Blog from Hexham

May 9, 2024

The Hexham Book Festival is a favourite of mine. Held in the lovely Northumberland market town, it pulsates with atmosphere and enthusiasm.

We stayed for two nights because on Friday I went to a fund raiser for the local constituency Labour Party. Hexham has never had a Labour MP. A Liberal was elected in 1923 but ousted the following year by a Conservative. A century of Tory MPs ensued but there is a real sense that that may change at the next election. In 1997 the Labour candidate fell just 200 votes short and veteran campaigners told me that the public mood is not dissimilar to the period leading up to Labour’s landslide. Joe Morris, Labour’s candidate, is an energetic, methodical and captivating campaigner who was born and raised in the town. I’ll be looking out for the Hexham result on election day.

The following evening I appeared on stage in the lovely theatre to be interviewed by my old friend, ministerial colleague and fellow writer, Chris Mullin. We had such an enjoyable conversation that I almost forgot we were on stage at a book festival. The photo shows me signing books afterwards. The bookseller was Cogito, an independent book shop in the town.

You May Also Like…

Mr Pepper

Mr Pepper

Anyone who has read my childhood memoir 'This Boy' will realise the importance of Mr Pepper in my life. In 1964,...

Stratford Literary Festival

Stratford Literary Festival

The other grey heads either side of mine are Tim Hubbard who chaired the event and, on my left, the brilliant Simon...