Bardcode

Workshops Galore

Can a poem be translated into a picture? Or a recipe? Find out at the launch of this year’s Essex Book Festival… We have workshops galore in the mix as part of our special Launch Day at the University of Essex on June 1st. And the good news is that quite a few of them... Read more »...

New Worlds

New Worlds Only a month to go until internationally best-selling author Lionel Shriver ‘hot-foots it’ from Hay Festival to Essex Book Festival. Lionel will be talking about her latest book Mania at Anglia Ruskin University [Chelmsford] on 31st May. Set in a parallel yet all too familiar near past, Mania tracks the twists and turns... Read more »...

Photo of Rebecca Smith credit Lina Hayes. Image of Rural book cover

Taking The Long View

Every year we like to add new venues to the mix. Partly because it’s always fun to go to new places – even if they’re on the doorstep – but also because they can add an extra flavour to an event. Some context, if you like! One of our new venues for our 25th Edition... Read more »...

Programme launching this week

We are absolutely delighted to be launching the programme for this year’s 25th Edition of Essex Book Festival. With over 250 amazing writers and artists in the mix, we urge everyone to log onto our website and find out what’s happening when the programme goes ‘live’ this Thursday!! The theme for this year is This... Read more »...

Out of the blocks with a bang

We have started our 25th Anniversary with an absolute bang! Not only did the inspirational Caroline Lucas MP join our introductory panel conversation at our 3rd Manifesto for Essex Youth Summit, which took place at Firstsite in Colchester as part of EA Sustain Festival, and which was attended by young people from across the county,... Read more »...

The Lament of the Beat Fractured by its Own

By Nawaziest Ul Bushra A journey etched by Saffron – the exotic in Essex. This walk spoke of a beat that caught our steps in a stillness. Like the stillness of the setting sun on the spinning earth. The earth that carried the roots of saffron. A testament of its power. How it embraced the... Read more »...

Metal – The Movement of Emotions

October 2023 - Writer Nawaziest Ul Bushra, tells of her time at Essex Writers House, hosted by Metal. "The experience carried a warmth necessary to a writer’s endeavour and a disturbance, like a ripple in water, necessary for the quill to breathe."...

Photo of author Kate Worsley alongside image of Foxash book cover

Up Close with Essex-based Author Kate Worsley

September 2023 - Essex-based author Kate Worsley, explains the inspiration behind her latest novel, Foxash, set in Foxash Settlement Association in Lawford. In 1936, 1,000 unemployed minders and shipbuilders were relocated to 20 locations across England to begin new lives as market gardeners....

Chalkwell Hall in Southend by Mark Massey and Studio 459 in Portugal

No Place for Elephants

September 2023 - Essex Book Festival Director, Ros Green, takes time while on a writing residency at Studio 459 in Portugal to reflect on six years of partnering with Metal on the rather wonderful annual Essex Writers House. More than a house, a family......

Wanderlust Writing: Visiting Inspiring Locations to Ignite the Creative Flame

August 2023 - Wanderlust Writing: Visiting Inspiring Locations to Ignite the Creative Flame. Guest blog by Rosie Buckley....

Up Close with Sandra Lawrence

July 2023 - Up close with Sandra Lawrence. Writer and journalist Sandra Lawrence tells the story of Ellen Ann Willmott, a mix of genius, caprice, excess and sadness, in her fascinating biography, Miss Willmott's Ghosts....

Mohamed Errebbaa

Unmissable

As we reach our halfway mark it is amazing to reflect on the enormous range of events that have already taken place across the county. Whether that was Adrian May’s Radical Essex Car-boot Rummage/Workshop at Cuckoo Farm Studios, or Alison Weir’s spell-binding event at Layer Marney Tower. All eyes are fixed on our Radical Pilgrimage... Read more »...

Great beginnings

We don’t know about you but we had a fabulous opening weekend. It was a joy to listen to Guardian journalist Polly Toynbee talk about her memoir An Uneasy Inheritance at Anglia Ruskin University – don’t forget to book your tickets for Robin Ince’s event at ARU on Thursday 15th June – followed by a... Read more »...

Get ready…it’s almost here

We’re frantically dotting the ‘i’s’ and crossing the ‘t’s at EBF HQ for this year’s ESSEX BOOK FESTIVAL LAUNCH event, which is taking place at Anglia Ruskin University this Friday night. We really hope you can join us for what we know will be a fascinating and insightful evening with the legendary Guardian writer Polly... Read more »...

James Canton Grounded

A book that demands to be read

Festival Director Ros Green always says that the mark of a good book for her is a book that wakes her up in the middle of the night demanding to be read. These are far and few between, however, one book that recently refused to be put down was James Canton’s Grounded. When James, author... Read more »...

Savour the Delights

Everybody loves Buster Keaton, so we are thrilled to reveal our ‘mystery’ silent film, which is being screened at the wonderful Electric Palace Cinema in Harwich as part of our Criminally Good Weekend. Sherlock, Jr. is a 1924 American silent comedy that follows the misfortunes of a film projectionist (Buster Keaton) who longing to be... Read more »...

England’s Love Affair

With just over a month to go until our launch event with Polly Toynbee at Anglia Ruskin University, the excitement is growing. We’re especially excited to welcome Booker Prize winning author Eleanor Catton to Chelmsford Library on 7th June, where she’ll be talking about her latest novel Birnam Wood, a gripping psychological thriller set on... Read more »...

Ravenous – A Wake-Up Call

At the time of writing, it’s exactly two months until Henry Dimbleby, author of the National Food Strategy, sustainable farming champion, co-founder of LEON Restaurants, and co-author of Ravenous: How to get ourselves and our planet into shape, comes to Hylands House in Chelmsford (18th June) to talk to Jules Pretty, Chair of Essex Climate... Read more »...

“Jaw-dropping”

“Harwich is a town so well known, and so perfectly describ’d by many writers, I need say little of it: ‘Tis strong by situation, and may be made more so by art.” We couldn’t agree more with Daniel Defoe who included Harwich in his walking tour of Essex in 1722, and we are absolutely delighted... Read more »...

Book Your Tickets

The Box Office is Open!

Hurrah, we’re finally able to share all of the amazing festival events taking place across Essex this June. Here’s a quick and easy link to our digital brochure. Tickets can be booked via the events page or by popping into the Mercury Theatre’s Box Office in Colchester or calling them on 01206 872739. A few... Read more »...

Author photos of Polly Toynbee, Eleanor Catton, James Naughtie and Mat Osman alongside their book covers

Hello 2023!

It has been a hectic start to 2023 at Festival HQ… We began on a very positive note with our Manifesto for Essex Climate Emergency Youth Summit. This took place at Firstsite in mid-January as part of the inaugural EA Sustain Festival. Anyone who was at Firstsite on the day will be aware of the... Read more »...

Wendy Constance Rewriting the archive

Rising Tides and Essex Floods

After a fabulous summer of events across the County, we have one last event up our sleeve for 2022. That is, our re-scheduled Rewriting The Archive Workshop, which, led by award-winning environmental writer Wendy Constance, will be taking place in Essex Record Office on 1st October. The focus of Wendy’s writing workshop is Rising Tides... Read more »...

Events still to come 14 June 2022

Still so much more to come…

After a fantastic first week of events, including our launch at Harwich Electric Palace Cinema with Blake Morrison and The Hosepipe Band – what a fabulous night that was! – we are really looking forward to all of the wonderful things in the mix for the rest of June. Ones to watch out for, particularly... Read more »...

Planting stall in tent

Free Family Days Out

One thing we are really proud about this year is the sheer volume of free activities for children taking place at this year’s Essex Book Festival. Especially given the squeeze on family purses. Whether it’s making your own giant jelly fish out of a plastic bottles and bags (bring you own if you can) or... Read more »...

John Crace A Farewell to Calm

Less than 4 weeks to go…

With the starting line looming – it’s less than four weeks until this year’s first event featuring poet and writer Robert Hamberger leading a literary expedition through Epping Forest – the challenge is deciding how to fit everything in. Something, given the nature of Essex Book Festival, that is not always easy, or indeed possible.... Read more »...

Box Office date blog

Box Office opens 5th April

We are so excited to be announcing this year’s festival programme on 5th April. Pick up a brochure from your local library or download the digital version via our website (available from 5th April). The festival will be running from 1-30th June in 40 venues across Essex involving over 200 artists and writers. We are... Read more »...

patricia-highsmith-panel

It’s a wrap!

After what has been a remarkable 3-month festival ‘marathon’, with events and activities taking us everywhere from Canvey Heights to Layer Marney Tower, Chelmsford Theatres to Harlow Museum, we’re finally catching our breath at the Festival HQ. But not for long! Work is already underway for next year’s Essex Book Festival, which will be taking... Read more »...

Keeping You Safe

We are keen for you to understand the measures we are putting in place to keep you safe during our in person events. Here are few that we are implementing in line with our partners at Essex and Thurrock Libraries, Layer Marney Tower, Chelmsford Theatres, and Explore Essex (The Story Hunters Project Workshops and Festival... Read more »...

The Story Hunters Project

In the next few weeks, we will launch the Story Hunters Project together with a dedicated page that will track and exhibit your flash fiction submissions from 20 locations in the geographical county of Essex. This year it is taking the form of a competition, with the winner being announced at our Festival Finale at... Read more »...

Retro image of girl having a party, with balloons in the background

Were you born in 1999? Are you 20 this year?

If so, get in touch by emailing us at [email protected]. In 2019 we will be celebrating our 20th Birthday as well, and want to celebrate with you, with free tickets to events and other goodies. We’d love to hear from you!...

An image of books on a shelf in the shape of the county of Essex

The Books That Rock

What’s your favourite book set in or featuring Essex? Essex Book Festival will be 20 years old in 2019 and to celebrate we’re asking for suggestions for the best reads with an Essex connection. The top 20 titles will go to a public vote and the winning title announced on LV18 the former Radio Caroline... Read more »...

Tower Tales: Let’s Go Fly a Kite

For Essex Book Festival 2018 we invited Ruth Raymer to be writer-in-residence at Jaywick Martello Tower. Ruth spent a week at the tower, talking with visitors, writing and delivering writing workshops. Let’s Go Fly a Kite was used as a basis for storytelling as part of our Festival Finale on 31 March.   Let’s Go Fly a... Read more »...

Ruth Raymer’s Tower Tales

For Essex Book Festival 2018 we invited Ruth Raymer to be writer-in-residence at Jaywick Martello Tower. Ruth spent a week at the tower, talking with Jaywick residents and visitors, researching into its history, writing and delivering writing workshops, and storytelling as part of our Festival Finale on 31 March.   Tower ‘C’ – Peace Tower... Read more »...

Re-mapping the Tower: our Jaywick Writer-in-Residence Ruth Raymer

For Essex Book Festival 2018 we invited Ruth Raymer to be writer-in-residence at Jaywick Martello Tower. In this entry Ruth talks broadly about her experience, recounting her week at the tower, time spent talking with Jaywick residents and visitors, writing, and walking in and around the area.   Jaywick Martello Tower – Writer’s Residency Report... Read more »...