Big Read

The Big Read is a long-running campaign at Durham Book Festival which celebrates the joy of reading.

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.

Working in partnership with Durham’s library service, Durham Book Festival distributes free copies to schools, Durham University, branch libraries, community centres, food banks, prisons, and businesses around the County each year. We also work with targeted groups to provide shared reading sessions. During the festival we host a special Big Read event with the chosen author, and you can watch some of these filmed events for free below.

Previous Big Read titles have included Northern Lights by Philip Pullman, The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, Written in Blood, a specially commissioned Vera short story by Ann Cleeves and My Name is Why by Lemn Sissay.

The Big Read 2022 The Mystery of the Vanishing Mayor by LJ Ross

The Mystery of the Vanishing Mayor is a brand-new short story, written especially for Durham Book Festival.    

LJ Ross is an international bestselling author, whose books have sold over 7 million copies worldwide. Her debut, Holy Island, was released in 2015 and became an instant, international bestseller. Since then, a further 20 of her novels have gone on to take the coveted #1 bestseller spot.  

In 2022 Durham Book Festival will work with Durham County Council’s Library Service to distribute 3,000 copies of The Mystery of the Vanishing Mayor to libraries, prisons and businesses, and to university staff and students across Durham.

Previous Big Reads

Written in Blood by Ann Cleeves

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

Half a Creature from the Sea by David Almond


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