Press Release: New chapter opens up for popular Literature Festival

Writing workshops, author interviews and a poetry open mic session are on offer alongside explorations of the power of music, the joys of cold-water swimming and even an alien-making class at the Kirkgate Literature Festival next week!

Cockermouth’s Kirkgate Centre plays host to the two-day festival on Saturday, March 23, and Sunday, March 24, following on from the success of last year’s inaugural event.

Supported by Cumberland Council, the festival brings together authors, poets and creative artists to celebrate the written word.

Sessions include:

What’s Your Story? An introduction to writing real lives workshop with Jacqui Currie, Cockermouth-based Lecturer in Creative Writing for the Open University;

• Harry Navinski – The Last Walk: Harry will be talking about his DCI Suzanna McLeod series and his new book The Last Walk;

• Wajid Hussain — Dear Deddy-ji: Wajid, a Poet and Artist based in Newcastle upon-Tyne, is currently in residence with the Lake District National Park Authority as part of the Black Nature in Residence programme;

• Sara Barnes — Desire: How the power of cold-water immersion unlocked Lake District author Sara’s creative and romantic spirit;

• Dave Camlin — Music Making and Civic Imagination Book Launch: Local musician and researcher Dr Dave Camlin presents an inspiring evening of music and discussion of his recent book exploring the potential of music making as a resource for sustainable development;

• Alien-making workshop with Rab Ferguson: Meet award-winning children’s writer Rab Ferguson, and take part in his alien-making workshop! Rab will be teaching the young people how to make up their own aliens and stories, through drawing and writing;

• Helen Haraldsen — Work Towards Your Goals: Best-selling children’s author Helen reveals how she finally achieved her goal of becoming a published author 15 years after she wrote her first book, Little Pearl;

• Jill Clough — The Making of Cassie Clearwater: Where do ideas come from? Jill’s latest novel grew out of the killings of Derrick Bird in West Cumbria;

• Katie Hale — White Ghosts: Over the past seven years, poet and novelist Katie has traced over 400 years of her family history, through12 generations of women, on both sides of the Atlantic;

• Poets Out Loud — Concluding the weekend of literary events, all are welcome to an informal poetry open mic at the festival, run by the Poets Out Loud group.

Helen Johnston, Community Projects Officer at Kirkgate Arts and Heritage, will be helping to compere the festival.

She said: “We’re delighted to showcase a fabulous line up of writers with Cumbrian connections. It is going to be a fantastic weekend with something for everyone!”

Tickets cost from £5 for talks. Refreshments will available all day.

Cockermouth’s New Bookshop will have a stall at the festival and there will be an opportunity for book signing at the Kirkgate after each event. For tickets, visit our What’s On Page.


ENDS …..




Kirkgate is a charity based in Cockermouth, Cumbria. It operates an arts and heritage centre as well as working with towns and villages in West Cumbria to encourage a diverse programme of arts, culture and entertainment. Its vision is to ensure that creative talent is valued, developed and supported with opportunities for all to engage actively with, and enjoy, the arts, local heritage and community life.


The Kirkgate Centre brings the best cultural, theatrical and entertainment events to Cumbria. From the best feature and documentary films to live streaming of top London shows, to local talent, heritage exhibitions, music, theatre, comedy and more, there is something for everyone.


In the historic Kirkgate Quarter of the Gem Town of Cockermouth, sitting on the edge of the Lake District National Park, the Kirkgate Centre is the perfect venue for special occasions, conferences, meetings, courses, exhibitions or private film screenings.


Kirkgate manages Arts Out West which stages performances in community venues from Furness to the Solway, ranging from nationally-recognised theatre companies to international musicians with events that are as much a social occasion as a performance. It is a member of the National Rural Touring Forum supported by Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation.

Follow @kirkgatearts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

For more information:

Emma Heys 01900 829966

The Kirkgate Centre, Kirkgate, Cockermouth, CA13 9PJ