Event category: Literature

‘No matter how many skies have fallen: back to the land in wartime Britain’ Ken Worpole talk

Book cover featuring wartime photograph of two men and two women standing on farm machinery

Writer and social historian Ken Worpole will be joining us for a presentation and conversation about his fascinating new book on the Frating Hall Farm community, No Matter How Many Skies Have Fallen.

On Lady Day, 25 March 1943, a group of Christian socialists and pacifists inspired by religious and communitarian ideals and the writings of DH Lawrence and John Middleton Murry, took possession of a 300 acre farm in Frating, Essex, creating a self-sufficient community of up to 50 adults and children – and a sanctuary for refugees and prisoners-of-war – which lasted for twelve years. The story of this has never been told before.

No Matter How Many Skies Have Fallen recreates the life of the Frating Hall Farm community through the recorded memories of the children who grew up there, combined with archive documents, letters and photographs – creating an enquiry into the passionate ideals of the back-to-the-land movement in wartime and post-war England, especially strong in Essex.

This is an Essex Book Festival Event

Writing And Walking With Geoff Nicholson

Geoff Nicholson walking in a garden

Geoff Nicholson, author of the Lost Art of Walking and Walking in Ruins, conducts a practical writing workshop. We’ll walk, we’ll write, we’ll talk and then we’ll walk some more. A light lunch will be provided at North House Gallery, Manningtree.

Matt Gaw ‘The Pull of the River’ Quay Theatre, Sudbury

Matt Graw talks about his new book The Pull of the River: Tales of escape and adventure on Britain’s waterways.  Two foolhardy
explorers do what we would all love to do: they turn their world upside down and seek adventure on their very own doorstep.
In a handsome, homemade canoe, painted a joyous nautical red the colour of Mae West’s lips, Matt and his friend James delve into a watery landscape that invites us to see the world through new eyes.  From his local Suffolk rivers – the Waveney, Lark, Stour, Alde/Ore to the white water of the Wye, the tranquility of the Otter and the sheer variety of the Thames, Matt tells his adventures with great humour and insight.

Essex Book Festival: PLACE Weekend

Join us for a fun and thought-provoking weekend of author events, debates, workshops and storytelling in Colchester.

With Sunday Times’ best-selling author Simon Scarrow pondering on what the Romans would have made of Brexit, Drag Queen Bunny Galore’s spot in our Pop-Up Storytelling Armchair, writer Tim Burrow’s contemplation on ‘The Meaning of ‘Essex”, and author Bridget Collins’ hugely entertaining gothic tale The Binding, this year’s PLACE weekend promises to be a rich blend of fact, fantasy and fabula.

We also have our very first Essex Book Festival Human Library – where BOOKS are PEOPLE, and READING is a CONVERSATION. Come along, choose a book, and enjoy an experience that promises to stimulate and challenge.

For our Young Essex Day on Saturday 23 March, families an have a fabulous day out exploring place, identity, history and heritage through books, reading, writing and storytelling. Our Pop-Up Storytelling Armchair is back; there’ll be bookmaking, writing workshops, origami boatbuilding and Chinese calligraphy as part of The Mothership Project, when children in Essex will be exchanging messages of love and friendship with children in China.

More info: https://essexbookfestival.org.uk/event/place-weekend/



Jennifer Lucy Allan & Luke Turner ‘Leaves / Waves’, Essex Book Festival’s PLACE Weekend, Firstsite, Colchester

For the final River Stour Festival talk, Jennifer Allan explores the cultural history of the foghorn, while Luke Turner reads from Out of the Woods, his memoir exploring sexuality and the strange woodland of Epping Forest. This is followed by a reading from Leaves/Waves, a collaborative text that riffs on the sea, the land and the coast in between.

This event is part of Essex Book Festival’s PLACE weekend, taking place at Firstsite in Colchester on Saturday 23 & Sunday 24 March. More info: https://essexbookfestival.org.uk/event/jennifer-allan-luke-turner/

Tim Burrows ‘The Meaning of Essex’ talk at Essex Book Festival’s PLACE weekend, Firstsite, Colchester

In the second talk on Sunday 24 March as part of PLACE weekend at the Essex Book Festival, Tim Burrows unpicks the competing narratives about the county everyone thinks they know, from Sabine Baring-Gould’s distaste at the illiterate peasants of Mersea, to the days Margaret Thatcher lived in Manningtree. He asks just how real a historical figure the Essex stereotype is, why it matters, and what makes it endure. More info: https://essexbookfestival.org.uk/event/tim-burrows/