by Essex Book Festival in Colchester, England, United Kingdom


Total raised £1,902

raised so far

+ est. £134.75 Gift Aid



BACK WITH A BANG! Help us make Essex Book Festival bigger & better in 2021. More books. More stories. More walks, talks & big conversations.

by Essex Book Festival in Colchester, England, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 13th December 2020 we'd raised £1,837 with 69 supporters in 42 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

Essex Book Festival is an independent charity based at the University of Essex in Colchester. Our aim is to celebrate the book and storytelling in all its forms, to push the boundaries creatively, and to help build new bridges between communities. Finally, to get as many people as possible involved in all of our activities. 

We love books. Of course we do. But we also love theatre, visual art, spoken word, politics, science, film, and getting our teeth into some difficult conversations. 

We also like popping up - or down - in new spaces. Our events take place in 40+ venues in Essex. What we lack in white marquees, we make up for in inventiveness.

This year we popped up in Riverside Leisure Centre Swimming Pool (Chelmsford) for an immersive performance of JG Ballard's 'The Drowned World' conceived + performed by Brighton-based company Wet Sounds in collaboration with Essex sound artists Frazier Merrick, Chris Adam + Andrew Wright.  Yes, everyone got very wet. No, no books were harmed in the process.  

Two years ago we went underground into Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker for 'The Nuclear Option'.  Pictures speak louder than words on this occasion ...

We are also passionate about celebrating Essex's diversity. Something that we do in collaboration with Essex Cultural Diversity Project  via our countywide #StandUpForDiversity events. 

This year we invited 350 artists + writers to take part in Essex Book Festival in 46 venues across Essex. Unfortunately many of them didn't make it to Essex due to Covid-19.  To say that we were disappointed doesn't begin to express how we felt on 17 March when we cancelled the rest of the festival 11 days early. 

However, we consider ourselves the lucky ones. Thanks to exceptional support from friends and partners, the show is still on the road for 2021. The size of the show hangs in the balance and will depend on support from our funders and kind donations from others. 


We have all sorts of plans for next year's Essex Book Festival which will be taking place June - August for 2021. We can't tell you everything - we need to hold some things back for the New Year - but we can tell you that we have two Essex Book Camps in the pipeline encouraging everyone to get fit with books, storytelling, author events, performances, writing + craft workshops and more in The Great Essex Outdoors. The Natural World is a key theme next year, following on from the launch of our 2020 Young Essex #ManifestoForEssex Climate Change project.  

You might also like to help us #RewriteTheArchive by supporting our artist-led creative writing workshops: a new collaboration with Colchester Museums + Essex Museums to make the county's heritage collections more relevant to everyone. UK-based Indian writer/mythographer Seema Anand has her eyes on the dolls' houses in Hollytrees Museum in Colchester. While best-selling British author and founding member of Essex Girls Liberation Front Syd Moore will be delving into all things Witches & Essex Girls in Harlow Museum. We can't wait to see what comes of that. 

With over twenty author events planned in twenty libraries across Essex extending from James Canton, author of 'The Oak Papers,' next year's #TheEssexRead, featured on Radio 4's Book of the Week; our Criminally Good Crime Writing Day in Chelmsford; six artist-led #InMySteps:RadicalWalksInEssex; our creative writing workshops/author events in HMP Chelmsford; the inaugural Young Essex #ManifestoForEssex Climate Change Summit at Anglia Ruskin University; plus our very first digital twinning with Melbourne-based Emerging Writers Festival, you can see why we need your help to make it happen.

Then there's the Essex Writers House, which is hosted + programmed by Metal at Chalkwell Hall in Southend. Hot desks, open mic performances, panel discussions, writing residencies, authors, writing workshops, plus Weekend Writers Cafe, Essex Writers House is 'Heaven on The Estuary' for writers at all stages of their career.


How will we spend your money? It's simple. We will spend your money on writer and artist fees, travel expenses and accommodation. Without them we are nothing. And let's face it, 2020 has not been kind to writers and artists. 

Any additional money will go towards our production costs. That is, venue hire, sound and audio equipment, transportation and promotion. The more money we raise, the more money and time we will be able to invest in our events, spreading the word, and developing our audiences.

Over to you!

A huge thanks from the Festival Team in advance

Ros, Claire & Marina 


Sarah Perry, Essex Book Festival Patron + award-winning writer (After the Flood, The Essex Serpent, Melmoth, Essex Girls: For Profane & Opinionated Women Everyone).

“I love Essex Book Festival for its determination to take literature and storytelling from all over the world out into the local community. It's a real gem and plays such an important role in the cultural life of Essex.” 


     Sarah Perry and Ros Green (Festival Director), Essex Book Festival Launch 2019                                                



This project offered rewards

£15 or more

Mystery Book

Everybody likes to receive a book in the post. It's even better when you haven't a clue what you will be getting. We have been donated a fabulous assortment of books from crime to historical fiction, memoir to politics. You will also be thanked in our brochure. Take the plunge. Special thanks to Red Lion Books and Wivenhoe Books.

£10 or more

Limited edition #ManifestoForEssex Zine

Become the proud owner of one of our wonderful #ManifestoForEssex zines created by Essex artist Lu Williams + young people living in Essex. You will also be thanked in our brochure. #ManifestoForEssex is a multi-form creative platform for young people to express their thoughts about tackling Climate Change. The zine asks important questions, harnesses Essex's rebellious spirit, + captures the energy of our young people. A great Xmas present!

£10 or more

#ManifestoForEssex Go Green Writing Pack

We are delighted to offer: 1 x There Is No Planet B Postcard designed by one of our young #ManifestoFor Essex Makers at Colchester Makerspace; 1 x Essex Book Festival Recycled Pad & Pen; A sheet of 60 You Have The Power To Make Change stickers. You will also be thanked in our brochure. It's a great Xmas present - or two!

£10 or more

No Planet B Tote Bag

There's always room for another tote bag in everybody's lives. Our No Planet B Tote Bag is extra special because it uses a design created by one of our friends at Colchester Makerspace as part of our #ManifestoForEssex activities. Get in quick for this one. You will also be thanked in our brochure. Great Xmas present - or two!!

£20 or more

Colchester Makespace Young Essex Printing Workshop

Learn the basic principles of screen printing with Colchester Makerspace using old school, hand-cut paper stencils and come away with a poster you’ve designed and printed yourself. Value £20 (£15 Child's + £5 for accompanying adult) Date of sessions tbc

£25 or more

A Zooming Wonderful Coffee Morning with Liz Trenow

Best-selling Essex author Liz Trenow has offered to host an online Zooming Wonderful Coffee Morning for twenty. She will be chatting about all things SILK: something that Liz knows more than a thing or two about. All participants will be sent a complimentary coffee mug beforehand. You will also be thanked in our brochure. A gift voucher is available and will be sent in time for Christmas.

£25 or more

A Zooming Wonderful Coffee Morning with Syd Moore

Best-selling Essex author Syd Moore has offered to host a Zooming Wonderful Coffee Morning online for twenty, where she will be chatting about all things WITCHES and ESSEX GIRLS: something that Syd knows more than a thing or two about. All participants will be send a complimentary coffee mug beforehand. You will also be thanked in our brochure. A gift voucher is available and will be sent in time for Christmas.

£25 or more

Zooming Wonderful Coffee Morning With James Canton

Essex author/academic Dr James Canton will host an online Zooming Wonderful Coffee Morning for twenty, where he will be chatting about all things TREES: something that he knows plenty about following the publication of 'The Oak Papers' (Radio 4's Book of the Week). All participants will be sent a complimentary coffee mug beforehand. You will also be thanked in our brochure.

£100 or more

How To Get Get Published 1:2:1 SESSION

Essex Book Festival Trustee & Literary Agent Camilla Shestopal ( has kindly offered to run 1-hour 1:2:1 sessions for those looking to get published. A rare opportunity for any aspiring writer on the search for an agent/publisher. You will also be thanked in our brochure.

£100 or more

Essex Book Festival 2021 Special Pass

Our special Essex Book Festival pass will get you into 10 events for free, plus 1 workshop. We will contact you as soon as tickets go on sale to ensure that you don't miss out. You will also be thanked in our brochure.

£10 or more

Copy of Sarah Perry's latest book 'Essex Girls'

For all of those 'Profane and Opinionated Women Everywhere', we are delighted to offer 4 copies hot off the press of Festival Patron Sarah Perry's 1st non-fiction work 'Essex Girls'. This is the perfect Christmas present.

£15 or more

Signed copy of AL Kennedy's 'Serious Sweet '

We are delighted to offer you the chance to purchase a signed copy of Essex Book Festival Patron A L Kennedy's novel 'Serious Sweet', which was long-listed for 2016 Man Booker Prize. You will also be thanked in our brochure.

£50 or more

Signed Copy of Grayson Perry by Jacky Klein

A wonderful opportunity to nab yourself a copy of the spectacular updated and expanded 'Grayson Perry' by Art Historian Jackie Klein, and signed by Chelmsford-born Grayson himself. You will also be thanked in our brochure. Plus it's a fabulous Xmas present !!

£55 or more

2 x Maggi Hambling signed books

Festival friend and international artist Maggi Hambling has donated two of her beautiful books (both signed): 'The Sea', and 'War Requiem & Aftermath'. We can't think of better Christmas presents for art lovers everywhere.

Show your support

Payment and personal details are protected