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Hundreds attend Frinton Literary Festival 2023

This year’s Frinton Literary Festival boasted seven events – with more than 500 tickets sold across the festival – between Wednesday 25th and Sunday 29th October.

Co-chairs of the Frinton Literary Festival Committee, Clive Brill and Gordon Wise, said: “Frinton Literary Festival turned 21 this year and it’s a joy to see it coming of age in such style. We’re so grateful to our authors, audiences and supporters and look forward to growing even more in the years to come.

“We’d like to thank our partners at The Book Service (TBS) in Frating, who kindly provided sponsorship and donated more than 40 books for Thursday’s family-focused event, and Adnams in Connaught Avenue who supported Crime & Wine with Mick Herron.”

This year’s festival launched with a brand-new Spoken Word night. It was arranged by committee member Nancy Stevenson and hosted at Walton & Frinton Yacht Club. Authors and poets took to the stage, with topics ranging from the perils of aging and holiday mishaps, to imagined tales of war and missing people.

Thursday 26th October saw author and illustrator of the Action Dude and King Flashypants series, Andy Riley, guiding KS2 readers in creating their own ‘heroes’ journey’ (as designed by committee member Anita Belli). In his accompanying presentation – complete with freestyle illustrations at the audience’s request – he talked about the great qualities that make any fictional action hero, including “walking away from something that’s blowing up and not turning around.”

In the evening, Mick Herron, bestselling author of the Slough House series – which has been adapted for television on Apple TV as Slow Horses – was interviewed by former local author Lesley Kara. During the Crime & Wine event, Mick remarked that he “doesn’t treat his characters very well” and that “the theme of failure is more interesting to write about than success…flawed people are more interesting.”

Gardener’s World regular and self-proclaimed ‘chicken boy’ Arthur Parkinson took to the stage on Friday night, complete with a Frinton first – an accompanying Bantam hen in the McGrigor Hall! Arthur shared the secrets of a good egg and a bad one, why he whistles to his incubating eggs, and how his career has blossomed since starting out as a gardener at the Emma Bridgewater factory.

The Philomena Dwyer Literary Lunch was held at Frinton-on-Sea Lawn Tennis Club on Saturday 28th October, with mischievous national treasure Miriam Margolyes regaling the audience with stories from her life and career. During the talk, she paid tribute to her late parents, with the afternoon ending on a room-wide singalong of ‘Daisy Daisy’ in memoriam of her mother. Miriam also performed excerpts from her show Dickens’ Women, before revealing that she considers her “role that got away” to be Masha in Chekov’s ‘Three Sisters’.

The final day of the festival, Sunday 29th October, was another chance for local writers to shine. Wivenhoe’s own Suzy K Quinn hosted the How to Write a Bestseller class, in which she shared the top five secrets that led to her to selling more than 1 million copies of her novels. During the class she encouraged attendees to think about audiences as well as being “true to [yourself] and [your] talent.”

Local authors were also celebrated later that afternoon at Frinton Golf Club, with Nadine Wiltshire being awarded the Frinton Literary Festival Robert Bucke Short Story Prize for her short story, ‘The Visitor’. The winner and both runners up – Anka Troitsky who penned ‘Secrets No More’ and Jonathan Palmer who wrote ‘Father of Three’, respectively – were also recognised by globally-celebrated author Adele Parks MBE, who then went on to host an Afternoon Tea. The prize was renamed this year in honour of late mayor and committee member, Robert Bucke.

During the afternoon, Adele was interviewed by her husband, Jim, about her writing inspirations, process and stories from her glittering career – which has seen her publish 23 books in the same number of years. She revealed that she “interviews” her characters before committing them to paper, with a document of 200 questions on standby. Adele also spoke passionately about her support for the National Literacy Trust, for which she is an ambassador.

Frinton Literary Festival has just celebrated its 21st year. Previous household names over the past two decades have brought the local reading community together, including Mark Billingham, Lynda la Plante, Paula Hawkins, Anthony Horowitz and Anne Glenconner.

The next Frinton Literary Festival will take place between Wednesday 23rd and Sunday 27th 2024.

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