Essex Book Festival Launches a Month of Bookish Chat Today

The 20th anniversary of Essex Book Festival launches its month-long extravaganza -of literary talks, challenging discussions, family workshops & an interactive bee hive (yes you heard us correctly! –  today with patron Sarah Perry’s talk on her bestselling book Melmoth.

This year the Festival is tapping into key cultural affairs with themes such as ‘Unspeakable: Banned Books, Difficult Words, Taboos’ with events planned with the Index on Censorship, whose Chairman, Trevor Phillips was interviewed for The Telegraph last month on the topic of no-platforming, he was also interviewed on Sky News.

Another core theme for this year is ‘Words to the World,’ which includes a collaboration between the Essex Book Festival and Chinese charity ‘Mothers Bridge of Love’. Xinran Xue, the director of the charity and Ros Green, director of the Essex Book Festival, have creatively combined to form The Mothership Project the focus being to nurture new friendships between the children living in both countries. School children in Essex and China sending messages of friendship to each other via drawings, postcards and origami boats. The festival is on a mission to make 1000 origami ships before the end of its run and will have building stations at their festival hubs in Jaywick, Harwich, Grays, Colchester and Chelmsford. A great day out for the family in the run up to Mother’s Day while also making a difference. Xinran was interviewed by Sky News: Lunchtime about the project.

The festival has also featured in ‘Must Book Events’ in The Sunday Times, i newspaper, Country life in print and online , Choice, The Week, The Week Junior and BBC Wildlife Magazine.     

Other exciting talks include We Need to talk About Mother, a timely and compelling series of talks about climate change with speakers including ex-BBC Science Correspondent and Writer Sue Nelson, investigative journalist and environmentalist Clare Newcastle-Brown, environmental artist in residence Lily Hunter Green. The Meaning of Essex, forever linked with negative stereotypes Essex’s very own Syd Moore, bestselling novelist, former television presenter and activist is continuing her fight, after already having the word ‘promiscuous’ removed from the Collins Dictionary definition of the term Essex Girl.

Stand-up comedian and co-host of the Infinite Monkey Cage, Robin Ince brings to life his new book I’m a Joke and So Are You: A Comedian’s Take on What Makes Us Human. Lucy Popescu, writer and one-time director of English PEN and co-editor of the PEN anthology talks about her pertinent book A Country to Call Home: An anthology on the experiences of young refugees and asylum seekers.

Bestselling author of, The Stopping Places: A Journey Through Gypsy Britain, Damian La Bas shares his tales on the road and the discusses the importance of celebrating society’s differences and Labour MP for Leeds West & Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, Rachel Reeves will be hosting a talk on the Women of Westminster.

Welcoming 250 speakers to take part in 130 events in 45 venues across the county of Essex throughout the month of March there really is something somewhere in the South East for absolutely everyone this March!

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