9-18 October 2020

Big Read

Written in Blood by Ann Cleeves

We’re thrilled to announce that this year’s Big Read is a brand new and exclusive story from award-winning North East writer Ann Cleeves.

As Ann Cleeves’ ninth novel in the Vera series, The Darkest Evening, hits the bookshelves this month, we are able to offer our audiences a free and exclusive new story about the famed detective, as well as a free event with its author.

Written in Blood is a new Ann Cleeves story, penned as the Big Read title for this year’s Durham Book Festival. Set in Durham City, detective Vera Stanhope is attempting to take some rare time-out at a creative writing class, but is drawn into solving a murder at the book festival.


Pick up your free book

Ann’s publisher Pan Macmillan has funded 4000 copies of Written in Blood, which will be distributed by Durham County Council through a wide network of libraries, community hubs, food banks and local businesses, as well as within the prison library service. As well as picking up physical copies of Written in Blood, readers can also download a free e-book version HERE.

A grant from the County Durham Community Foundation will fund shared reading workshops themed around the book in community groups.


Exclusive event

Ann Cleeves will be interviewed by the broadcaster Steph McGovern for a digital book festival event, to be broadcast on Saturday 17 October. They will talk about Ann’s award-winning career; how books have supported her in her own life; and why she feels reading is so vital to mental health.

Free tickets to watch the event are available here.


About the Big Read

The Big Read is a long-running campaign at Durham Book Festival which celebrates the joy of reading. Previous titles have included Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín, The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters and Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. Each year, thousands of books are gifted to people from across County Durham, inviting them to read for pleasure and be part of a shared moment for the county.


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