Sea Fever 4

October, 2020





What's On this year...

Press Release

8th September, 2020

Kevin Crossley-Holland, John Buchan and the BBC


Sea Fever 4, scheduled for May, will now be celebrated in October. Despite the obvious challenges continuing to be posed by COVID 19, the festival organisers and the venue are determined that something should be salvaged from 2020. The upshot is ‘Time and Tide’, a short season of events, all of which will be accessible without charge online and some of which will be open to invited audiences at Wells Maltings. Politics, climate change, censorship  and artistic integrity – and of course artistic excellence - are all on the bill. With Jonty Driver, Peter York, Ursula Buchan and Kevin Crossley-Holland as headliners, this come-back isn’t to be missed. 


Time and tide. Though it’s hard to say when this old proverb isn’t apposite, at present it seems so peculiarly fitting that we’ve taken it as our theme for Sea Fever 4. A new decade, the erosion of post-war certainties, the polarisation of political debate worldwide, the resurgence of nationalism, the irrefutable evidence of climate change; and of course above all COVID 19. These delights lay down a gauntlet to liberals everywhere. 

So we’re particularly pleased to be welcoming Jonty Driver: leading anti-apartheid activist first and leading poet second, or vice versa? An alumnus of the universities of Cape Town, Oxford and Norfolk’s very own UEA, a conversation with his former UEA colleague Professor Jon Cook will enable the festival to draw its own conclusions. Like his late compatriot Nelson Mandela, this man is a beacon in a naughty world. 

Of course the same used to be said of the BBC. With one of the greatest of British institutions now under threat from all sides, two media giants – Professor Paddy Barwise of the London Business School and Peter York, the doyen of the commentariat – will launch The War Against the BBC at the festival. Their new book will be one of the most important – if not the most important - of the year.  

There’s much more too: Ursula Buchan on her grandfather John, Briony Bax on her debut collection of poems, Peter Willis celebrating 80 years since the publication of Arthur Ransome’s Norfolk Broads masterpiece, The Big Six, and Wells’ own Robert Smith on the post-COVID challenges facing the coast. 

Still, if you only have time for one event, make it Kevin Crossley-Holland in conversation with the Maltings’ very own Sir Tim Lankester. Kevin’s an institution in his own right at the festival, an artist of extraordinary versatility and creativity, and one of the crowning glories of contemporary English literary literature. Who knows? He may even tell us how it’s all done. 

Festival co-director Jim Ring comments, ‘We’re delighted to have been able to put together what seems to David [Waller, fellow director], I and the festival team such an eclectic and wide-ranging programme. Despite being staged at such a difficult time, we really hope everyone enjoys it – on or offline.’ 

This short season kicks off on Friday October 9 and culminates two weeks later on Friday 23 October with the launch of The War Against the BBC. 

The full programme will appear shortly on our website: www.seafeverliteraryfestival.com . 



SEA FEVER, North Norfolk’s festival of poetry and prose, is the successor to the long-established Poetry-next-the-Sea.SEA FEVER 4 will be celebrated from 9 October to 23 October, with all events available free of charge online. Certain events will be staged at the Wells Maltings: Wells Maltings, Staithe Street, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, NR23 1AU. These will be by invitation so as to ensure social distancing. 

Sea Fever has been most generously supported since its inception by Hayes and Storr, the North Norfolk solicitors. The company has been particularly supportive over the past months, so difficult for everyone. 

For further details contact Claire Dowley and Jim Ring at info@seafeverliteraryfestival.com

Peter York and Kevin Crossley-Holland are both looking forward to bookending  the Festival

              Sea Fever 4

            Time and Tide

          October 9th - 23rd


Following the postponement of Sea Fever 4, scheduled for May, the festival is keeping the ball rolling by staging ten events around the time that Sea Fever 3 was celebrated last year, in October. As it still remains unclear how practicable it will be to stage live events this autumn, we are running a series of online events over a period of a fortnight between Friday October 9 and Friday October  or so. Those local speakers who are able to come to the festival venue – the Wells Maltings - will speak there in front of a small invited audience. Those based outside Norfolk will pre-record their talks. All the talks will be made available on the Sea Fever and Maltings websites. The season will be themed Time & Tide.

Photo by Steve Ullathorne


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