Books by the Beach: The authors it would be a crime to miss at our literature festival

The Books by the Beach festival gets underway with Organiser Heather French and her team of volunteers.
The Books by the Beach festival gets underway with Organiser Heather French and her team of volunteers.

There were sell-outs, cheers, beers, breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner when Books by the Beach came to town.

There were packed houses for Jeremy Vine, Ruth Jones, Tony Parsons and actors George Costigan, Robert Daws and Hugh Fraser.

Audiences had a Brazilian breakfast with journalist and author Rosie Millard as she chatted about her book The Brazilian.

A candle-lit dinner at Wykeham Abbey was the setting for crime writer David Hewson’s event where he talked about his Juliet and Romeo.

Pie and mash was on the menu when fantasy crime writer Ben Aaronvitch sat down with critic Barry Forshaw to chat about his Rivers of London series.

Books by the Beach director Heather French said: “This year’s Books by the Beach has been a blast.

“We’ve had fantastic feedback from authors and audiences alike. Whether you enjoyed a themed suffragette lunch at The Crescent Hotel or a candlelit dinner at Wykeham Abbey Old Kitchen there was plenty to make the tastebuds tingle.

“Art secrets from Catherine Hewitt and tales of espionage from Dame Stella Rimington were shared with eager audiences and the crowd loved the brave honesty of Ben Smith, Marathon Man Extraordinaire.

“Classics pulled big audiences in search of Mary Shelley and Anne Bronte – the latter giving the perfect opportunity to show off St Mary’s Church, next to Anne’s final resting place.

“Humour shone at many events and Julian Norton shared some hilarious animal anecdotes.

“Ben Aaronovitch’s quirky pie and mash event at the Stephen Joseph Bistro was another successful partnership with Eat Me Cafe and the site specific drama production at the town hall was a triumph for Libby Pearson and Me and Thee Theatre.

Crime and thriller writers are always an integral part of Books by the Beach. Tony Parsons, Denise Mina, Saul David and Robert Goddard all gave a different slant to their genres.

Orange Prize winner Lionel Shriver showed her dry wit and humour and delighted the audience with a wonderful reading from her new novella The Standing Chandelier – and tales of her nodding donkey on her desk.

Katie Nicholl brought a royal flavour to the proceedings and the papers once again proved a popular slot with Rosie Millard and Gerry Foley.

Joanne Harris and her #Storytime Band raised the library rafters with music, song and imagery.

“Jeremy Vine was charming, professional and very funny. He had the audience in the palm of his hands,” said Heather.

“Ruth Jones was the perfect finale. Her fans hung on her every word as she told her career story and introduced her debut novel Never Greener.

“I’d like to take to thank our visiting authors and hosts, sponsors, partners and my band of volunteers, without whom I couldn’t deliver the festival,” she said.

“Thank you to my patron Helen Boaden, former Head of BBC Radio, and the local press and radio, particularly The Scarborough News, for the brilliant coverage up to and during the festival.

“Finally the wonderful audiences, many who are local. Thanks for helping keep Scarborough on the cultural map.”