The Bookmark Festival always aims to cater for readers of all tastes and genres and this year’s line-up included Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, bestselling authors Gaynor Arnold and Jane Costello, an evening of Charles Dickens Ghost Stories and a writing workshop with award winning playwright Billy Cowan.For the first time, a Children’s element to the festival was introduced and children from around the borough attended a workshop with author Emma Barnes.
The festival got off to a great start with an event from the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy accompanied by acclaimed musician John A Sampson. The collaboration of harmonising verse and music had the audience captivated.
We were privileged to celebrate World Book Night with author Jane Costello, one of Britain’s top selling authors, Jane’s first novel, Bridesmaids, was short-listed for the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance. This event attracted a lot of emergent readers who were compelled to read Jane’s latest novel The Time of Our Lives after hearing the author read out some hilarious extracts.
Booker Prize nominee Gaynor Arnold gave a great insight into life as an author and was particularly inspiring because she went back to her passion for writing later in life after a long career in social work.
The festival also included a week long installation of Soldier’s Song from North West based theatre company Quarantine which offered the general public the chance to duet with a currently serving soldier.
Councillor Jean Stretton, Cabinet Member for Co-operatives and Community Development, said: “This is the second time we have held the Bookmark Festival and again we’ve been able to assemble a first rate line up that has something for everyone. I hope residents will join in the Bookmark festival at Oldham Library and also be inspired to visit their own local library to discover the whole range of services, activities and information available under one roof, in addition to the books that can be borrowed.”
Almost 500 people participated in the festival and when asked what they enjoyed the most comments included:
• Carol Ann Duffy’s readings and comments on her work, with the music as an appropriate break. My first poem evening. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
• The speaker was very interesting and engaging and I liked her readings from her novels
• It was a lovely informal way of meeting a successful author. I can’t wait to read Jane’s books
• Loved the idea of the event coupled with supper! Amazed how storyteller remembered all his lines. Excellent evening! Russell was magnificent, we were held spellbound. Each story, so wonderfully acted and recalled.
The Festival is held in April to coincide with the celebrations for World Book Night and Oldham Council Libraries were delighted to have such high profile guests for this year’s line-up. We hope to build on its success next year.
To join Oldham Libraries visit your local branch or log onto http://www.oldham.gov.uk/info/200283/your_library/543/join_the_library