Connecting People and Books along the Waveney & Blyth
The Two Rivers book festival aims to raise the profile of those who promote, protect, create and distribute books in our area and to remind us all of the uniqueness of books. Every year we have a variety of talks, workshops and walks hosted by guest speakers, bookshop owners, librarians and volunteers.
September’s Two Rivers Book Festival featured topics as diverse as hauntings and crime fiction, and as important as the climate crisis and the legacy of war. The third annual festival from Waveney & Blyth Arts appears in venues from Diss to Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth, with a day of events in Halesworth.
The week-long festival started on Saturday 4 September with an online panel of authors including Jessie Greengrass, whose new novel, The High House, features a family stranded on a flooded East Anglian coast. Still in the east, UEA creative writing professor Henry Sutton will talk about his other life as Harry Brett, the author of crime novels set in Great Yarmouth, while in Lowestoft a panel including ex-publisher and Booker prize judge Liz Calder and First Light festival organiser Genevieve Christie will talk about their shared history.
Back in the west, Wortham church near Diss will host a celebration of the life of blue stocking author Doreen Wallace. Her marriage to a local farmer brought her into the headlines in 1934 over the resistance to church tithes. Oswald Mosley’s fascists from London decided to support the farmers in their confrontation with the bailiffs. Authors of books about the so-called Tithe War will be joined by actors in a reading from the 2001 Eastern Angles play.
The Halesworth action kicks off in the evening on Friday 10 September and carries on till Saturday evening. It featured local authors on Auschwitz survival, second world war veterans’ stories and spy fiction. One highlight will be two presentations of a recently discovered cache of letters from the Victorian Lincolne family – with dramatised readings.
All this and more.
You can find bookshops and libraries in the area here
FINDING NATURAL WONDER
A Two Rivers podcast from Ruthie Collins
This first podcast from Waveney & Blyth Arts has been put together by Ruthie Collins. Ruthie is a local
writer and arts practitioner and talks here to five people with something to say about books and nature:
- Emily Winter River Waveney Trust
- Daisy Henwood Co-director, TOAST Poetry
- Nisreen Meddings Translator
- Joe Hedinger Founder, Page Against The Machine
- Nick Hayes Author, Book of Trespass
Ruthie’s poem, Dreaming of Albion, Sailing With Maud, commissioned by Norfolk County Council, is due to be installed in Great Yarmouth as part of a new wherry garden. She already has Yarmouth Sublime set in stone at the town’s train station. She is running nature-inspired outreach across Norfolk while writing a series of poems inspired by the landscape, nature and biodiversity. She has identified some be self-guided walks near the mouth of the Waveney, to go with the podcast.
You can download Finding Natural Wonder Walks and Inspiration Prompts
Living on the Edge
An online panel of three novelists talk about their books, all of which have responded to issues around the climate crisis and other apocalyptic possibilities, with an emphasis on our coastal waters.
Niall Bourke Line portrays refugees queing for generations in an arid land in a Britain wrecked by data capitalists about an old man and a boy apparently marooned on derelict North Sea wind
Jessie Greengrass The High House uses fiction to confront the climate threat: an East Anglian family take refuge from devastating floods
Ben Smith Doggerland is a gripping dystopian novel
The panel was chaired by Claire Armitstead – Guardian associate editor, culture. Claire is a regular participant in festivals worldwide, and a judge of literary competitions.
Alongside this, WBA’s website features these books and other works, mainly in the category sometimes referred to as climate fiction (cli-fi).
YouTube – Living on the Edge