All set for book lovers’ heaven

Scarborough book lovers’ heaven comes in April as Books by the Beach open its doors.

From Wednesday 11 to Sunday 15 April, top-selling authors will make their way to the coast for the annual book festival.

Top thriller writer Robert Goddard and crime writers Tony Parsons, Denise Mina and Saul David are proving a big attraction and Yorkshire TV vet Julian Norton is pulling a crowd.

Festival director Heather French is particularly excited to welcome former stand-up comedian and broadcaster Natalie Haynes to launch the festival on 11 April at 10.30am.

History is brought more up to date with Nicholas Shakespeare later that day at 5.30pm when he discusses his new biography of Churchill.

Science tops the bill with The One Show's resident scientist Dr Marty Jopson on 12 April at 5.30pm. This will be of great interest to all budding scientists. Marty will talk about his new book, The Science of Food and everyday food miracles.

Music features when the festival presents multi-talented international bestseller Joanne Harris. With her Storytime Band, she will perform her stories set to music with song and light projections on 15 April at 3pm.

A topical event celebrates the wedding of the year, between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Royal correspondent Katie Nicholl, a leading expert on the royal family, is visiting Scarborough for the first time. She will share a stage with TV news broadcaster Gerry Foley. Katie and Gerry will be joined by Rosie Millard on the Sunday papers panel on 15 April at 10am.

Rosie will host a breakfast event at the Palm Court Hotel on 14 April at 9.30am. She'll be talking about her lighthearted new novel The Brazilian; tickets include a Brazilian themed breakfast.

Marathon man Ben Smith is appearing on 11 April at 7.30pm. Ben ran 401 marathons in 401 days and is an inspiration to all runners. During his record breaking time he ran with many runners in Scarborough.

There are 27 events at Books by the Beach this year including a chance to meet top actors and celebrities Ruth Jones, Jeremy Vine, George Costigan, Robert Daws and Hugh Fraser. There's themed lunches with Ben Aaronovitch at the SJT and Diane Atkinson at the Crescent Hotel, an exclusive drama production by Me & Thee Theatre at the town hall and an appearance from Orange prizewinner Lionel Shriver.

St Mary's Church opens its doors for an Anne Brontë event with Samantha Ellis and prize wining poet Fiona Sampson is in search of Mary Shelley on this 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein. There's a memoir of childhood favourites recalled by top journalist Lucy Mangan.

The festival’s traditional Amnesty International talk will come from Bali Rai, who will discuss his short story The Colour of Humanity.

Heather says: "I'm delighted by Scarborough's response to this year's programme The candlelit dinner at Wykeham Abbey sold out the first weekend tickets went on sale. Catherine Hewitt has sold out at the gallery too. There's just a handful of tickets left for Di Atkinson's Suffragette lunch at the Crescent Hotel and Ben Aaronovitch Eat Me lunch at the SJT. Former MI5 director general Stella Rimington has sold every ticket”. 

Tickets can be bought at the SJT, by ringing 370541 and online at