THE FIRST EVER Words Weekend takes place this weekend at the Sage in Gateshead. Want to know more?
What is Words Weekend?
It’s a series of festivals celebrating the power of words and stories that will take place at various intervals up and down the country.
The first one, hosted by Sage Gateshead, features an exceptional international line-up that champions diversity, accessibility and the rich culture of the North East, aiming to unite communities and ignite imaginations.
How many times do regional audiences miss out on literary events? How many times is something London based? Fane Productions, the people behind the festival are keen to change the image that literary festivals are too far away, too high brow and therefore ‘not for me’. Suitcases have been packed and the spotlight shifted due north with Gateshead and Salford being the first two festivals booked in.
Hosting the Gateshead event is The Sage, a venue known for its operatics and fancy glass panels. On board with the inclusive theme, all events will be accessible and feature BSL interpretion. There will also be low price points for big names such as Stacey Dooley and Marian Keyes. Encouraging those who may not have visited The Sage before, the main foyer will have a real festival feel with a rolling programme of free events for all the family. Try your hand at calligraphy, listen to live music or just admire the views of the magnificent river Tyne.
Not just a London Festival in a different setting
Words Weekend is determined to give a voice to those who aren’t normally platformed at similar events. Local authors feature prominently tackling issues such as social inclusion, social poverty and mental health. Check out Carmen Marcus with her ‘Sea Rescue’ talk. It’s a free event examining the link between the depths of the sea and the depths of our mental health.
There is also a desire to have a real lasting impact on the community and Words Weekend has been working for months behind the scenes with various local people to achieve this. To witness the work first hand, watch Chillingham Primary School get on their soap boxes and deliver impassioned speeches about issues that matter to them. The event will be the culmination of weeks of classroom work based around the speech Martin Luther King gave at Newcastle University in 1967 and the work of young activists such as environmentalist Greta Thunberg. Will they change your mind?
Whats on at THIS Words Wekend?
There will be over 60 events taking place over Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All star authors include Elizabeth Day, Michael Morpurgo and Tracy Chevalier. In addition local authors such as Dan Jackson line up next to celebrities less known for their written words. We are particularly looking forward to seeing Nadiya Hussain after reviewing her cook book Time to Eat earlier this year.
Each event brings something different from a silent disco to a concert of crime writers and for fans of Kid Normal there is even a dramatic jailbreak at a top secret prison – be prepared for audience participation! Christmas is also covered with children invited to persuade the Grinch Who Stole Christmas that Christmas really is worthwhile.
Tickets to the events can be obtained here so do try to book beforehand to avoid disappointment.
To celebrate such a fabulous weekend we are giving away two tickets to see one of Britain’s best known contemporary artists Greyson Perry live at The Sage during Words Weekend. Perry has written and broadcast widely on Britain’s obsession with class, taste, and the shifting role of gender in the 21st Century. During his Gateshead debut (which is sold out) he will be dissecting the nations ‘prejudices, fashions and foibles’. To enter this exclusive competition head over to Twitter for further details. Entry closes at Midday Friday 6th December and the winner will be contacted on the evening of 6th. Participants must be over 18 to enter and able to make the event on Sunday 8th December at 6pm. Our thanks go to the lovely people at Cornershoppr for the prize.
If you are in the North East there is only one place you need to be this weekend. A literary event that’s local, shouts about local issues and shines a light on local authors with big name attractions to boot. What are you waiting for? Get wording!