Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Festivals and Workshops: Essex Book Festival

Welcome to Elaine Roberts with another in her interesting series about literary festivals and workshops.

This month I have interviewed Rosalind Green from the Essex Book Festival. Welcome to
Sarah Perry
the RNA blog Rosalind.

Can you tell us something about your festival, how it came about and how long its been running?
Essex Book Festival has been up and running for nearly twenty years. It was originally set up and run by Essex Libraries. In recent years, however, it has evolved into a separate entity - an independent charitable organisation that hosts over 60 venues across Essex throughout March each year.
Who are your main speakers this year?
It’s still all under wraps in the Festival HQ but I’ll let you into a few of our secrets!
Essex-Born novelist Sarah Perry, who has just been short-listed for Waterstone’s Book of the Year with her fabulous novel The Essex Serpent, is going to be our Festival Writer-in-Residence.
We also have the ‘doyenne’ of Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour Jenni Murray launching our inaugural Science and Invention Day in Chelmsford. Most appropriate this Chelmsford is the birthplace of radio!
Plus we’re delighted to be welcoming crime-writer extraordinaire Sophie Hannah to take part in our Golden Age of Crime Weekend in Southend.
As our blog is for writers can you tell me how your festival would benefit our members?
We are running multiple creative writing workshops across Essex throughout March.
These extend from a ‘Crime-Writing Master-class’ as part of our Golden Age of Crime Weekend, a ‘Writing-the-Self Workshop’ led by The Guardian/Independent literary & theatre reviewer Lucy Popescu. Through to a ‘Wild Writing Workshop’ with nature writer and poet Chris McCully and a ‘Making A Start Workshop’ led by award-winning debut author Annabel Abbs.
These are just a few of our writing workshops on offer next March. More information will be popping up on our website over the next few months:
Is there anything to enter (maybe a writing competition), if so could details be provided?
We will be launching our second Crime Short Story Competition during our Golden Age Of Crime Weekend. Again, watch out for it on our website.
How about staying over for the whole event. Where can people stay?
Sophie Hannah
The Festival takes place right across Essex throughout March, and so unlike other Book Festivals there is no easy answer in terms of how and where to say. However, we thoroughly recommend that people book into the wonderful Park Inn Palace Hotel, ‘home’ of our Golden Age of Crime Weekend in Southend. The Park Inn Palace Hotel is at the end of the world’s longest pleasure pier so an amazing experience in it’s own right!
What does it cost to attend?
We do our very best to make our events as affordable as possible. The majority of our events cost £7 (£5 for Under 27s), while quite a few of our family events are free.
Do workshops/talks fill up quickly?
Our workshops fill up very quickly and likewise some of our more high profile events. For example, last year’s launch event with Grayson Perry sold out in a flash! We always advise that people book before coming...
How much time does it take to organise the festival?
We work on the Festival all year. That’s not entirely true – we try and take May off to recover from the mayhem of March.
Dates for this 2017 and possibly 2018.
The Festival always runs from 1st- 31st March.

Link to website:

Email for queries:

About Elaine:
Elaine is a member of the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme and is currently working on a family saga. She has sold short stories worldwide and enjoys attending RNA events such as the London chapter and our annual conference. Elaine is a great fan of writing retreats either week long by the sea with friends or one-day retreats with fellow writers in her home town of Dartford. Elaine runs a writing blog along with writer, Francesca Capaldi Burgess called WriteMindWritePlace.

Thank you Elaine. The Essex Book Festival looks to be an event worth visiting.

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