Celebrate women, past and present, at Vindolanda and The Sill

Great Northumberland continues apace in August exploring and celebrating the lives of Roman women and women of today

Vindolanda and The Sill - The UK's National Landscape Discover Centre, working in partnership with Hexham Book Festival, come together this August for a Great Northumberland event focusing on women, both during the Roman occupation of Britain and on those who live and work along Hadrian’s Wall today.

The weekend of the 4thand 5thof August will bring together events for families which will celebrate women of the past and present It will also see the announcement of the winners of two writing competitions connected with the event. One competition, specifically for students of Middle Schools across Northumberland, has been judged by author Caroline Lawrence, creator of The Roman Mysteries series and a linked digital exhibition of the students’ work will be on display for visitors.

The second competition is entitled Flash Fiction; 300-word short stories, written by entrants aged sixteen and above, have been submitted and will be judged by renowned classicist Natalie Haynes and announced at an award ceremony at Vindolanda on Saturday 4th August at 11am.

Head to Vindolanda to view the earliest surviving female handwriting from Britain - the artefact dates back almost 2,000 years and is an invitation to a birthday party from Claudia Severa to Sulpicia Lepidina, wife of the Vindolanda garrison commander in AD100. 

A series of fun, free workshops and events for ages five and above will be open over the weekend at both sites. Head to The Sill on Saturday 4th August to create your own Roman invitation inspired by the 2,000-year-old piece on display, get creative using stamps, ink pads and even a traditional printing press. 

Visit Vindolanda on Sunday 5th August for more contemporary creative activities with a “Pop-up invitation” workshop from 11am-2pm and is free to join in. 

Finally, be sure to join classicist and comedian Natalie Haynes from 2pm on the 4th August at Vindolanda for a special Roman themed stand-up comedy set.

Susie Troup, Director at Hexham Book Festival, says:

“We are so excited to have been given the opportunity to celebrate Northumberland and in particular the extraordinary landscape and history of the area. Over 400 children from across the county produced some fabulous stories in response to our competition and many of them had the opportunity to meet Caroline Lawrence. We’ve also had a great response to our Flash Fiction competition and are particularly pleased that the wonderful Natalie Haynes will be appearing at both the Sill and Vindolanda next weekend to celebrate with the winners and share some of her Classics humour.”

Part of the Great Exhibition of the North ‘Inspired By’ programme and designed specifically to get visitors to the region to explore the country’s most northerly county, Great Northumberland offers a range of unique, family-friendly, events, activities and adventures many of which are free of charge. Sign up for the newsletter on the website to find out about all Great Northumberland events across the Summer. Find out more at greatnorthumberland.co.uk.