Photo of Festival Director, Ros Green with author and Festival Patron Sarah Perry

Essex Book Festival is one of the highlights of the county’s cultural calendar.

Each year the festival hosts 100+events in a range of venues across Essex, extending from Basildon Library, Hylands Estate, Chalkwell Hall, University of Essex and Anglia Ruskin University, Harlow Library, and Electric Palace Harwich, to Jaywick Martello Tower, Grays Library, Chelmsford Cathedral, Cressing Temple Barns, and Tudor Palace Layer Marney Tower.

The Festival was established by Essex County Council in 1999 to celebrate the book in all its forms with the widest possible audiences. It has grown exponentially since then. Now recognised as one of the leading festivals of its kind in the East of England, it invites writers and artists from all over the world to take part in its activities and events.

In addition, it hosts a year-round series of writing and reading programmes for all ages and abilities, including workshops in HMP & YOI Chelmsford. It became an independent charity run by a board of volunteer trustees in 2011.

This, in turn, led to a number of new opportunities, not least of all in terms of the wide range of partners with which it now works: both within Essex, and nationally and internationally.

The Essex Book Festival is based with the Centre for Creative Writing at University of Essex Colchester Campus.


We are a member of the Global Association of Literary Festivals connecting with literature festivals around the world.