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Books & Literature

Felixstowe Online Book Festival a Resounding Success

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George Alagiah

From temporary studios of laptop computers, microphones and lights, set up in the home of authors and interviewers, the Felixstowe Book Festival’s venture into the online world was a tremendous success. 

Meg Reid, the Festival director said,

“What a wonderful weekend! A feast of diverse and varied talks watched by people from all over the world. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to taking Felixstowe Book Festival online and to everyone who has sent such lovely appreciative messages. On our Facebook page we can see that over 8,000 people watched some or all of the online Festival and that figure is still rising as all of the videos are still on Facebook, and the Festival webpage, to watch or watch again.”

Felixstowe Book Festival  had people tuning in from Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Jacksonville Florida, California, Australia, Cape Town South Africa, Ontario Canada, Shanghai, Omagh Northern Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Paris, North Yorkshire, Devon, Basingstoke, Nottingham, Berkhamstead, South Godstone Surrey, London and (closer to home)….Norfolk, Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Hadleigh and… Felixstowe. 

The Festival went live through entertaining interviews with Paul French, Liz Trenow, Nick Cottam, Carol Drinkwater, George Alagiah and Harriet Tyce. A fascinating evening was spent with Brontë expert Nick Holland on Friday evening and Martin Bell mused on his life and career on Saturday evening. The weekend was peppered with video insights into the days in the lockdown lives of some favourite authors. The younger festival fans enjoyed story readings and drawalongs to keep them busy. 

“All in all, our packed programme provided some much-needed literary sustenance to everyone during one of the strangest and most stressful year of our lives. Next year’s festival will be held on the last weekend in June and we hope to be back at our home at The Orwell Hotel, Felixstowe.”

The festival organisers raised over £1000 from donations via JustGiving and the festival was also supported by local sponsors.

A huge thanks to all participants!

Images provided by Felixstowe Book Festival

Rachel Sloane and Carol Drinkwater

Books & Literature

Book Review: The Constant Rabbit by Jasper Fforde

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A book review by lovely local, Janine, a.k.a. The Felixstowe Book Dragon.

I’m a big fan of authors like Terry Pratchet, Robert Rankin, Jasper Fforde, and Tom Holt. Books written within the realms of the ridiculous, that make me smile, definitely get my vote. So when a new book by Jasper fforde comes out, about a society of anthropomorphised rabbits, I’m definitely on board.

The premise is really interesting. Decades ago an unexplained event led to a bunch of rabbits morphing into humanoid form. They’re still rabbits in essence, but just the size of humans and with the ability of human speech. Well these rabbits bred like the proverbial rabbit, and cut to present day where there are millions of anthropomorphised rabbits living in Britain. Still being the ‘sub-species’ though they live and work in a lesser capacity than most humans. 

This book is a very intricately woven story about the prejudices that the rabbits face, their efforts to overcome it, and their ultimate acceptance that things are never going to change. Interspersed with the usual Fforde humour, where Humans are often referred to as ‘Fudds’ (a reference to Elmer Fudd), and a detailed description of the ‘Beatrix potter’ clothing range. There are also some harsh ‘close to the bone’ observations. Our protagonist works for a certain government department as a ‘spotter’, his job is to go through the database and identify certain rabbits. It’s a special skill, as to most humans, ‘All rabbits look the same’. ​At a time when the subject of racism is very much in the forefront of everyones minds and in the news every day, this is an interesting book. He’s not making light of the subject of racism, far from it. His jibes are more at the state of the UK and it’s various political and ethical issues. For example, in the book there is a group called ‘TwoLegsGood’ a supremacist factor. This group, on finding out that a certain rabbit has committed an act that THEY consider a crime, drag him from his house in the middle of the night and ‘jug’ him! This involves upending him in a forty-gallon drum of cheap gravy that had been seasoned with bay leaves, celery, thyme, juniper berries and red wine (I see you smiling there!)  It is later discovered to be a case of mistaken identity with TwoLegsGood showing no remorse, under the presumption he’s a rabbit and is bound to be guilty of something. 

Funny right?

Now take out the fact the victim is a rabbit and the drum is filled with cheap seasoned gravy, and it’s not so funny anymore, it’s actually a serious and reprehensible crime. 

That is the beauty of satire and the genius of this book. 

A well thought out piece of satiric writing tackling the ‘hot potato’ subject of race. A light-hearted read with a serious message. 

Regards,

Janine

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Books & Literature

Felixstowe Online Book Festival

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Exciting news! Felixstowe Book Festival has started! Across this weekend they will be hosting a series of live-streamed author Q&As and interviews online, plus talks and videos and more!

All live events across the weekend will be streamed on their Facebook page. To watch simply click HERE.

You can view the full programme of events HERE.

If you would like to help us out this year with a donation, take a look at our fundraising page HERE

Enjoy you weekend folks!

A day in the life of a writer in lockdown… Sam Ruddock

VIDEO PREMIERESaturday 27th June, 1:30pmA day in the life of a writer in lockdown…Sam RuddockFelixstowe Book Festival 2020… OnlineHave you ever wondered what it is like to be a writer? Here at the Felixstowe Book Festival we may be able to provide some answers for your musings…Over the course of our festival weekend, we will show a series of videos where various festival guests will let us take a peep into the places where they write, entreat us to what has inspired their latest books and give us an insight into how Lockdown has affected their lives and their work.

Gepostet von Felixstowe Book Festival am Samstag, 27. Juni 2020
VIDEO PREMIERE | A day in the life of a writer in lockdown…Sam Ruddock
Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a writer? Here at the Felixstowe Book Festival we may be able to provide some answers for your musings…

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Books & Literature

The Felixstowe Book Dragon

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My name’s Janine Smith, and I’m also known as the Felixstowe Book dragon.

I’ve been a bibliophile since I was young, with a huge collection of books. A couple of years ago I set up a little free library in my front garden, this is essentially a box for you to leave books in so anybody passing by can help themselves. I loved the joy I got out of having somewhere to leave my books so others can appreciate them, so I then started leaving books randomly around Felixstowe with a little note, for others to find.

Last year at Easter I filled a large ‘Dragons Egg’ with a child’s book and some other goodies inside and left them around. I loved doing that, and it’s a shame I couldn’t do that again this year. Since the pandemic arrived, for obvious reasons, I haven’t been leaving books around. What I have been doing during lockdown though, whilst the library and bookshops have been closed, is running a book lending service for people self isolating. Once a week I drop off a selection of books for them to read (observing social distancing rules), they can either keep them, return them after they have read them, or pass them on to someone else to read. It’s been quite fun and I’ve met some lovely people. I’ve also set up what I call ‘Wild Libraries’ these are little sheltered areas around Felixstowe where I leave a selection of books for people to take. 

Now that lockdown rules are easing up I’m hoping to start up by book drops again soon, maybe with a free antibacterial wipe included for peace of mind.

Does any of this help? Please feel free to get in touch if there’s anything else you wish to know.I’ve also attached some pictures of my library, the wild libraries, my book drops and some of my lockdown deliveries just so you can have an idea of what they are.

Regards,

Janine

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