Funded by Arts Council England and brought to you by the library services for Stockton, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Darlington and Redcar & Cleveland, the Crossing the Tees Book Festival is back this year, online again, with a full programme of events for writers and readers.

Tim Smedley – Clearing the Air

Wednesday 9th June | 3pm | Online

Join award-winning environmental journalist Tim Smedley as he discusses his book Clearing the Air: The Beginning and the End of Air Pollution. Tim travelled the world to understand what air pollution is, where it’s coming from and, most importantly, what we can do about it. His subsequent book was shortlisted for the Royal Society Science Book of the Year, 2019. Tim will also talk about his second book project, currently underway: The Last Drop: Solving The World’s Water Crisis. Here he looks at how changing weather patterns and wasteful water use is leading to dying rivers and drying taps.

This is a Pay What You Decide event, which means you don’t pay anything until afterwards.

Suggested Donation: £5

Read Regional: Exploring Poetry Workshop with Hafsah Aneela Bashir

Thursday 10th June | 6pm | Online

Linda France leads the first hour of this session exploring comtemporary poetry in a relaxed and informal workshop. Manchester based poet Hafsah Aneela Bashir will then read from The Celox and the Clot,a collection of tender, poignant and fierce poems, examining our human condition and the conflicts that arise within us.

This is a Pay What You Decide event, which means you don’t pay anything until afterwards.

Suggested Donation: £5

Midnight at Malabar House with Vaseem Khan

Friday 11th June | 7pm | Online

In this session bestselling crime fiction author Vaseem Khan will take readers on a journey from the days of the Raj to the heart of modern India, a colourful and conflicted environment of vast new wealth and historical problems. Vaseem will explore the background to his two India-set crime series: the Baby Ganesh Detective Agency novels set in modern Mumbai, and the Malabar House historical crime novels set in 1950s Bombay and introducing India’s first female police inspector. He will examine the realities of life in a country being transformed by unprecedented global change. He will also answer the intriguing question: how do you fit an elephant into a crime story?

Cost: £5

Do Try This At Home: A Read Regional Writing Workshop

Saturday 12th June | 10am | Online

Poet Anna Woodford will lead a writing workshop based on themes of nostalgia, memory and childhood to tie in with Keith Hutson’s fantastic poetry collection Baldwin’s Catholic Geese which he will be reading from in an event at 11am.  Exercises will be pre-recorded and there will be a chance to gain one-to-one feedback from Anna following the workshop. Bring a pen, paper and your imagination! Places limited to 12.

Anna’s latest poetry collection is Changing Room (Salt, 2018).  She won the Wigtown Poetry Competition in 2020 and is Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Newcastle University.

This is a Pay What You Decide event, which means you don’t pay anything until afterwards.

Suggested Donation: £5

Read Regional Poetry Reading with Keith Hutson

Saturday 12th June | 11am | Online

Former Coronation Street writer Keith Hutson will introduce his debut collection Baldwin’s Catholic Geese. The poems look at life and death through the lens of both legendary and obscure music hall and variety performers from the 1800s to today. Keith is part of this year’s Read Regional campaign to connect Northern writers with local readers.

This is a Pay What You Decide event, which means you don’t pay anything until afterwards.

Suggested Donation: £5

Mindful Writing Workshop

Saturday 12th June | 2pm | Online

Wednesday 16th June | 6pm | Online

Mindful writing is a practice that encourages us to create in a playful, unforced way, allowing our writing to unfold naturally whether it be poetry, prose or something in between.

In this three hour workshop, which includes guided meditation, writer and wellbeing facilitator Tom George will present a range of writing exercises that will help you to unlock your natural creativity, taking inspiration from the senses, the body and the natural world. Mindful writing is a well-being practice and also a process of discovery; you may be surprised by what comes out when you are free to express yourself in a pressure-free atmosphere!

Cost: £8

Murder & Flat Caps

Monday 14th June | 6.30pm | Online

Join Tall Tales Mysteries for an online murder mystery night with a nod to the Peaky Blinders. The Boss has the cops on his trail, a mole in the camp and a body in the cellar. The only way out of this is to figure out whodunnit. Our experienced actors will draw you into our story as they spin a tale of lies and deception. Ask the right questions, uncover the clues and you could be our Top Detectives.

Suitable for ages 13+

Cost: £12

Meet the Read Regional Authors: Linda Green, C. J. Cooke, and Clara Barley

Tuesday 15th June | 7pm | Online

Meet three fantastic writers based in the north. Linda Green is a million-copy bestselling author of ten novels. She will introduce The Last Thing She Told Me, a chiller with a puzzling mystery set in the Calder Valley. CJ Cooke is an award-winning poet and novelist. The Blame Game is her second psychological drama. Clara Barley’s novel The Moss House is based on the true stories of Anne Lister and Ann Walker. Clara consulted on the recent TV drama Gentleman Jack. Chaired by the founder of Writers’ Block North East Laura Degnan.

This is a Pay What You Decide event, which means you don’t pay anything until afterwards.

Suggested Donation: £5

Tea and Chat with Nancy Revell

Wednesday 16th June | 2pm | Online

Grab a cuppa and join Nancy Revell for an afternoon of chat about the tenth installment of the bestselling Shipyard Girls! Nancy’s books are inspired by her own close family ties to the Sunderland shipyards and her campaign to get the brave women who worked on the shipyards during WWII recognised for their history changing service.  Come prepared with questions for Nancy, or send them in advance to

This is a Pay What You Decide event, which means you don’t pay anything until afterwards.

Suggested Donation: £5

Out of This World – Fantasy Author Panel

Thursday 17th June | 6.30pm | Online

Join two exciting fantasy authors as they discuss their work and the genre. GX Todd is the critically acclaimed author of the ‘Voices’ series – imaginative thrillers set in a world where the biggest threat mankind faces is from the voices inside your own head. Claire North has been writing SF/Fantasy for twenty years under three different names, and is best known for The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. Chaired by Sixth Element publisher and sci-fi writer Gillie Hatton.

This is a Pay What You Decide event, which means you don’t pay anything until afterwards.

Suggested donation: £5

The Perfect Crime Author Panel

Friday 18th June | 7pm | Online

Exciting crime panel featuring William Shaw, Trevor Wood and Nell Pattison. William Shaw has been shortlisted for the CWA Historical Dagger and longlisted for Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year. The fourth installment of his Kent-set series featuring DI Alexandra Cupidi The Trawlerman is published in May 2021. Newcastle based Trevor Wood introduces the second book in his Jimmy Mullen series, One Way Street, the follow up to the best-selling The Man on the Street. Nell Pattison began losing her hearing in her twenties and has used her experiences to inform her Paige Northwood crime novels including The Silent Suspect published in April 2021.  Our chair tonight is Dr Noir (aka Dr Jacky Collins), festival director of Newcastle Noir.

Cost: £5

Writers’ Day – Getting Published

Saturday 19th June | Online

Join us for a drop in and out programme of writer workshops hosted by Sixth Element Publishing. Each session is only one hour, but there will opportunities to book one to one sessions for follow-up chats.

A quick guide to getting your book published, covering all the basics from trying to get an agent to self-publishing.

Writing genre fiction, including science fiction, fantasy, crime, historical adventure, covering world building, character development and plot structure… in an hour!
11.30am to 12.30pm

Writing children’s books, from illustrated story books through chapter books and middle grade stories to young adult novels… what you need to think about and how to go about it.
1pm to 2pm

Distributing and marketing your book, covering routes to market and online marketing and promotion.
2.30pm to 3.30pm

Cost: £4/£12 for all sessions

Short Story Competition

Budding authors and creative writers – share your stories for a chance to appear in a published anthology and take home a cash prize. There’s a 3,000 maximum word limit but no theme to the competition. Winners will be announced at an Awards Ceremony in April 2022.

The closing date for entries this year is 31st July 2021.

Don’t forget you can buy copies of featured books and more at Drake the Bookshop.

For full information, visit