The five best books set in Newcastle

Live, breathe and now, read, the Toon

As RuPaul once said, reading is fundamental. Yes, maybe it’s in a different context and he didn’t say it first but the point still stands – books are not only great bed time entertainment but they’re also an essential tote bag accessory for looking intelligent and mysterious whilst sipping a cappuccino in the SU Starbucks.

Whilst there’s a huge selection of books set in the world’s larger cities like London and New York, it can be hard to find books set in our beloved Newcastle and the only fictitious thing set here most of us can think of is Vera, or that thing Ant and Dec were in as children.

If you have any time to read for pleasure alongside your uni studies, we envy you – here are the five best books set in Newcastle, for a fully immersive experience.

Boy Parts – Eliza Clark

Boy Parts is Eliza Clark’s debut novel. It follows Irina, a photographer obsessed with taking photos of naked boys. When she is offered a gallery show, she is forced to delve into her past and face up to her choices, leading her to spiral into a drug-fuelled psychosis which may end in blood.

This is a personal favourite of our list – it’s dark, gritty and rooted in pop culture. It feels very much like it could be happening now, meaning you won’t want to put it down.

Another World – Pat Barker

Another World is perhaps the most famous book set in Newcastle, winning the Booker Prize after its publication in 1998.

The book follows 101-year-old World War One veteran Geordie in the days before his death, and is narrated by his grandson Nick. The novel flashes between the past and present, and is a story about ghosts, memory and the pains of the past, paralleling Geordie and Nick’s lives and the way trauma has manifested in them both.

Skellig – David Almond

If you’re from Newcastle, you definitely read this in primary school.

Skellig follows 10-year-old Michael, who moves into a new house and finds a man claiming to be an angel living in the garage. The two form a bond and a wonderful story of friendship and love ensues. It’s technically a children’s book, but is definitely worth an adult read and you might even shed a few tears.

The Man on the Street – Trevor Wood

Crime thrillers have became one of the most popular genres of fiction, so this list wouldn’t be complete without one.

The Man on the Street is Wood’s debut novel, following homeless veteran Jimmy after he witnesses a possible murder by the River Tyne. This leads him to contact Carrie, who’s father is missing and to confront his own past to solve the mystery of what happened to Carrie’s father.

This is a very compelling read, and a must for Geordie crime fans.

Loving Geordie – Andrea Badenoch

Loving Geordie is a tale of social issues, set in the 1960s. It follows Leslie, a 15-year-old boy struggling to look after his disabled younger brother Geordie whilst living in a derelict estate. When twin girls are found dead, the estate accuses Geordie of their murder – yet Leslie is determined to prove his brother’s innocence.

Loving Geordie is probably the most historically accurate on the list, and is a poignant, emotional story full of believable characters.

We hope you enjoyed this list, and have found something new to read. After all, you need something productive to do whilst chilling on campus.

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