Festival Fringe 2019


Every year our friends and partners in Durham run a vibrant fringe programme alongside Durham Book Festival’s main programme.

Please note that booking for our fringe events is done directly through the venues, please use the links on the events listings below.

Durham University fringe events

The Best of Keith James: Songs by Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake, John Martyn and others

3rd October, 7.30pm
Ushaw College
Tickets: £10/£7

Keith James is a songwriter, concert performer, poet and composer. For this event at the beautiful Ushaw College, Keith will perform a selection of songs from Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake and John Martyn, in his usual intimate and sensitive style.


The Songs of Yusuf - Cat Stevens

4th October, 7.30pm
Tickets: £10/£7

Keith James returns for another gig, this time in Durham’s Cafedral Café. Keith will play songs from throughout Cat Stevens’ career, weaving in the story of his life, in what promises to be a memorable evening.

The People's Bookshop fringe events

Mad Martins: The Story of the Martin Brothers

5th October, 7–9pm
The City Theatre
Tickets: £10/£8

Mad Martins is the slightly deranged offspring of internationally acclaimed Durham songwriter Gary Miller and renowned Tyneside poet Keith Armstrong. Depicting the extraordinary lives of the notorious Martin Brothers, eighteenth century Northumbrians, the three brothers provide the perfect biography for a madcap show.

Dave Randall: Sound System - The Political Power of Music

6th October, 4–5pm
Tickets: £8/£6

Join musician, author and political activist Dave Randall as he investigates the raves, riots and revolution of contemporary music culture. In his book, Sound System, Dave finds remarkable examples of music as a force for social change, and how it has the unique ability to unsettle the most fundamental political and social conventions or, alternatively, to stabilise the status-quo.

Franny Nudelman - Fighting Sleep (Author Talk)

11 October, 5:30-7
The People’s Bookshop

Writer and scholar Franny Nudelman speaks about her new book, Fighting Sleep: The War for the Mind and the US Military. Traversing the fields of military and mainstream psychiatry, brain warfare, and postwar social movements, Fighting Sleep recounts the struggle over sleep in the post-war world and demonstrates that sleep—far from passive or empty—is a site of contention and a source of political power.

Come along to hear a talk from Franny and take part in a Q&A.

Derek Wall: Hugo Blanco - A Revolutionary for Life

12th October, 2–3pm
The People’s Bookshop
Tickets: £5

Derek Wall returns with his latest book, which tells the story of one of Latin America’s most important revolutionary leaders.

Hugo Blanco’s life charts the whole history of the Latin American left. Today Blanco is one of the world’s most prominent eco-socialist leaders, arguing that to fight climate change we must transcend capitalism.

Garth Cartwright: Going for a Song - A Chronicle of the UK Record Shop

12th October, 6–7pm
Claypath Delicatessen
Tickets: £10/£8

Garth Cartwright is a London-based journalist, author, DJ and music promoter.

Focusing on his most recent book Going for a Song an in-depth history of the rise and fall of indie record shops, Garth will talk about previously unknown collaborations, friendships, and shared knowledge from bands that formed and shaped history.

Will Kaufman: Woody Guthrie and Old Man Trump

13th October, 3–4pm
The City Theatre
Tickets: £10/£8

Will Kaufman returns to Durham to present his third in a series of fascinating documentaries. His latest work tells the story of Woody Guthrie’s battles against his racist Brooklyn landlord, Fred C. Trump who just so happens to be the father of the current US president. Will is a singer and multi-instrumentalist who has performed extensively around the world presenting live documentaries.

Durham Cathedral fringe events

Courting Controversy: Hensley Henson, Bishop of Durham

8th October, 2–3pm
Durham Cathedral
Tickets: £5/£4

Herbert Hensley Henson, Dean 1912-18 and Bishop 1920-39, has long been regarded as a controversial public figure – a self-described ‘heretick’, a campaigner against women’s suffrage and ordination, a bishop at times at odds with his own diocese. This archive-focused workshop offers an opportunity to view original materials from Durham Cathedral’s Henson Papers, including unpublished journals and letters. The workshop will showcase Henson’s responses to regional and national events, such as the First World War, alongside more personal, self-reflective entries.

Katherine Tiernan: The Legend of Cuthbert: From Hagiography to Historical Fiction

8th October, 7–8pm
Prior’s Hall, Durham Cathedral
Tickets: £5/£4

Novelist Katharine Tiernan, author of Cuthbert of Farne, offers new and intriguing insights into the man behind the legend. She reveals her research into the turbulent times in which Cuthbert lived, and the role of historical fiction in illuminating our understanding of his life.

Hosted by Durham Cathedral and Sacristy Press.

Michael Chandler: Queen Victoria's Archbishops

10th October, 7–8pm
Prior’s Hall, Durham Cathedral
Tickets: £5/£4

Discover the political and ecclesiastical controversies of the nineteenth century through the eyes of Queen Victoria’s six Archbishops of Canterbury. Personal scandal and tragedy abound, with death, bed-sharing, and political bust-ups. Michael Chandler, author of Queen Victoria’s Archbishops of Canterbury, takes us on a whistle-stop tour of these intriguing men and their extraordinary families.

Hosted by Durham Cathedral and Sacristy Press.

Treasures of Durham Cathedral Library: Banned Books

12th October, 2–3pm and 3.30–4.30pm
Prior’s Hall, Durham Cathedral
Tickets: £5/£4.50

An opportunity to visit Durham Cathedral’s beautiful 17th-century Refectory Library – not usually open to visitors – to view some of the library’s historic volumes that have caused controversy over the centuries. The books on display will help demonstrate the reasons why books were added to the Roman Catholic Church’s ‘Index of Forbidden Books’, and show some of the steps printers took to ensure their works could still reach an appreciative audience.


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