‘Working together’ should be the theme for this year’s Felixstowe Book Festival, with new collaborations and venues arranged.

There is a full programme of authors at Harvest House (pictured above), both in the ballroom and the conservatory, and also at Two Sisters Arts Centre in Trimley St Mary.

Familiar faces such as the actor/author Stephen McGann (Dr Turner) with his book Call the Midwife, broadcaster Justin Webb, husband and wife thriller team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French, who write as Nicci French, and author/actress Carol Drinkwater are joining other speakers such as best-selling author Patrick Gale,festival patron Esther Freud, Tessa Hadley, Justin Webb and Nicola Upson at this popular annual Book Festival. 

“I am so pleased that Harvest House has welcomed us back to their beautiful and historic venue and that we can host events at Two Sisters Arts Centre, including our launch weekend 11/12 June, as well as our varied programme of speaker events,” said Festival Director Meg Reid. “For the first time, we will include two plays in the programme, as well as offering the possibility of boarding historic yachts at Suffolk Yacht Harbour in Levington to travel between events on the Harwich Ferry.”

One feature this year is the number of collaborations. Felixstowe Book Festival is teaming up with Essex Book Festival on Sunday 26 June to celebrate the publication of writer and environmentalist Jules Pretty’s latest book, Sea Sagas of the North: Travels and Tales of Warming Waters. The day begins at Felixstowe Museum, then sets sail via the Foot and Bicycle Ferry from Felixstowe to Harwich Quay, replete with Salty Tales from award-winning storyteller Glenys Newton, before concluding at The Redoubt Fort. Audiences can join in for part or all of the day. 

Other new collaborators this year include The University of Suffolk who, with the festival team, are running an Emerging Writers’ Day on Sunday 26 June at Two Sisters Arts Centre, with workshops and panels. The day also includes the prize giving for the festival short story competition.

Also at Trimley, Black and White Productions are presenting two of their plays, Daniel Defoe – The Lockdown Diariesand Mrs Simpson in Felixstowe

Another real treat is that actor and director Michael Pennington, an Honorary Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company and co-founder of the English Shakespeare Company, is coming to Two Sisters on June 12 to talk about his memoir, In My Own Footsteps. 

Actor and director Michael Pennington

On Wednesday 22 June at 7pm, My Pen is the Wing of a Bird is a special digital Felixstowe Festival event in partnership with Untold’s Write Afghanistan project, which will celebrate the publication of My Pen Is the Wing of a Bird: New Fiction by Afghan Women, the first anthology of short fiction in translation by Afghan women. This session is free but must be booked.

Felixstowe Book Festival takes place alongside the Festival of Suffolk, which has inspired a Suffolk and the Sea day. Lovers of the water and of books will come together to celebrate the glorious connection this part of the county has with the ocean. Arranged by Julia Jones, authors, artists and speakers will cover subjects such as history, geography, wild swimming and art. For the festival weekend, visitors to the yacht harbour at Levington will be able to see, and possibly board, four historic yachts.

Bookings are open for Felixstowe Book Festival, which runs on 25 and 26 June, and for extra pre-festival weekend events running from Friday 28 April.

For details of all events and booking information, please go to: https://felixstowebookfestival.co.uk