Essex Book Festival will be going ahead this summer

ros green and sarah perry standing side by side

Ros Green, director of the Essex Book Festival, with author Sarah Perry. The pair will be discussing Essex Girls at the launch of the 2021 Festival in June - Credit: Nick Ilott Photography

The world may be still trapped in lockdown but some festivals are working hard to ensure that life goes on. 

The Essex Book Festival has announced that contingency planning has meant that the event can go ahead as planned – online if necessary. 

Unlike previous years, the Festival will run for three months with digital events taking place in June, followed by physical events in July and August, all made Covid-secure through outdoor settings and large indoor venues where social distancing is possible. 

James Canton with the cover of his book the oak papers

Author James Canton with his latest book The Oak Papers which will be this year's Essex Read - Credit: Essex Book Festival

One of the things that makes Essex Book Festival so special is that it takes place in such a diverse variety of venues across Essex, including both of the county’s universities and many of the county’s libraries. Every effort is being made to ensure that the events continue to include the places others don’t reach.

Among the unusual settings are: a Tudor Palace, a Napoleonic Fort, a Lightship and some tidal flats in the Thames Estuary. 

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Launching on Sunday, June 6 with a very special panel event: We Need To Talk About Essex Girls, featuring amongst others Sarah Perry (The Essex Serpent) and Syd Moore (The Essex Witch Museum Mysteries), the over-arching theme for this year’s Festival is Words Matter.

Sarah Perry's first non-fiction book is Essex Girls: For Profane and Opinionated Women Everywhere and she is one of the patron’s of the festival.

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East Anglian author Liz Trenow will be talking about her latest book The Secret of the Lake which is set in a small village outside Colchester while James Canton will be this year’s Essex Read

This year the festival will have a special focus on The Natural World, Radical Essex, and the Power of Words.

Festival director Ros Green says: “In a time when books, storytelling and conversations have never been more important, both in terms of home entertainment and our collective wellbeing, we’re thrilled to be offering a truly diverse mix of events later this year.

“2021 will be different from previous years - it has to be – however, we’re relishing the opportunity to experiment with new ways of doing things. This includes exploring some of the County’s excellent heritage sites and green spaces, such as, Cressing Temple Barns, which will be hosting one of Essex Book Camps. You never know, we may be even scaling a mountain or two along the way ... “

Further details will be made available on the Essex Book Festival website in the coming months

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