Mohamed Errebbaa

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 this end. Led by artist/writer/wild-crafter Lora Aziz who will be walking from Southend to Saffron Walden over 7 days, we can’t wait for the finale on Midsummer’s Night at Saffron Hall with Moroccan band Mohamed Errebbaa and Gnawa Bristol.

Other unmissable events in the mix for this week include James Canton’s Grounded at Hylands House and our free Family Fun Day at Harlow Central Library, which includes Workshops, Family Storytime, Arts and Crafts activities, plus special performance by Livewire Theatre Group.

Book Tickets here.

Placemaking Poetics

There are some great writing activities/events taking place in Essex Writers House which is based in Metal’s Southend base, Chalkwell Hall.

One event very much on our radar is Placemaking Poetics. A walking workshop exploring place-based writing through techniques such as concrete poetry, psychogeography and mark-making.

Placemaking Poetics Fieldnotes

London-based publishing project Fieldnotes is leading the session, which will focus on process and conversations, capturing our settings through a blend of writing and drawing.
Discover more about the events and activities taking place as part of Essex Writers House.

One Boy, Two Bills and A Fry Up

We are delighted to be welcoming Labour MP and the Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting to the University of Essex as one of our final events. Brought up on a Stepney council estate, the young Streeting saw his teenage parents struggle to provide for him.

This honest, uplifting, affectionate memoir is a tribute to the love and support which set him on his way out of poverty, and informs everything about Wes Streeting’s mission now in politics. He will be in conversation with Cllr Pam Cox, who is standing to be the Labour Party candidate for Colchester.

‘Charming, touching and very very funny’

We’re delighted to be welcoming Ben Aitken back to the festival to talk about his book The Marmalade Diaries. Full of warmth, wit and candour, it tells the story of an unlikely friendship during an unlikely time.

Photo of author Ben Aitken alongside image of The Marmalade Diaries book cover

One house. Two housemates. Three reasons to worry: Winnie and Ben are separated by 50 years, a gulf in class, and major differences of opinion. Out of the most inauspicious of soils – and from the author of The Gran Tour – comes a book about grief, family, friendship, loneliness, life, love, lockdown and marmalade.