Hexham Book Festival losing £60,000 sponsorship deal

An eight-day book festival in Northumberland may have to downsize after losing a £60,000 in sponsorship.

The Hexham Book Festival has grown from a one-day to an eight-day event and boasts celebrity authors such as Melvyn Bragg in its 2011 line-up.

But in November its three-year sponsorship with the Northern Rock Foundation runs out.

Suzi Troup, director of the festival, said it was a "precarious" time but was hopeful of getting a new sponsor.

The festival, which started on Thursday, includes authors this year including Alistair Campbell and Alexei Sayle will be hosting talks at different venues in the town including Hexham Abbey the Robinson-Gay Gallery.

Ms Troup said she was hopeful of attracting a new sponsor because the event was so popular and boosted the local economy.

She said: "All the big festivals have famous names behind them because they need support - these are precarious times for the arts.

"Big names help liven up the event and contribute to the local economy.

"We did a survey a few years ago that said the average festival-goer spends £15 on other things apart from the festival.

"I'm hopeful and already planning for next year's event - we are hoping to attract more authors from Ireland and international writers."

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