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What We Are Reading Now – The Citadel by A.J Cronin

A Book Review by Paul T Davies Written in 1937, it helped shape the foundation of the NHS, as it follows a newly qualified GP through the inequalities of private health care. Although it slightly loses its power when he leaves the Welsh Valley, his pursuit of money and success exposes a corrupt system, until... Read more »...

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What We Are Reading Now – A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

A Book Review by Katrina Webb A Thousand Ships begins with the voice of Calliope, the muse of epic poetry but this is not to be the expected tale of the fall of Troy through the eyes of the men, warriors, kings and gods of Ancient Greece and Troy. Natalie Haynes gives a much-needed voice... Read more »...

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What We Are Reading Now – Out of Darkness, Shining Light by Petina Gappah

A Book Review by Liz Trenow I love reading (and writing) historical fiction because it can bring history alive in ways that non-fiction can never achieve. It is not slavishly bound to the historical record – usually the record of educated, powerful and usually male characters – and leaving the author free to explore lesser-known... Read more »...

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What We Are Reading Now – Outline by Rachel Cusk

A Book Review by Louise Barnes Depicting ten conversations had by our esteemed narrator, the name of which we only find out at the end of the novel, Outline is a novel without a plot, or rather without a start and an end. The novel begins with a woman on a plane travelling to Athens... Read more »...

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What We Are Reading Now – Miss Austen by Gill Hornby

A Book Review by Sandy Norris Any fan of Jane Austen will be intrigued by this novel. Told through the fictitious voice of Cassandra Austen, the story line is set 23 years after Jane – her famous sister has died and tells of Cassandra’s search among family possessions to find a cache of letters, written... Read more »...

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What We Are Reading Now – The Circle by Dave Eggers

A Book Review by Imogen. L. Smiley Have you ever seen that movie where Forrest Gump and Hermione Granger do a TED Talk? No? Well, it’s really good, but I prefer the book. The Circle is a novel by Dave Eggers which is approximately four-hundred and fifty pages long. Depending on your reading speed it... Read more »...

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What We Are Reading Now – Leonard and Hungry Paul by Roman Hession

A Book Review by Appetite Book Club Leonard and Hungry Paul takes you on a gentle stroll through the lives of two quiet, unassuming but far from insignificant individuals. The main characters are mid thirties, living with their parents and their idea of a good social evening is to play a board game or two.... Read more »...

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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!...

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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 »...