With just over a month to go until our launch event with Polly Toynbee at Anglia Ruskin University, the excitement is growing. We’re especially excited to welcome Booker Prize winning author Eleanor Catton to Chelmsford Library on 7th June, where she’ll be talking about her latest novel Birnam Wood, a gripping psychological thriller set on the South Island of New Zealand.

Closer to home, award-winning British author Madeleine Bunting will be taking us to the seaside on 14th June at Frinton Library with her latest book The Seaside: England’s Love Affair. We can’t think of a better place to discuss the enduring appeal of England’s coastal resorts than beautiful Frinton-on-Sea.

As for welcoming Suede bassist and author Mat Osman to Colchester Library on 21st June for a chat about his latest book The Ghost Theatre with festival favourite Syd Moore… we can’t wait!

Walking Boots at the Ready

Essex Book Festival has taken a distinctly perambulatory turn this year. Continuing our series of In My Steps: Radical Walks in Essex, we have two fascinating shorter walks led by authors Adrian May and Johanna Dale, and one marathon 7-day walk led by writer, artist and wild-crafter Lora Aziz in the mix.

Poet and folklorist Adrian May will be leading fellow walkers on a rummaging expedition around Colchester Car Boot followed by a writing workshop at Cuckoo Farm Studios where participants will learn how to turn their purchases into stories.

Meanwhile Johanna Dale has The Chapel of St Peter’s-On-The Wall firmly in her sites as she leads her fellow walkers along one of the most intriguing and atmospheric pathways on 17th June. Johanna’s walk forms part of a 2-day series of events hosted by the Othona Community at Bradwell on Sea which celebrate the launch of new book St Peter-On-The-Wall, Landscape and Heritage on the Essex Coast.

Image of book cover for St Peter on the Wall alongside a photo of St Peter-on-the-wall chapel

As for our Radical Pilgrimage, which follows on The Saffron Trail, a 70-mile walk from Southend to Saffron Walden, you can find out all about that, and how to join Lora on the separate sections of The Saffron Trail here.

Talking All Things Royal

As we head towards the Coronation of King Charles III, we’re keen to draw your attention to two events at this year’s festival that are taking place at Layer Marney Tower on 11th June, and that have distinctly royal flavours.

Photo of author Rosie Harte alongside image of The Royal Wardrobe book cover

If you’re wondering what to wear on the ‘big day’, you might like to take a leaf out of fashion historian and actor Rosie Harte’s book The Royal Wardrobe. It offers a fascinating insight into which Royals wore what, when and why, from the Tudors to the Victorians, right through to the 21st Century. Why did women wear such heavy and uncomfortable skirts in the Elizabethan era? Did Charles II’s infamous wig woven exist? How did Princess Diana’s ‘revenge dress’ become so iconic?

Next up, we have No 1 Sunday Times best-selling author of the Six Tudor Queens Series, Alison Weir who be talking about her latest book Henry VIII: The Heart & The Crown: a riveting poignant tale with an empathetic view of a man who is all too often portrayed as a caricature of his true self.