Essex Book Festival

PUBLISHED: 00:17 21 January 2012 | UPDATED: 18:59 20 February 2013

Peter Stothard
interviewed by Francis Wheen, retraces the journey taken by Spartacus and his army. 
Chelmsford Library, March 10

Peter Stothard interviewed by Francis Wheen, retraces the journey taken by Spartacus and his army. Chelmsford Library, March 10

Every year the list of literary stars coming to the county for the Essex Book Festival seems to get longer and 2011 is the same. Pat Parker previews some highlights <br/><br/>that are not to be missed

A host of celebrated authors, actors, journalists and comedians are taking part in the 12th Essex Book Festival, which runs throughout March, and as ever, there is something for everyone. Comedian David Baddiel will be discussing his fourth novel, The Death of Eli Gold, actor Tom Courtenay will be performing his own dramatised compilation of Philip Larkins letters and poems, and broadcaster Peter Sissons will be talking about his 45 years in television news, as well as voicing his opinions about the BBC and the media in general.
American crime writer Sara Paretsky, the blockbusting creator of VI Warshawski, will be making a rare visit to the UK and talking about her latest thriller, while two other American writers, Kim Edwards and Sarah Blake, are also taking part in this years festival.
Andrea Levy, author of Small Island, will discuss her latest novel, The Long Song, which deals with slavery in 19th century Jamaica, while best-selling novelist Lesley Pearse will be talking about her latest romantic saga, Belle.
Ever-popular mystery writer Lindsey Davis will discuss her latest novel, Nemesis, which once more features her ancient Roman detective, Falco. Other big-name authors appearing are Julian Stockwin and Aminatta Forna.
Top journalists taking part include TLS editor Peter Stothard, who grew up in Chelmsford and went on to become editor of The Times, talking about the journey taken by Spartacus and his army. Local journalist Simon Heffer, of the Telegraph, will make an impassioned plea for the use of correct English and economics commentator Will Hutton will argue the case for a fairer society, as made in his book, Them and Us. Award-winning journalist Elizabeth Day will also talk about her first novel, Scissors Paper Stone, which deals with fractured family relationships.
From the world of politics, novelist Michael Dobbs, the creator of House of Cards, will discuss his latest thriller, Old Enemies, while the author of Hideous Kinky, Esther Freud, will be talking about her latest novel, Lucky Break, which looks at the triumphs and disappointments of a group of young actors as they build their careers.
The festival will also be welcoming back popular local authors such as Barbara Erskine, who will discuss Times Legacy, her latest exploration of the supernatural, and Jojo Moyes, talking about her tale of passion, adultery and loss, The Last Letter From Your Lover. Other local writers include thriller writer Kimberley Chambers (Romfords answer to Martina Cole) and well-loved authors Patricia Burns and Bernadine Kennedy. Also from Essex is Matthew Plampin and newcomers Erin Kelly, Guy Saville and Ceri Norman, while numerous local writing groups are also taking part.
The festival is launched on March 3 at Chelmsford Library, with special guests including Joanna Trollope and Lindsey Davis, and will feature on the Dave Monk Show on BBC Essex.

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