Final week 2024 authors

As we head into our final week, the festival is taking on a criminally good dimension, starting with the annual Dorothy L Sayers lecture at Witham Library, which features bestselling author and audience favourite Vaseem Khan.

Vaseem will be talking about his fourth rip-roaring thriller in the award-winning Malabar House series, Death of a Lesser God, set in 1950s Bombay where the prejudices and bloody politics of the era are engulfed in flame.

Photo of Vaseem Khan. Death of a Lesser God book cover

Continuing the international theme, we’re thrilled to be welcoming ex-Labour minister and life-long human rights campaigner Peter Hain, who similar to his ex-colleague Alan Johnson has also turned crime-writer, to talk about his latest thriller The Lion Conspiracy.

Photo of Peter Hain. The Lion Conspiracy book cover

A delicious mix of mafia-style smuggling, illicit night fights and tense shoot outs, Peter’s event forms part of our Criminally Good Day at Harwich’s Electric Palace Cinema. Anyone who enjoyed Alan Johnson’s event at Chelmsford Library should make a beeline for this one!

Closer to home and continuing the Criminally Good Day theme, local beach enthusiast and educator Libby Scarfe will be running Seaside Explorer: Litter is Criminal Beach Workshop for families on Harwich Beach.

Expect stories about marine creatures and sea-pollution. Explore the natural coast environment. Take part in a beach clean and then get creative with the treasures foraged on route. Designed for 5+ and the young at heart, why not seize the day and help protect and celebrate this magical strip of the Essex coastline.

Seaside Explorers Beach Workshop
M 1931

Wrapping up the day there will be a screening of Fritz Lang’s legendary ‘M’ (1931), which is widely regarded by many as one of the greatest films of all time and ‘The Blue Print for the Serial Killer Movie’. Film buffs will not want to miss this one, particularly the opportunity to see it in one of the country’s oldest surviving purpose-built cinemas replete with its silent screen, original projection room and ornamental frontage still intact.

The History Books

Wrapping up this year’s Essex Book Festival – our 25th Edition – we’ll be stepping back in time to the beautiful Layer Marney Tower.

Boasting the UK’s tallest Tudor Gatehouse and stunning grounds, it’s little wonder that it was one of Henry VIII’s favourite Tudor Palaces, and even less of a wonder that it’s our favourite Tudor palace! The good news is that festival tickets include free entry to the Tower and the Gardens.

Layer Marney Tower 3x2

Authors on the menu include historian and the acclaimed author of Blood, Fire and Gold: Elizabeth I and Catherine de Medici, Estelle Paranque, who offers up a fascinating new perspective on Tudor history’s most enduring story: the tragic life and execution of Anne Boleyn.

In her latest book Thorns, Lust and Glory, Estelle asks how this courtier’s daughter became the Queen of England. What it was that really tore apart this illustrious marriage. How she became the whore of England: an abandoned woman executed on the scaffold. While many stories of Anne Boleyn’s downfall have been told, few have truly traced the origins of her tragic fate.

We will also be joined by Ysenda Maxtone Graham who will be talking about her book Jobs for the Girls: a brilliant new history of women’s lives in the workplace by the Sunday Times bestselling author of British Summer Time Begins.

Photo of Ysenda Maxtone Graham. Jobs for the Girls book cover

For our final event of the day, co-presented by EA Festival, we will be joined by the illustrious historian and writer Simon Heffer. Simon will be interviewed by Rowan Pelling and will be sharing insights into his latest book.

Photo of Simon Heffer. Sing As We Go book cover

Sing As We Go is the fourth and final volume of his critically-acclaimed sequence of books that chart the history of Britain from the accession of Queen Victoria to the outbreak of the Second World War.