County of books

Lets Talk Magazine, Post on 26th February, 2013
Josephine Cox

Essex is the place to be this March if you love reading and authors.

Where can Dr Who, whistleblowers and pop star offspring be found side by side? Where can you meet politicians, poets and poultry keepers? The 2013 Essex Book Festival is the answer as audiences across the county get the chance to taste a diverse selection of new writers, experienced authors, experts and household names.

 Radio 4 regular Sandi Toksvig’s new book Valentine Grey is a moving tale of a young woman struggling against Victorian society’s rigid rules. Sandi can be seen at theUniversityofEssexon March 7.

 Television correspondent Gavin Esler’s ‘Lessons From The Top’ on March 16 shows how all leaders are masters at spinning stories and former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw will share his private memories of a public life on March 21.

 The month-long March festival also features musicians. Jemima Drury talks of her famous father Ian on March 18 and Pauline Black, lead singer with The Selecter, discusses her experiences as a British mixed-race woman.


Josephine Cox

Central to the festival though is fiction. Bell-selling author of more than 40 books Josephine Cox will speak about her latest work, The Broken Man, on March 19 while Rachel Joyce, whose The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was long-listed for the 2012 Man Booker Prize, will talk at Brentwood Library about her work.

 Cooks can take inspiration from Atul Kochhar’s demonstration of mouth-watering curries from his book Atul’s Curries of the World at Wivenhoe House Hotel on March 18 while there is also A Year of Recipes from an Urban Hen Keeper with Genevieve Taylor at Ingatestone Library on March 7.

 Truth is often stranger than fiction and true stories play a key role in the festival. Michael Woodford, former chief executive officer of Olympus, reveals the scandal of the accounting fraud at the company while Helen Renaux offers her eye-witness account of the horrors of partition in Pakistanand Mark Townsend tells the story of Essexsoldier Kenny Meighan and his adjustment to civilian life.

 The Essex Book Festival began in 1999 and is a month-long celebration of literature which takes place annually during March in libraries, theatres and other venues across the county. Full details at

Genevieve Taylor


Lets Talk Magazine (writer)

the lifestyle magazine for East Anglia with features about local people, local events, competitions plus a nostalgic look back at the way we lived, worked and played.

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