Vera, the universe and everything – public lectures return to Sunderland

Picture: Jay Sykes.

A new series of free public lectures launches at the University of Sunderland later this month, boasting stars of the big and small screen, politics, and the whole of the rest of the universe.

The popular series returns for a short run on Thursday 31 May, when one of the UK’s most successful authors – credited with putting the region on the international map – Ann Cleeves presents ‘From Page to Screen’.

Ann Cleeves is the best-selling author of the Vera and Shetland books. In her talk she will give the inside story of her characters’ journey from the novels to the television screen.

TV is currently filming the ninth season of Vera in the region with Brenda Blethyn – filming in and around Sunderland this week. Meanwhile Ann has completed Wild Fire – the final instalment of the Jimmy Perez crime series. Jimmy, as played by Douglas Henshall, is the central character in the BBC drama Shetland.

She will discuss her work on the page and screen, and take questions from the audience at the Murray Library Lecture Theatre, Chester Road.

The series will continue on 7 June with another internationally lauded writer, when Billy Elliot creator Lee Hall takes to the stage to talk about his works, in theatre, film and radio.

Gary Fildes will take his audience on a trip across the known universe on 14 June, when the founder of the Kielder Observatory presents Our Place in the Universe.

Oscar-winning film producer, educator and politician Lord David Puttnam will look at the political landscape of Europe on 3 July, when he presents Shaping the Value of a Post-Brexit World, and asks if it possible to heal the rift between Brexit Britain’s Leavers and Remainers.

All lectures are free and open to all. Free parking is available on campus from 6pm. To book go to:, contact, or go to and search for ‘Public Lectures’.

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