Suzy Walker is a woman on a mission – a mission to put Alnwick on the literary map as the home of ‘Story Fest’, an imaginative and exciting new celebration of the written word and film.
In just a few weeks’ time Alnwick will be bursting with creativity as inspiring writers, film makers and artists converge on the town to fire our imagination, transform our lives and cheer us all up!
As Suzy explains, like many good ideas this one started in a pub: “I was chatting with the then Mayor, Councillor Lynda Wearn and said I was thinking of a book festival. She challenged me to do it and look where we are now – just days away from the start of Story Fest which will take place at venues across Alnwick and has attracted an amazing number of celebrated authors and artists.”
Councillor Wearn added: “A big thanks to Suzy for taking up the challenge. I had no idea that Suzy’s energy and enthusiasm would result in such an amazing offer and be so inclusive, not only using venues across the town but ensuring that there is something for all interests. Well done to Suzy and her team of volunteer organisers.”
Alnwick Town Council has given their full backing to the event that takes place from Friday February 24th to Sunday February 26th by giving a £2500 grant.
Councillor Martin Harrington, who chairs the Alnwick Partnership Retail and Town Centre Advisory Group said “I am so excited about Story Fest: it is going to put Alnwick on the map, it’s a town-wide event that can be enjoyed equally by the local community and visitors, there are events for people of all ages, it’s going to be inspiring – I can’t wait!”
“Suzy’s infectious enthusiasm has created a real buzz around Story Fest and I am confident that her wish to make Alnwick the ‘Story Town of the North’ will come true.”
Headliners include LJ Ross, Ann Cleeves, BBC’s Dr Janina Ramirez, Obama’s favourite travel writer Michael Booth, Davina McCall’s LIfe coach Michael Heppell, Radio 4’s award winning producer of book of the week Liz Allard, Dan Jackson author of best-selling The Northumbrians and Michael Chaplin, author of Newcastle United Stole My Heart at venues including The Accidental Bookshop, Alnwick Castle, Alnwick Gardens, Bailiffgate Museum, Barter Books, Alnwick Playhouse and Alnwick Gardens Treehouse.
Story Fest will include the launch of the Northern Film Prize, an award recognising short filmmaking that demonstrates the spirit and heart of the North-East of England, founded and sponsored by the author LJ Ross.
There are free tickets for children with every paying adult and with fairy-tale castles, dragons and magical gardens to name just a few of the children’s topics, young minds are guaranteed to run wild.
Children over three years of age are invited to join the Gruffalo, searching for hazelnuts at Alnwick Playhouse Studio, children aged 5 – 9 can join author and illustrator Lucy Farfort in a drawing session, to re-create themselves as a character in a book who has the ability to change or improve something in the world.
What do you keep in your beard? – a question that may have puzzled many and children age 8+ can join Lisette Auton to frolic with mermaids, solve mysteries and decide what they want to keep in their beards.
Would you dare to enter a haunted house? Meet crime novel author Caroline Green to discover where she gets her inspiration from and can you really talk to ghosts?
Join local historian Nick Lewis to explore the real story of Alnwick – discover its Anglo-Saxon roots, what happened to the town walls, and what plans there were to keep Napoleon and Hitler at bay – during a talk at Barter Books followed by walking tour of the town.
The above are just a few of the events taking place over the three days of Story Fest, more information can be found on their website at: https://alnwickstoryfest.com/
Pictured above: Alnwick Town Councillor Martin Harrington, Chairs of Alnwick Partnership Retail and Town Centre Advisory Group with Story Fest founder Suzy Walker in Barter Books, one of the festival venues.