# Top topics

culture outdoors green spaces
What's On

Essex Book Festival launches in Chelmsford this June

The Essex Book Festival will be returning in June this year with over 100 events planned across the month.

Chelmsford City Council is a partner of Essex Book Festival as part of its commitment to culture in Chelmsford. A gripping series of events is planned to take place in the city as part of the festival this year.

The festival launches in the city on Friday 2 June with Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee at Anglia Ruskin University. Polly will be discussing her latest book An Uneasy Inheritance: My Family and Other Radicals, in a frank conversation about class in Britain.

Anglia Ruskin University will also be welcoming BBC Radio Four presenter Robin Ince on Thursday 15 June. Robin will be talking about Bibliomaniac and his quest to discover just why he can never have enough books.

There are plenty more events coming to Chelmsford, covering nature, thrillers, memoirs, and even a human library. Read on to find out what you can enjoy across the district.

Connect with your favourite thriller writers

Chelmsford will be welcoming two award-winning thriller writers in June. Eleanor Catton, Booker Prize winning author of the bestselling The Luminaries, visits Chelmsford Library on Wednesday 7 June to discuss her latest novel, Birnam Wood. The psychological thriller offers an unflinching examination of the human impulse to ensure our own survival.

On Tuesday 20 June, award-winning author of over a dozen novels, William Hussey, comes to Waterstones in the high street. From 12–12.45pm Hussey will be signing copies of his gothic thriller, Killing Jericho, featuring crime fiction’s first-ever traveller detective, Scott Jericho.


Enjoy a packed day of author events at Hylands House

The Pleasure Gardens returns to the Essex Book Festival this year, with several author events taking place in the sumptuous Hylands House on Sunday 18 June.

At 11am, James Canton holds a discussion on his new book, Grounded,and our connection with the natural world.


From 1pm, Sandra Lawrence shares her fascinating memoir, Miss Wilmott’s Ghosts. The book traces the remarkable life of eccentric, green-fingered heiress, Ellen Ann Wilmott, who founded Brentwood’s famous Warley Gardens and famously booby-trapped her prize plants.

Henry Dimbleby, founder of Leon and author of Ravenous: How to get ourselves and our planet into shape then joins us from 3pm. Dimbleby, who is also government advisor and author of the National Food Strategy, explains how the way we eat is drastically impacting our health and our ecosystems and what we can do about it.

Join a 7-day 70-mile ‘Radical Pilgrimage’ with Lora Aziz

If you’re keen to explore Essex’s great outdoors, why not join Lora Aziz’s ‘Radical Pilgrimage: The Saffron Trail’? Part of the series of ‘In My Steps: Radical Walks in Essex’, the ‘Radical Pilgrimage’ sees artist, writer and wild-crafter, Lora, lead a 7-day 70-mile trail, starting at Southend Pier, passing through Chelmsford, and ending at Saffron Walden.

You can join one (or all) of Lora’s walks between 15-21 June by contacting hello@essexbookfestival.org.uk.

Along the route, Lora will be running a series of creative, contemplative, and ecologically focused workshops.

17-year-old climate activist and WWF Youth Ambassador, Hattie Phillips, will also be leading a workshop as part of the pilgrimage. Myself, Others and The Land at Marconi Ponds Nature Reserve on Sunday 18 June will connect young participants between 15 and 22 with the natural world. The session is free for ages 15-22. Advance booking is essential.

Myself Others And The Land

Build your skills at an Essex Writers Day

On Saturday 24 June you can hone your writing skills and story ideas through workshops at Chelmsford Library. Sessions will cover all aspects of a writer’s journey, from creating characters and dialogue to publishing a book.

Experienced authors running the sessions include Essex Libraries Author in Residence, Syd Moore, and crime and mystery novelist, Paul Gitsham. The workshops are £6 each and booking is highly recommended.

Read others at The Human Library

The Essex Book Festival concludes on Saturday 1 July with The Human Library unJudge Someone at Chelmsford Library. In partnership with Essex Cultural Diversity Project and Essex Libraries, The Human Library offers an opportunity to connect with others and celebrate positive differences in our communities.

Just like a real library, you can browse and read from a range of titles except…the books are people and reading is a conversation with someone new. Books in The Human Library come from all walks of life, and each has a different story to tell. All are welcome to come along to this free event and connect with people you wouldn’t otherwise meet.

Human Library

Book your tickets to Essex Book Festival events now

The Essex Book Festival runs until 1 July. Booking tickets early is recommended to avoid disappointment. To find out more about events planned across the county, visit the Essex Book Festival website.

facebook twitter mail linkedin
Cherelle Nightingill
Cherelle Nightingill

Cherelle writes about Chelmsford Theatre, Hylands Estate, Chelmsford Museum, the Mayor of Chelmsford and culture and events in the city.