With the current pandemic, many great events have moved from face-to-face to online. Marina Cusí presents for Rebel the first online edition of the Essex Book Festival, which will include a talk from University of Essex alumni, Irvine Welsh.
At the heart of the LIFTS department, every year for 7 years, a festival gets brewed. A bold, daring and innovative festival that has shaped our Colchester Campus as much as the campus has influenced the festival.
The Essex Book Festival is an independent charity based at the University of Essex in Colchester. Its aim is to celebrate the book and storytelling in all its forms, to push the boundaries creatively, and to help build new bridges between communities whilst celebrating sustainability and actively campaigning against climate change.
Run by University of Essex alumni, Ros Green, the EBF has been engaging students not only to participate, but to build, innovate and run the latest editions of the festival.
In the past, students have shaped the Essex Green Manifesto, organised an ‘Escaping Climate Change’ event on The Hex, and even premiered artistic pieces such as the play ‘A Heave, And We Pushed Through’ (by Sabrina Binte Dzulkifli) in past editions of the festival.
This year, they welcome students Maja Antoine-Onikoyi and Marina Cusí to join their team on an effort to bring arts, sustainability and literature to all those eco-focused book lovers who may be wondering how to best spend their time during this quarantine.
Maja, who is currently an advisor to the board at the EBF, is also the mastermind behind ‘Maja’s Education Project’, a project that believes that the education of black history, racial injustices and the oppression of black people is not only important, but vital. ‘Maja’s Education Project’ acts as a platform for black voices to be heard through poems, articles, thought pieces, reviews of black businesses, films, music and of course, books that talk about Black lives, whether they are about celebration, support, protection, oppression, art or history of them.
Maja assures that the future and safety of Black lives resides in the education of the present, and that ‘we have made it our duty to ensure everybody has access to resources that can take us the necessary steps forward.’
You can find her website here
Meanwhile, Marina is organising an international writing competition for young writers aged 18-28, that gives them the opportunity for being read by a jury formed by some of the most relevant individuals on the current landscape of the British literature. The winners will receive amazing prizes, such as mentoring opportunities by renowned professionals and 1-2-1 sessions with literary agents and/or publishers.
Keep tuned to the EBF Instagram and Facebook accounts to learn more about the guidelines to the writing competition and to be notified about its open call for submissions, which they will be launching shortly, over the next few months!
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The Essex Book Festival has already lined-up a series of exciting and thought-provoking events, such as the presentation of the three-novella collection ‘The Seal Club‘, by John King (Football Factory), Alan Warner (Morven Callar), and internationally renowned author and University of Essex alumni Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting), scheduled on the 11th of November at 7pm.
The festival is committed to make its events accessible to its public in these challenging times, for what the tickets to their events are sold on a ‘pay what you can basis’.
Tickets for this event can be found here
This year has been challenging for all of us, whether we are staff or students, STEM or LIFTS. The arts sector has been undoubtedly affected, as events have been cancelled or postponed until we can ensure everyone’s safety. This is why the Essex Book Festival is committed to bring to you its best edition to date on an online format! If you want to join them on this first-time-filled adventure, with interactive Zoom events and book presentations, make sure you check out their website at Essex Book Festival.
If you are in the position of being able to help out, please consider donating to their Crowdfunder campaign and get extraordinary prizes as their grateful gift, such as the opportunity of having a ‘Zoom Coffee’ with an author discussing their latest works – mug is on them – , signed books, and even the opportunity for a 1-2-1 session with a publisher, who will help you learn how to get published!
To donate, go to their Crowdfunding page.
Help the Essex Book Festival come back with a Bang! Help them make Essex Book Festival bigger & better in 2021. More books. More stories. More walks, talks & big conversations.
Don’t let this handful of opportunities slip through your fingers; make this festival yours, and be a part of the EBF yourself.