The Wordfest Weekend  |  27 – 29 October 2023

St. Thomas Church Hall, Stanhope, DL13 2UE Join us for a fabulous weekend of cakes, coffee and conversation. Meet your favourite authors and talk about all things bookish! All WordFest events are FREE. You don’t need to book for any of the weekend talks, readings or discussions. However, booking is essential to reserve your place on the WordFest workshops.

Crime Writing with OMJ Ryan

Friday 27 October
Workshop 2.00 p.m. — 4.00 p.m.

Have you got a crime thriller in you? Owen Ryan is the author of the Detective Jane Phillips police procedural series. He worked, for around twenty years, in entertainment and radio across the globe before returning to the North East to become a full-time writer. His mission is to entertain his readers with exciting, fast-paced crime thrillers. Deadly Silence is his tenth Jane Phillips novel, and we can’t wait to hear his practical tips and insights into the art of writing crime fiction. Don’t forget to book to reserve your place for this workshop.

An Evening with Caro Giles

Friday 27 October
6.30 for 7.00 p.m.

You may have heard Caro on Radio 4 earlier this year. Caro is based in Northumberland and her words are inspired by her local landscape, the wide empty beaches and the Cheviot Hills. Her acclaimed memoir Twelve Moons, A Year Under a Shared Sky was published by Harper Collins in February 2023 and she was named Countryfile Magazine’s New Nature Writer of the Year in 2021. Caro knows Weardale well, it features in her book, and we are delighted to welcome her to WordFest.

Mike Thornton on Norman Cornish

Saturday 28 October
11 a.m.

There are few people who would fail to instantly recognise the work of Norman Cornish. Mike Thornton is Norman Cornish’s son-in-law and his latest book about the artist, The Test of Time, will be published in the summer. We are thrilled that Mike will be at WordFest to deliver an illustrated talk about Norman Cornish’s art along with unique insights into the man and his work.

Lunch with Ivy & Maureen

Saturday 28 October
12.30 p.m.

Fans of Phil Mews’ Corned Beef Chronicles are in for a treat as we join Ivy and Maureen for lunch on Saturday … expect some scurrilous gossip, hilarious conversation and delicious entertainment. Phil is the best-selling author of The Girl on the Red Carpet and Orphan Boys

Glenda Young

Saturday 28 October
1.30 p.m.

Best-selling author Glenda Young is published by Headline. Her gritty sagas are set in a northeast mining village in 1919 and her cosy crimes are set in modern-day Scarborough. Her cosy crimes were shortlisted with Richard Osman and Val McDermid in the Dead Good Readers’ Awards for Best New Crime Series. She has also written TV tie-in books for ITV’s Coronation Street and is an award-winning short story writer. She was one of six finalists in the coveted Clement & Le Frenais comedy award. Glenda also has a unique claim to fame, she’s the writer of Riverside, a weekly soap opera published in The People’s Friend magazine since 2016. Her short fiction has appeared in The People’s Friend, My Weekly, Take a Break, The Sunday Post, The Dairy Mirror and The Express.

Glenda’s website is

Graeme Rendall

Saturday 28 October
2.30 p.m.

Local writer Graeme Rendall has published numerous books about aviation history and has now turned his attention close to home with his latest publication County Durham Aviation Stories, many of which feature Weardale Villages. He will tell us more in October!

Get into Self Publishing

Saturday 28 October
3.30 p.m.

Three local writers tell all … Phil Mews, Graeme Rendall and Jamie Tucknutt share some invaluable insights into the world of self-publishing: an honest journey through the ups, downs and practical implications of producing and marketing your own work.

Sundays, Sonnets and Still life with Vane Women

Sunday 29 October
11.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.

Vane Women are known for their unique blend of stunning poetry and wry humour and we are delighted to welcome them back to WordFest. They are a writers’ collective and independent small press who have been writing, performing, and running workshops together in various permutations for more than thirty years. Join them for an inspirational foray into the art of writing poetry. Don’t forget to book to reserve your place for this workshop.

Jo Hayes

Sunday 29 October
1.30 p.m.

Last year Jo kept us entertained with a foray into her wonderful memoir, Over Hill and Dale. She has been delving into her notebooks again and has written a collection of what she calls ‘ramblings’, more stories poems and anecdotes about her life in Weardale, and we are very much looking forward to hearing some of them at this year’s WordFest.

Vane Women book launches and readings

Sunday 29 October
2.15 p.m.

Vane Women’s latest anthology, Glorious Vane, is a celebration of thirty years of the press comprising poems and stories from many of the authors they have published during that time. They are launching it at WordFest alongside a stunning new poetry collection, Safety Measures against the Sea, by Katharine Goda.


You will find all the information you need about the workshops and how to book your place by scrolling across the menu at the bottom of the page. Just click on the workshop(s) that interest you.


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