A LITERARY festival gathering together authors, poets and writers in a melting pot of creative workshops and insightful seminars is set to return to the region.

The sixth-annual Crossing The Tees event is being programmed entirely by library services in the North-East, with support from borough councils and funding from the Arts Council England.

The festival aims to highlight the work of dozens of wordsmiths who are keen to give an insight into their novels and prose as well as to inspire would-be writers to pick up a pen to put words on paper.

Highlights of this year’s three-week celebration include the chance to meet TV star Julian Norton, who has penned four books trailing the success of Channel 5 series, The Yorkshire Vet.

On the publication of his third book, The Diary of a Yorkshire Vet, Mr Norton revealed he had been inspired to write after reading the tales of James Herriot and watching the TV show, All Creatures Great and Small.

Mr Norton will be revealing more about his writing and his work in James Herriot’s old surgery in Thirsk during In Conversation with The Yorkshire Vet: Julian Norton on June 17.

Crossing The Tees itself will open with a keenly-anticipated poetry event hosted by Radio 5 favourite, Kate Fox. Her recent performance at ARC, Stockton Arts Centre, sold out earlier this year, with those who missed out on tickets now able to see the thought-provoking show about the real Northern Powerhouse – Northern women.

Her stand-up poetry night on June 8 will be followed by a range of author talks, creative workshops, competitions and musical entertainment until June 22 in various locations across the Tees Valley. Libraries in Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland, Darlington, Middlesbrough and Hartlepool are set to provide a hub for the festivities, as well as many events on the programme.

The ever-popular History Wardrobe and Lipstick Library events are also returning this year, with All Writers Large and Small celebrating the North’s favourite writers from the Brontës to James Herriot.

Aspiring young writers can also meet author Sufiya Ahmed who will discuss feminism and campaigning for women’s rights, alongside craft activities and competitions.

The Crossing the Tees special of the Electic Kool Aid Cabaret will also make a comeback. Led by Andy Willoughby and Bob Beagrie, this is a special edition of Middlesbrough’s legendary spoken word and music cabaret.

Workshops will be run by a host of experienced writers, including this year’s Poet in Residence, Lisette Auton.

The award-winning writer and creative practitioner will also lead a range of workshops for people of all ages in schools and libraries throughout the festival. She specialises in working with people whose voices are not usually represented in the mainstream and designs and delivers unique workshops that make the arts accessible to everyone.