Box Office date blog

We are so excited to be announcing this year’s festival programme on 5th April. Pick up a brochure from your local library or download the digital version via our website (available from 5th April).

The festival will be running from 1-30th June in 40 venues across Essex involving over 200 artists and writers.

We are launching the festival at the wonderful refurbished Electric Palace Cinema in Harwich on 1st June where we will be welcoming award-winning poet Blake Morrison and our favourite East Anglian Ceilidh band The Hosepipe Band to perform Shingle Street & Other East Anglian Poems.

Other highlights include Radio 4’s Today Programme presenter Justin Webb, who will be talking about his memoir The Gift of a Radio: My Childhood and Other Train Wrecks at Hylands House as part of our special one-day The Pleasure Garden event on 19th June.

Patrick Gale will be chatting at Chelmsford Library, likewise Maggie Gee at Brentwood Library. We have the Guardian columnist John Crace providing insights into the state of affairs at Westminster, while award-winning stand-up comic Rosie Wilby will be guiding us through her hilarious book The Break Up Monologues: The Unexpected Joy of Heartbreak in the excellent company of writer Syd Moore at Anglia Ruskin University. You don’t want to miss this.

In fact you don’t want to miss anything this June. You particularly don’t want to miss us launching into Space with the Essex Steamettes, a group of young female coders (9-19 years) based in South Essex who will be running free coding workshops at Hyland House, and the Midnight Robber, the giant skeleton puppet which will be let loose at our Criminally Good Day hosted at High House Production Park, Purfleet-on-Thames on 11th June. Fun is the order of the month.

Get ready to start booking your tickets on 5th April, and in the meantime see below for a few early events which you can already book…

Essex Writers House

Essex Writers House

Thanks to the blood, sweat and brilliance of our partner, Metal, Chalkwell Hall has once again metamorphosed into the Pop-Up-Writers House, this time for the whole month of April.

If you are a budding writer, or are simply seeking the inspiration and space to get started on that long overdue novel, the Essex Writers House is made for you.

To find out what’s on the menu go to

See you there!

In My Steps: Radical Walks in Essex

Emma Twine Bata Heritage Centre cropped

Another one with a bit of a ‘head start’ on the rest of the festival programme is our special series: In My Steps: Radical Walks in Essex.

We will be putting our best foot forward on 21st May with architect Emma Twine who will be taking walkers on a tour of the iconic Bata Estate, starting at East Tilbury Library and ending on Tilbury Marshes.

To be swiftly followed by a walk through Epping Forest on 28th May with poet Robert Hamberger. Robert will be retracing the steps of ‘Peasant Poet’ John Clare, an inmate at High Beach Asylum for several years before finally escaping and walking home to his family in Cambridgeshire.

Other Radical Walks include travel writer and walking aficionado Peter Aylmer who will be leading people on a tour of Harlow’s Sculpture Trail and more, followed by artist Elsa James who will teaming up with writer Syd Moore for a fascinating walk in the footsteps of the Witchfinder General and others.

We have limited spaces for these events so get in quick to avoid disappointment. Tickets are on sale now at

Stand Up For Diversity

Stand Up For Diversity shutterstock_1384812491

Date and time: Thursday 14th April, 7.00pm

Venue: Metal at Chalkwell Hall, Chalkwell Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, SS0 8NB

Tickets: Free, booking advised

All are invited to an evening of three-minute mini-talks, short soap-box shout-outs that put a spotlight on diversity, writing, words and storytelling.

Hosted in partnership by Essex Cultural Diversity Project and Essex Book Festival, for this event we have teamed up with Metal and their Essex Writers House.

The event will bring together people who want to champion and celebrate diversity in the arts and in our communities, share the work they do with others, and collectively celebrate strong diverse voices.

Free, food and refreshments provided.

Booking essential – let us know you’re coming by registering here at Eventbrite.

In partnership with EA Festival

Essex Book Festival x EA Festival

We’re proud to announce our continuing partnership with EA Festival this year. One of the highlights of Essex Book Festival is our co-produced event with Maggi Hambling and James Cahill on 12th June.

EA Festival is a multidisciplinary festival taking place over the weekend of 11/12 June at Hedingham Castle.
Their line-up includes Paul McKenna, Luke Wright, Bessie Turner, Hugh Johnson and many others.

Visit to see their full programme.