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Book-lovers ‘spellbound’ as resort’s sixth festival is hailed a great success

PUBLISHED: 17:22 01 July 2018 | UPDATED: 08:32 02 July 2018

Richard O'Neill with five-year-old Zacary Brightwell Ross and his 10-year-old brother Samson, at the Tales from a Toy Maker pop up, at the tourist information beach hut, on Felixstowe seafront during the Felixstowe Book Festival 
Picture: STEPHEN WALLER 
www.stephenwaller.com

Richard O'Neill with five-year-old Zacary Brightwell Ross and his 10-year-old brother Samson, at the Tales from a Toy Maker pop up, at the tourist information beach hut, on Felixstowe seafront during the Felixstowe Book Festival Picture: STEPHEN WALLER www.stephenwaller.com

© Stephen Waller

Leading writers left audiences “spellbound” as the Felixstowe Book Festival enjoyed a highly successful weekend.

Author Patrick Barkham during his talk at the Felixstowe Book Festival 
Picture: STEPHEN WALLER 
www.stephenwaller.comAuthor Patrick Barkham during his talk at the Felixstowe Book Festival Picture: STEPHEN WALLER www.stephenwaller.com

The festival – now in its sixth year – was longer than in previous years and featured more venues and new activities.

Audiences were packed to hear talks by Dame Jenni Murray, Call The Midwife’s Stephen McGann and Sir Vince Cable, speaking on his explosive political thriller, among a host of best-selling authors.

Festival director Meg Reid, who put together the festival with a team of volunteers, said: “The whole town has been buzzing.

“Audiences are engaged and enthusiastic. The authors love being here. We’ve had wonderful pop-up events on the seafront, and a children’s festival at the town’s library.

Aide Mueller who was reciting poetry in the live poetry Jukebox pop up, on Felixstowe seafront as part of the Felixstowe Book Festival 
Picture: STEPHEN WALLER 
www.stephenwaller.comAide Mueller who was reciting poetry in the live poetry Jukebox pop up, on Felixstowe seafront as part of the Felixstowe Book Festival Picture: STEPHEN WALLER www.stephenwaller.com

“I started the day off with a walk through the woods in the company of a storyteller. It’s been inspiring.”

Festival patron Esther Freud, who presented an event with author Juliet Nicolson, said: “Audiences know they are in for a treat at Felixstowe.

“It’s a well-organised festival that attracts writers at the top of their game. The audience we had was spellbound.”

The festival opened with novelists Amanda Craig and Salley Vickers, and included international best-selling thriller writer Mark Billingham, as well as Damian Le Bas, whose book The Stopping Places was published this month to wide acclaim.

A full house for the talk by author Vince Cable at the Felixstowe Book Festival 
Picture: STEPHEN WALLER 
www.stephenwaller.comA full house for the talk by author Vince Cable at the Felixstowe Book Festival Picture: STEPHEN WALLER www.stephenwaller.com

Over the weekend the programme included fiction, non fiction events (covering politics, history, art and the hippy trail), workshops and discussions.

Children’s events include an afternoon devoted to the The Beano in Felixstowe Library.

The range of topics from writing on offer as well as the calibre of speakers attracted visitors from across Suffolk and even from as far as Cornwall.

“The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming,” said festival goer Vicky Bainbridge, who has recently moved to Felixstowe.

Author Dame Jenni Murray, with her book at The Felixstowe Book Festival, held at The Orwell Hotel, Felixstowe  Picture: STEPHEN WALLER  www.stephenwaller.comAuthor Dame Jenni Murray, with her book at The Felixstowe Book Festival, held at The Orwell Hotel, Felixstowe Picture: STEPHEN WALLER www.stephenwaller.com

“It’s been fascinating. I learned things I didn’t know that I didn’t know.”

Aileen Mortimer, who travelled from Bramford to hear Salley Vickers and Dame Jenni Murray, said: “The atmosphere has been fabulous and the sun has been shining. The speakers have been so engaging, it’s been great to be here.”


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