04 January 2013

Tickets for University’s Essex Book Festival events now available

From the story of a $2 billion dollar whistleblower to delicious baking recipes from an Essex celebrity baker and a new novel by one of the nation’s best-loved writers, this year’s University of Essex events for the Essex Book Festival offer something for all literary tastes.

Held throughout March, the University and many other venues across the county will host more than 60 events, including outstanding writing talent from leading writers from the University’s Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of Sociology, Department of Psychology and also, the arts.

The University’s events begin on 3 March with a workshop for writers of all levels of experience at the Lakeside Theatre, led by Lakeside Theatre Associate Artist Andrew Burton, and Nicola Werenoskwa, a Colchester-based playwright. On 4 March at Southend Campus, Michael Woodford MBE tells his extraordinary story of how he became the first CEO in history to turn whistleblower and expose a $2 billion dollar accounting fraud within Olympus.

On 5 March at firstsite in Colchester, Dr James Canton will be tracking the paths of literary figures who ventured into wilder parts of Essex, including Shakespeare, John Clare and HG Wells. Writer and performer, Sandi Toksvig will then be talking about her striking new novel about liberty, empire and war at Colchester Campus on 7 March.

One of Britain’s greatest nature writers, Richard Mabey, will discuss the concept of ‘edgeland’, on 13 March, and how it has influenced his writing, for the University’s Annual Burrows Lecture at the Lakeside Theatre. On 16 March, academics from the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies will host a day of talks, readings and presentations on the theme of water with contributions from artist Maggi Hambling at Colchester Campus.

On 18 March, 2011’s Great British Bake Off winner, Jo Wheatley, will be showcasing her first book, A Passion for Baking, with over 100 delicious baking recipes and will demonstrate a number of them and give her top tips on baking at home, at Wivenhoe House. Leading psychologist and neuroscientist, Professor Elaine Fox will then discuss her highly popular book, Rainy Brain Sunny Brain, on 19 March at the Lakeside Theatre, and tell us how we can become more optimistic by retraining our brains.

Finally, on 23 March award-winning director Adam Spreadbury-Maher will talk about his adaptation of A Tale of Two Cities and its relevance for contemporary audiences, followed by an evening performance of the play, at Loughton Campus.
University academics are also playing a key role in other Essex Book Festival events including researcher James Scott, who will be joining a panel of other speakers on 15 March to debate opinions of Essex and Professor Ted Benton who will talk about his passion for nature and inspiration behind his work, alongside a panel of other Essex-based natural history writers on 8 March.

The University has played a key role in the Essex Book Festival since it became an independent trust with charitable status in 2012. Established 12 years ago, the festival has become a popular literary celebration for the county of Essex, showcasing the work of many leading writers and outstanding talent from around the world.

Information about all the events taking place during the Festival can be found on the Essex Book Festival website at: www.essexbookfestival.org.uk, or you can pick a brochure up at your local library.

Essex Book Festival events hosted by the University and involving our academics include:

Writing the Self: Writers Workshop
Lakeside Theatre, Colchester Campus
Sunday 3 March 11am – 4pm
Ticket price £20 and £15 concessions
Box Office: Lakeside Theatre, 01206 873261
lakesidetheatre.org.uk

“One sheds one’s sicknesses in books” DH Lawrence. Whether you write poetry, fiction, drama or simply keep a journal, this stimulating workshop – open to writers of all levels of experience – enables you to explore the often complex relationship between writing and the self.

Led by Lakeside Theatre Associate Artist Andrew Burton and Nicola Werenowska, a Colchester-based playwright who is developing a personal integrated strand into her creative practice, this interactive workshop is open to writers of all levels and experience.

Michael Woodford: Exposure: Inside the Olympus Scandal
The Gateway Building, Southend Campus
Monday 4 March 2pm
Ticket price £7, £6 concessions
Box Office: 01206 573948

Michael Woodford MBE is the first CEO in history to turn whistleblower and report on an accounting fraud approaching $2 billion within his own company. Join him at the University of Essex as he tells the extraordinary story, in his new book, of how, as CEO of Olympus, he put his family’s lives at risk, when he decided to expose the scandal.

James Canton: Out of Essex: Re-Imagining a Literary Landscape
firstsite, Colchester
Tuesday 5 March 7pm
Ticket price £5, £4 concessions
Box Office: 01206 573948

Beyond the brash modern stereotypes of Essex there exists a landscape that has inspired some of England’s finest writing. James Canton tracks the paths of literary figures who ventured into wilder parts of Essex, including Shakespeare, John Clare, HG Wells and Arthur Ransome. This personal response to landscapes offers a fresh vision of Essex, its cultural history and its living legacy of wilderness and imagination.

Sandi Toksvig: Valentine Grey
Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall, Colchester Campus
Thursday 7 March 7.30pm
Ticket price £10, £9 concessions
Box Office: 01206 573948

One of the nation’s best-loved writers and performers discusses her striking new novel about liberty, empire and war.

Set in 1897, Valentine Grey is the moving and powerful story of a young woman, unused to rigid rules of Victorian society, who pushes herself to the limits of honour, loyalty and love. Through her cousin Reggie, Valentine is introduced to the wonders that London has to offer, both obvious and secret but all in pursuit of adventure.

Inspiration of Nature: With Ross Gardner, Ted Benton and Andrew Fallan
Thurrock Thameside Nature Park
Friday 8 March 7pm
Ticket price £5, £4 concessions
Box Office: 01206 573948

Panel event: Essex boasts a wealth of wild riches and plenty of people to write about them.

Essex-based natural history writers: University academic, Professor Ted Benton (New Naturalist Series-Grasshoppers and Crickets), Ross Gardner (Never a Dull Moment) and Andrew Fallan (Winging It – Birding for low-flyers), talk about their passion for nature and the inspirations behind their work.

Richard Mabey: Annual Burrows Lecture
Lakeside Theatre, Colchester Campus
Wednesday 13 March 7pm
Free, however places limited so booking recommended
Box Office: Lakeside Theatre, 01206 873261, lakesidetheatre.org.uk

Richard Mabey is one of Britain’s greatest nature writers, author of over 30 books including Weeks, Flora Britannica, Food for Free and Nature Cure.
For the University’s annual Burrows Lecture, Richard will be talking about the concept of “edgeland”, the zone between inhabited and wild land that has influenced his writing from as far back as The Unofficial Countryside in 1974.

What Next for Essex? From Essex Man to TOWIE – and Beyond
The Brentwood Ursuline Convent
Friday 15 March 7pm
Ticket price £5, £4 concessions
Box Office: 01206 573948

Everyone has an opinion on Essex. How much is myth and how much is true and where is the county heading in the 21st century?

Five speakers, with a range of allegiances to Essex, come together for a fascinating and timely debate: bestselling novelist Martina Cole; the Daily Mail’s Simon Heffer; head teacher Vic Goddard (Channel 4’s Educating Essex); Brentwood Gazette editor Neville Wilson; and University of Essex researcher on place and social class in Essex, James Scott. Chaired by Malcolm Burgess (Oxygen Books).

Talking on Water
Lakeside Theatre, Colchester Campus
Saturday 16 March 10.30am – 5.00pm.
Ticket price £5, £4 concessions
Box Office: Lakeside Theatre, 01206 873261, lakesidetheatre.org.uk

A day of talks, readings and presentations on the theme of water, bringing together artists, writers and scientists. Contributors include artist Maggi Hambling, writer James Attlee and writer and journalist Caspar Henderson with additional contributions from Marina Warner, James Canton, Adrian May and Phillip Terry of the University’s Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies.

Jo Wheatley: A Passion for Baking
Wivenhoe House, University of Essex
Monday 18 March 7pm
Ticket price £8, £7 concessions
Box Office: 01206 573948

Ever since she was a child Jo Wheatley has loved baking and spent the past 25 years perfecting her extraordinary skills before winning the Great British Bake Off in 2011. Jo will demonstrate her skills and create something mouth-watering from her new book, A Passion for Baking.

An early-bird dinner is available at Wivenhoe House to audience members before the event. Dinner is a choice of main course and a glass of wine or soft drink for diners between 5pm and 6pm on Monday 18 March, for £15. Early-bird dinners must be pre-booked, please call: 01206 863666.

Elaine Fox: Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain
Lakeside Theatre, Colchester Campus
Tuesday 19 March 6.30pm
Ticker price £5, £4 concessions
Box Office: Lakeside Theatre, 01206 873261, lakesidetheatre.org.uk

Do you see the glass half-full or half-empty?
Would you like to be more optimistic?

Leading psychologist and neuroscientist, Professor Elaine Fox from the University of Essex shows how we can brighten our lives and help ourselves flourish by retraining our brains, in her highly popular new book.

Director’s Talk: ‘A Tale of Two Cities’
East 15 Acting School, Loughton Campus
Saturday 23 March 6pm
Ticket price for performance £8, £5 concessions
Box Office: 020 8508 5983

Award-winning director Adam Spreadbury-Maher, passionate about reviving critically neglected plays by literary giants of the twentieth Century, will talk about how this adaptation of A Tale of Two Cities has been rediscovered and its relevance for contemporary audiences.

The talk is free with an evening performance ticket for Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, based on the 1930’s adaptation by Sir Terence Rattigan and Sir John Gielgud. On from Wednesday 20 to Saturday 23 March at 7.30pm.

Notes to Editors
For more information about University events for the Essex Book Festival contact the University of Essex Communications Office, telephone 01206 874471, e-mail comms@essex.ac.uk.

High resolution pictures can be downloaded at: www.flickr.com/photos/universityofessex/sets/72157632420095989. Press contacts can be viewed on the press section of the Essex Book Festival website, at: www.essexbookfestival.org.uk/press/author-download.

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