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Beasts and superbeasts come alive at Lit & Phil library

Head to one of NE1’s favourite secret spots for a super-natural experience this summer!

Six fantastical and other-wordly short stories written over a hundred years ago will be brought to vivid life as part of the Summer Hauntings festival at Newcastle’s Secret Library, the Lit & Phil.

Beasts and Superbeasts is a compilation of strange tales by Saki (real name Hector Hugh Monro). These short tales were all published before the First World War, and are remarkable for their sardonic wit, unexpected twists and continued capacity to surprise and amuse. They present a strange and baffling world where the interplay between animals or ‘beasts’ and men is much entangled.

Performance storyteller Robert Lloyd Parry will enrapture his audience by reading the six stories within the stunning neoclassical interior of the Lit & Phil, conjuring the supernatural and macabre and exploring the bleaker side of human nature. 

Lloyd Parry explains “Saki was killed by a German sniper's bullet in the trenches at the Battle of Ancre in 1916. His last words were, reputedly, 'put that bloody cigarette out.' It sounds almost too good to be true when you consider the mordant wit of his storytelling. He is the literary progenitor, I've always thought, of Roald Dahl.”

Art historian and performance storyteller Lloyd Parry tours nationally and is renowned for his ghostly and enlightening M R James project and The Time Machine. 

Summer Hauntings is a two-week festival opening on the spiritually-active summer solstice, 21 June, offering a smorgasbord of the spectral and mysterious – from classic and modern storytelling of the weird and wonderful to eerie ghost tours, spooky twilight poetry readings and uncanny folk-tale telling to a gothic afternoon tea and lectures on ‘uninvited guests’ and ghouls from literature.  Tickets can also be bought to join GhostNorthEast overnight on 22 & 29 June as they conduct genuine scientific investigations into the paranormal.

Believed to host more ghosts than any other building in the city, the 19th century library tucked away on Westgate Road is a fitting place for celebration of the supernatural.  It is said that there are at least 16 spectres haunting all three of its impressively-scaled floors, each with a link to the library’s colourful past. 

Not for the faint-hearted, the festival is nonetheless open to all, with tickets starting from as little as £3.   Many events will take place in the spectacular Hogwarts-esque main library space – double-height, galleried and flooded with natural light from the vast ceiling lanterns. 

The Lit & Phil houses over 170,000 books, with 500 + volumes on ghosts, folklore and the supernatural dating back from the 17th century to the present day.  The library is FREE to explore and open to all (although only members may borrow books). Anyone may come and browse at any time within library opening hours.  Comfortable seating abounds and refreshments and gifts are available.

Beasts & Superbeasts is on Fri 5 July at 7pm and tickets are £10/8. 
The Summer Hauntings festival runs 21 June – 5 July ’19.  Tickets for events start from only £3 and can be booked by calling: (0191) 232 0192.  Please visit www.litandphil.org.uk for more information.  The Lit & Phil, Newcastle’s Secret Library, is free to visit and open to all.


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