News

Essex Book Festival is bigger than ever

  • Date

    Fri 5 Jan 18

Sarah Perry speaking at Essex Book Festival

Leading authors, poets, journalists, dramatists, artists and film-makers, along with University staff and students, will be celebrating literature with more than 100 events across the county for Essex Book Festival.

This year's Festival is the biggest yet and takes place throughout March, featuring book launches, readings, performances and workshops.

Two leading writers will appear at our Colchester and Southend Campuses on 2 March. Playwright Michael Frayn, author of Noises Off and Skios, will present 36 comic sketches in Pocket Playhouse at our Colchester Campus. In Southend, Guardian parliamentary sketch writer John Crace will talk about his book, I, Maybot: The Rise and Fall.

Festival Director Ros Green from the Centre for Creative Writing in our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, said: 

“Essex Book Festival, an independent charity based within our Department, has grown significantly over the last four years – not only in terms of the range of venues and number of events, but also in terms of the breadth and reach of the programme; our focus very much being on developing a programme that is more relevant and appealing to younger and more diverse audiences.”

The Festival, which moved to our Centre for Creative Writing in 2014, has grown each year, reflecting both the wide-ranging research interests of our staff, and the increasing number of partner organisations – local, national and international – that are now involved in its extensive programme.

“For example,” explains Ros, “this year we are hosting two symposiums in partnership with the University. Our Crime and Writing Symposium taking place in the Lakeside Theatre on 9 March is a partnership event with English PEN, HMP Chelmsford and Essex Libraries, and our Witches, Wags and Wide Boys Symposium, a fascinating, interactive day of discussions, is taking place on our Colchester Campus in partnership with Anglia Ruskin University on 27 March.”

A number of other off-campus events linked to our University are also taking place and are listed below. The full Festival line-up and details of how to book are available on the Festival website and brochure (.pdf).

Pocket Playhouse (Michael Frayn)

Thirty-six comic sketches from playwright Michael Frayn, author of Noises Off and Skios

I Maybot: The Rise and Fall (John Crace)

John Crace, the Guardian’s parliamentary sketch writer, tells the full story of Theresa May’s turbulent first year in No 10.

The East Country: Almanac Tales of Valley and Shore (Jules Pretty)

Professor Jules Pretty from our School of Biological Sciences talks about his latest book, The East Country, an assemblage of 74 tales mixing memoir with natural history and cultural critique with spiritual reflection.

The Magic of Writing (Adrian May)

Dr Adrian May from our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, launches his new book The Magic of Writing with a talk on how magic can be used as a tool to generate creativity, inspiring writers to take risks.

Ancient Wanderings (James Canton)

Dr James Canton from our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies discusses his book Ancient Wanderings, in which he travels the length of Britain to discover the wonders of our natural history that occupied ancient minds.

Crime and Punishment Symposium

Over the last three years, we’ve collaborated with Essex Libraries and English PEN to bring a series of creative writing workshops to HMP Chelmsford, working with both adult prisoners and young offenders. In our symposium we’ll be running talks and panel discussions about our experiences running Writing on the Inside and the issues and challenges for offenders and their families.

The symposium takes place on 9 March at our Lakeside Theatre (Colchester Campus).

The Nuclear Option

Staff and students from our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies present a ‘labyrinth of delights’ in the Secret Nuclear Bunker in south Essex, including poetry, fiction, debates and drama on the theme of peace.

Witches, WAGs and Wide Boys

A full day of discussion examining the role of place, gender and class in the Essex stereotype and what it is to ‘be’ Essex. The event brings together various people, academics and authors, including Festival Director Ros Green.

It’s a Wrap: Bof? Music, Dance and Soup

Our MA and PhD Creative writing students will be leading walks, creative writing classes.