinson said: “People are already telling us they will see us again next year.

“We branched out this year and made the programme a bit more adventurous, and people thought it was a brilliant format. We like to keep things fresh and we’ve been told to keep up the good work.”

The festival was funded through Grants for the Arts awarded by Arts Council England.