A popular Carlisle book festival is set to provide a dedicated space for LGBTQ+ voices in literature.
Borderlines Book Festival is an annual celebration of the written and spoken word and features a wide range of events and author talks, covering fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
This year, the festival will feature a new element in the form of OUTlines, a programme celebrating the queer community and providing a dedicated space for LGBTQ+ voices in literature.
A mixture of author talks and free ‘drop-in’ workshops have been programmed throughout the weekend thanks to a new partnership with Free Radical Arts, Pride in North Cumbria and funding support from Cumbria County Council.
Pride in North Cumbria and Free Radical Arts said: “Pride in North Cumbria and Free Radical Arts are really excited to be working with Borderlines for 2022 to create the first LGBTQ+ focussed series of events for OUTlines.
“Cumbria has an extensive queer community which until recently has been under represented in the county. We are working hard to ensure that events in Carlisle and Cumbria are representative of those who make up our diverse communities.
“We are really grateful to Cumbria County Council’s Libraries and Archives for funding OUTlines and to the brilliant speakers lined up to take part.”
Other events at the festival will include masterclass workshops, the annual poetry open mic night and a borderlines quiz.
Festival Chair Anna Smalley says: “We’re absolutely delighted with the Borderlines line-up this year, and incredibly proud and excited to be working with our new partners to bring OUTlines to the festival and the city.
“The Borderlines committee passionately believes that reading, writing and literary festivals should be enjoyed by everyone and we hope the diverse and exciting line-up for 2022 will help bring new audiences to the Festival.”
Borderlines has also been working closely with local independent booksellers, Bookends, to programme a list of Cumbrian authors covering everything from cattle droving and geology to Northern women and Hadrian’s Wall.
Additionally, the annual Borderlines poetry competition will go ahead once again, giving aspiring poets a chance to put pen to paper and enter.
This year’s theme is ‘LISTENING’ and entries will be judged by poet Josephine Dickinson.
Confirmed authors attending include:
Nihal Arthanayake – Award-winning broadcaster Nihal Arthanayake shares his insights about the art of conversation.
Amanda Owen – festival favourite Amanda Owen (shepherdess, hill farmer, writer, photographer, public speaker and mother of nine) for a special conversation with journalist Jeremy Noot.
Robert Harris – international bestseller Robert Harris will talk about Act of Oblivion, the thrilling story of the biggest manhunt of the 17th century.
Kate Fox – From rebels to writers, athletes to astronauts, Kate Fox takes us on a fun, eye-opening journey through the lives of some extraordinary women from Northern Britain—people whose achievements have been hidden for too long.
Roopa Farooki – Everything is True, is Roopa Farooki’s account of being a junior doctor working on the frontline of the Covid pandemic. It’s an unflinching, powerful, and surprisingly uplifting story of physical and mental survival.
Mark Billingham – best-selling crime writer Mark will be discussing his new novel The Murder Book, in conversation with hometown hero Mike Craven.
The festival is supported by Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, The Hadfield Trust, Cumbria Life, Bookends and Tullie House Museum, and event sponsors University of Cumbria, Architects Plus and Eric Hagan. Thanks is also given to Border Offset Printers.
This year, Carlisle Cathedral has been added to the venue partners and all events over the festival weekend will take place either at Tullie House or in the Fratry Hall at the Cathedral.
The festival will run from Tuesday October 4 to Monday October 10 and activities will take place in Carlisle’s historic quarter.
Winners of the poetry competition will be announced on social media and performed live at the Poetry Open Mic Night on Thursday October 6 at Cakes & Ale Café, Castle Street.