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Writer David Baddiel helps spread The Word

Author David Baddiel visited The Word, National Centre for the Written Word yesterday and declared it 'absolutely brilliant'.

The novelist, screen writer and comedian visited the stunning cultural venue in South Shields ahead of its public opening this Saturday.

He was welcomed to the striking £16m centre and given a tour of the impressive facilities, which include library and exhibition space, computer gaming area, a FabLab with 3D printers and vinyl and laser cutters, digitised archives, meeting rooms, children's immersive storytelling area, OpenZone IT suite and a café.

David, who has written four critically acclaimed adult novels and three children's books, said: "I honestly think The Word is absolutely brilliant,  I am so impressed.

"What I do, both as an author and also as a comedian, is predominantly about storytelling so to have a whole building dedicated to storytelling in all its forms is just amazing.

"What I have learned since I started writing children's books is that they really do lose themselves in a story, and having a space like StoryWorld where they are literally immersed in the pages of a book is fantastic."

David was particularly impressed with the centre's spectacular Ridley Scott opening exhibition and took a selfie with the seven-feet high replica alien!

The Word's opening this Saturday will mark the end of phase one of the £100m South Shields 365 regeneration masterplan being delivered by South Tyneside Council and its partner, Muse Developments Ltd.

Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: "The Word aims to be a new home for North East writers so to have the seal of approval from a renowned novelist and screen writer is a very fitting endorsement.

"We will be welcoming more authors like David to the venue through a series of writers in residence as well as nurturing new writing talent.

"We want The Word to stimulate creative ideas and develop a legacy of literary and IT skills, especially amongst youngsters.

"Now we are looking forward to Saturday and the reactions of local people and those from further afield when they see this fabulous facility for the first time."

Since construction began just 18 months ago, residents and visitors have watched the beautiful building gradually take shape.

With its striking circular design and glass atrium, The Word has become a distinctive focal point for the evolving town centre and riverside.

The venue will offer an exciting and inspirational celebration of the written word through a rolling programme of high quality exhibitions, events and workshops.

The Word is supported by Arts Council England, Port of Tyne and BT.

The Word

For more information on the latest events and exhibitions, opening times and directions, please visit The Word website. The Word is also available to follow on Facebook and Twitter.

The Word, 45 Market Place, South Shields, NE33 1JF

The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, South Shields

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