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Books & Literature

Book Launch by Janet Gabriel



Living in Suffolk and particularly Felixstowe has helped me to see the beauty that surrounds us in this world. We often have the most beautiful skyscapes like pieces of abstract art over the rolling sea. Our town is small and friendly and the home of some wonderful souls. Most days I walk in the country side or by the shore with my dog, taking in the fresh air and feeling blessed to live here but more importantly to be alive.

The sense of community and care for the town has always touched my heart.

Being seriously ill myself gave me the kick to finish a project that I had been putting off for many years. Once I started to write I found it addictive and very cathartic.

I wanted to reach out to people and try to help others in the world by promoting a none judgmental way of thinking.  We are all unique and have so much to offer each other. Making a positive impact on a fellow human’s life with kindness and understanding can change lives.

There is so much more to the world we live in.  I encourage anyone to find their own unique gift and never put off what we can do today as for many people tomorrow never arrives.  

I encourage anyone that wants to write to simply pick up that pen and start, your story may just help someone else or at the very least will help you.

My book is based on real life events gained by a roller coaster of life’s rich tapestry, from cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, the loss of a child, adoption, relationships and a love of the outdoors and all of the wonders within nature. I believe that love really is the key to a better world.

Having worked very successfully in the corporate world for three decades, I felt the need to leave this life to concentrate on helping and inspiring others to get in touch with their inner souls.

I was Inspired myself by my belief in angels and the spirit world, I talk about life, kindness and caring, relationships, behaviour, compassion, forgiveness and developing your own gift.  I hope that my book reaches many people.  You do not need to have the same beliefs for this book to touch you or help in your own life in some way.

I share very personal experiences which can be taboo subjects and try to inspire profound questions.

Ian Tucker – Author of Your simple Path wrote this:

This book is a beautifully enlightening look at life and how to reconnect with your true self.

The author has had a profound effect on my journey and I know her first book will touch you in the same way.

 Her self-awareness and words of guidance are motivational in making us believe we can become better people and seeing how small changes can have such an impact on our lives and the lives of others. ‘Get in touch with your inner soul, the true you that is so wonderful, and help others to do the same.’

Find me on Facebook

This is my first book and I hope there will be many more, I filled with gratitude for the wonderful reviews that have been given so far.

The book is available from Amazon, Waterstones and hope for it to be stocked in the local book store in Felixstowe.

Books & Literature

Local Book Launch: Myth and Mischief in Allenby Park



This wonderful book offers three stories, three poems, a story for children, and the watercolour, Allenby Park by local artist Charles Nightingale on the cover.

Five authors, with links to Allenby Park, including award winning Lesley Glaister, fictionalise the mysteries and history of Felixstowe’s small park.

The foreword, by Dominique Roche, introduces Joan Rich, to whom the book is dedicated, and her links with the park. Written before the outbreak of Covid-19, no-one could have predicted that 101-year-old Joan, who worked for many years at Felixstowe General Hospital, would be a Suffolk hero by the time the book was launched. Joan is walking the paths of Allenby Park 102 times to raise money for the NHS.

Price is £5.99. Profits go to Suffolk Wildlife Trust

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Books & Literature

Book Review: The Constant Rabbit by Jasper Fforde



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. 



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Books & Literature

Felixstowe Online Book Festival a Resounding Success



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

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