Dear Book Fair Supporters,
We are very sorry to tell you that the October Fair is cancelled. This decision was taken two weeks ago, and we believed statements were uploaded to our Website and Facebook page to that effect at that time.
Due to a technical error on our part, the statements were not uploaded. The final responsibility to double-check is mine, and on this occasion I failed to do so. I apologise unreservedly for any inconvenience, and for the disappointment caused.
The October Fair was in the balance until a meeting with Northumbrian Markets on September 22nd, but we delayed a decision until then, hoping we could proceed as usual. Sadly, a number of factors (Covid, space allocation and uncertainty among stall holders, to name but a few) meant that we could not proceed.

Alan Macfarlane


The Book Fair is evolving, we WILL be back in April, please watch this space - an announcement will made soon regarding 2022 Book Fair dates and new developments. Thank you for your continuing support.


However, you can still buy books and support some of our sellers by visiting their own websites. Here are a few to begin with (watch this space for more to follow).

Keel Row Books
The longest established second-hand bookshop in the North East of England.

Humford Mill Books
Specialist in children's and illustrated books.

Westwood Books
A wide selection of books mostly non-fiction: history, art, maritime, aviation, religion, architecture, warfare.

Bennor Books
Abebooks Biblio
Specialist in history of NE England & the Borders.

PETER SWAN (1947 - 2021)

Dear Stallholders and supporters of TSBF,

We are sorry to inform you of the death due to Covid of Peter Swan, one of our longest-standing and most recognisable stalwarts. Peter was also a permanent fixture for many years on his stall in the corner of Tynemouth Market every weekend. He died on February 23rd and his good friend, the writer Pete Mortimer, has kindly allowed us to reproduce here the obituary he wrote in The Journal on March 1st. We will miss him.

PETER MORTIMER remembers the life of Pete Swan, one of the best known and best loved figures on the coast arts scene, who has died aged 73:
Occasionally Pete Swan would emit his special laugh. It was unlike any other laugh, a braying, hee-hawing sound that shook his whole body in delight. It could be heard at 200 yards, was sustained for perhaps a full minute and arrived unpredictably. I suspect it took him by surprise as much as it did us.

Hearing it seemed a privilege, both because of its rarity but also its effect. The laugh should have been heard in parliament, in prisons, in old people’s homes and at the United Nations. That laugh could make the world a better place.

So many people knew and loved Pete. More than 80 people immediately put comments on Facebook once his death was known, each comment run through with warmth and affection.

Pete Swan was born in the North Tyneside mining village of Shiremoor on May 5, 1947, the same council house in which he was living when he died. He was an only child. He went to art college in Newcastle and in the heady days of the late 60s, when cultural revolution was in the air, studied at the highly politically active Hornsey Art College where I’m told he was a star pupil.

I first met him in the early seventies when I was performing nonsense poetry al fresco at Panama Dip, Whitley Bay. This was part of the then Whitley Bay Arts Festival run by Mike and Norma Tilley. I was approached by a huge black beard with human being following close behind.

This was Pete and he liked my nonsense verse. And I liked him.

So he moved into my IRON House in Cullercoats and became involved with IRON Magazine, the quarterly litmag I edited. Pete was art editor (totally unpaid) for eight years and under his guidance, IRON established a unique reputation for its bold and imaginative artwork, using the best illustrators in the region. Often he would commission fine arts departments of Tyneside colleges to tackle an entire edition.

Pete, myself and the reclusive poet Mike Wilkin made for an odd trio, sharing the house for 12 years. Pete Swan designed the first eye-catching front door, a tradition that survives to this day.

We three set up a football team, Cullerbay Dynamikz, firstly five a side friendlies, then 11 a side in the North-East Heating Trade Sunday League (Div 5) where we changed our name firstly to Rockliffe Red Star, then the pretentious Star Rosso. Regardless of name, we barely won a match.

Eventually, Pete went back to the house in Shiremoor to live with his dear old mum, a tiny bundle of energy who would turn up at our house and clean it, suspecting otherwise it would never get done. He knew a great deal about painting, jazz and photography (which he practised) yet wore his knowledge lightly. Pete’s dedication knew no bounds. He once rode his scooter down to Northants to photograph a building for an IRON Magazine story at his own expense of course.

For many years he was a vital member of Tyneside Free Press Workshop, in Charlotte Square Newcastle, a small, wonderfully idealistic printer set up by Eric Taylor in the 70s. Later, many also knew Pete from his second-hand book stall at Tynemouth Station weekend market. The books were cheap and often given away. He would chat 30 minutes to a customer spending two quid. Or nothing. He was the first to arrive at around 6.30am, several hours unloading and always the last to leave after reloading other books back into his car.

As the Tynemouth based Finnish photographer, Sirkka Liisa Kontinnen says, ‘he was a lovely generous, thoughtful, man. He would keep you in his station corner for all the time you had. Passionate but never malicious, he was guileless.’

His friend Peter Hodgkiss, editor of Galloping Dog Press, says; ‘beneath that rather shambolic exterior, there lurked a sharp and inquiring mind.’

‘Peter rang me a couple of times in the last few lockdown months’ says Joan Hewitt, the Tynemouth based poet ‘Our chats started seriously; lockdown, the Labour Party problems. but ended with jazz recommendations, memories and hoots of laughter.’

Pete Swan never had much money and seemed oddly disinterested in the stuff, which made others treat it with less respect.

His death has knocked several of us off-balance. Death and Pete Swan do not equate.

He was just there, a natural life-force, like the sun, or the waves on Tynemouth Long Sands, which he knew so well.


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