Essex Book Festival 2019 line-up unveiled

Claire Coughlan
News - Festivals Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Authors and speakers include Sarah Perry, AL Kennedy, Melvyn Bragg, Sophie Hannah, Amer Anwar and Dean Atta

The Essex Book Festival 2019, this year celebrating its 20th birthday, will welcome 250 speakers to take part in 130 events in 45 venues across the county of Essex throughout March. The talks, workshops and panel discussions will take place in venues including local libraries, a Tudor palace, HMP Chelmsford prison library, a Napoleonic Fort and even a light ship.

Led by festival director Ros Green, the programme highlights include a panel discussion on a forthcoming Banned Books exhibition featuring Rachael Jolley, editor of Index on Censorship magazine, Trevor Phillips, chairman of Index on Censorship, and Dean Atta, poet and LGBT+ spokesperson; and a discussion with patron and author Sarah Perry (right), who will launch the festival, about her latest novel, Melmoth. Crime author Sophie Hannah will explore How To Hold a Grudge, while Dean Atta, who is a Polari-shortlisted poet for his debut anthology I Am Nobody's Nigger, is this year's writer and poet-in-residence.

Anglia Ruskin University will host a series of talks focusing on Science & Imagination aimed at young children, featuring Julia Golding, author of the Curious Science Quest YA series, graphic designer and author Carl Doherty, and Sue Nelson, former BBC science correspondent and author of Wally Funk's Race for Space: The Extraordinary Story of a Female Aviation Pioneer. For the third year running, there will be a series of writing workshops at HMP Chelmsford as part of the festival's continued outreach programme and focus on cultural rehabilitation projects.

Festival partners are Arts Council England, University of Essex, Essex County Council, Chelmsford City Council, Thurrock Council and Southend Borough Council.

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