Barnsley Book Festival celebrates a successful launch weekend

Hundreds of people have attended events in the town centre across the weekend to celebrate the beginning of the first-ever Barnsley Book Festival.

Barnsley Book Festival, which started on Friday last week, will run until Saturday 23 March with an ambitious and diverse programme of events, showcasing local and national authors, storytellers, artists, and speakers, and celebrating the power of literature and our shared love for reading.

Local poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan, joined by British artist and designer Patrick Murphy invited people to Library @ the Lightbox to invent lost writers, do some creative writing and design book covers, while the Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist Mama G hosted two completely packed story time sessions. On the same day, Barnsley Civic hosted its first-ever Zine Fair, featuring over 20 local and national zine makers, writers, and illustrators, which has also been very well received and attended.

Ian McMillan, poet and broadcaster, said: “Barnsley Book Festival mines the deep seam of language that runs through the borough, celebrating the written and spoken word with writers from near and far converging on Barnsley and underlining its importance as a hub for poetry, prose and performance.”

Jemma Conway, National Portfolio Organisation Programme Manager, said: “We tasked ourselves to organise something that is engaging and accessible to our residents and visitors on a scale, that’s never been seen before in Barnsley.

“The launch weekend was a huge success, and we cannot wait to welcome people to the various events in the coming weeks.” 

Cllr Wendy Cain, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health and Communities, said: “We are delighted with the response and feedback we received from the public so far.

“The festival showcases the diversity and innovation of contemporary literature, and we hope that events across the next seven weeks will inspire more people to read, write and create.”

The majority of events are free, but to help manage audience numbers, booking is required, so please book in advance to avoid disappointment on our website.

You can also take a look at the full Barnsley Book Festival 2024 programme here.

Barnsley Book Festival is supported using public funding by Arts Council England as part of Barnsley Libraries’ National Portfolio Organisation activity.

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