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Sea Fever 4

1st and 2nd May, 2020





Sea Fever News...

Sea Fever 4

Sea Fever 4 is rapidly approaching and planning is hotting up.

Do put the dates in your diary - May 1st and 2nd

Speakers are being signed - spaces are being booked - programme is being constructed.

Come and enjoy listening to people like Ursula Buchan, Jonty Driver and Henry Sutton - 

Many others in the pipeline.

Watch this space ....

Nelson pulls it off

Friday October 18 proved a milestone for Sea Fever, our first venture into autumn proving a rip-roaring success. Hitherto staged just in May, we speculated that there might be an additional appetite for a fall festival, in this instance focusing on our local hero, Horatio Nelson. Thanks to our lively Wells Maltings audience, there was. 

We kicked off with The Rime of the Ancient Mariner - published in the year of Nelson’s victory on the Nile. We were particularly fortunate to have induced the actor Richard Heffer to read half a dozen extracts from Coleridge’s masterpiece; festival co-director David Waller chaired with the novelist Vicky Rangeley-Wilson and the poet Elizabeth Lewis Williams giving incisive analyses. They were followed by Admiral Chris Parry, the Falklands veteran looking at the middle of Nelson’s career before he reached high command. Over the lunch-hour we ran two events: the schools poetry recital competition and the talk on the Nelson memorabilia exhibited at the Maltings. Poet and novelist Kevin Crossley-Holland was his usual effervescent self, judging pupils’ performances alongside Richard Heffer; Martyn Downer was superb on the memorabilia. 

Professor Andrew Lambert – the doyen of naval historians - followed with a talk on Nelson which very effectively complemented Chris Parry’s. The Admiral was then on stage again to put the case for the Hornblower series in our debate slot. Philip Rhys Evans (who spoke on his Country Doctor’s Commonplace Book at our May event) was his foil, advocating Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series; David Hart QC skilfully chaired. The last event was the tribute to the late, great Tom Pocock, the man who revived post-war interest in Nelson. With contributions from Andrew Lambert, Kevin Crossley-Holland and – again – Chris Parry, this rounded off the day very well; Dan Worsley proved an inspired choice as chair, clearly not have forgotten the skills garnered from his distinguished years on the Bench. 

All in all, definitely a success to be repeated next autumn, and something to put a spring in our steps as we plan Sea Fever 4. To be held at the Wells Maltings on Friday May 1 and Saturday May 2, we hope this will show that in its new manifestation as Sea Fever, the festival really has come of age. 

Please put the dates in your diary; and please come!

Jim Ring and David Waller

Hot off the press -  feverish news

Horatio ahoy! Sea Fever 3 is here!

Leading naval historians star at next week’s festival in Wells. 

Press Release 11 October 2019


An extravaganza of anything and everything to do with the county’s greatest local hero is now just a week away. Sea Fever 3, the third celebration of Norfolk’s festival of poetry and prose, salutes the life of Horatio Nelson.

                     It’s at Wells Maltings, Wells-next-the-Sea next Friday, October 18. 

SEA FEVER, North Norfolk’s festival of poetry and prose, is the successor to the long-established Poetry-next-the-Sea.This May, Sea Fever 2 welcomed to the Maltings authors and poets including Julia Blackburn, Roger Law, Kevin Crossley-Holland and Sir Andrew Motion. 

Now – just next week - we’re opening a new chapter of the festival by using the proximity of Trafalgar Day (October 21) to celebrate the man dubbed by Byron, ‘Britannia’s God of War.’ Nelson was born and bred here on the coast, was raised to the Peerage and styled Baron Nelson of the Nile and Burnham Thorpe in the aftermath of his great 1798 Mediterranean victory, and declared ‘I am a Norfolk Man and Glory in being so.’ Norfolk’s Nelson County. 

Two distinguished naval historians are talking about different aspects of Nelson. Andrew Lambert is Laughton Professor of Naval History in the Department of War Studies, Kings College London, author of numerous works of naval history including: Nelson: Britannia’s God of War. He’s the doyen of naval historians. Rear-Admiral Dr Chris Parry is a decorated veteran of the Falklands War and several other operational and combat tours, has a Masters degree in Modern History from Oxford, a doctorate in the Psychology of Command, and is a fighting admiral who speaks his mind. 

We’re paying tribute to another local hero, the late, great Tom Pocock, the journalist, biographer and naval historian who revived interest in Nelson in the years after the Second World War; and we’re raising the curtain on a very special exhibition at the Maltings itself of Nelson memorabilia. Longstanding Wells resident Ian Scott and Nelson expert Martyn Downer compere. 

Nelson provided inspiration for the two great novelists of the Napoleonic Wars at sea: CS Forester (creator of Horatio Hornblower) and Patrick O’Brian, who wrote the rival Jack Aubrey/Stephen Maturin series. We’re staging debate as to which of these floats your boat. With David Hart QC in the chair, and two great advocates for each novelist – Philip Rhys Evans and Admiral Parry - fireworks are guaranteed. Who’ll prevail?

And we’re saluting our roots in Poetry next-the Sea with two special poetry events. A schools’ poetry recital competition to be judged by a panel led by Kevin Crossley-Holland (who needs no introduction here); and a special presentation of one of the best loved poems in the language - and one which just happens to have been published in the year of Nelson’s victory at the Nile. Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.  

Jim Ring and David Waller, Festival Directors

Tickets for the festival will be on sale through Wells Maltings: to Friends and Patrons on 01328 710885

In person: visitor information office, Wells Maltings, Staithe Street NR23 1AN



SEA FEVER 3, North Norfolk's Festival of Poetry + Prose, will be celebrated on Friday 18th October. All events will take place in the Wells Maltings: Wells Maltings, Staithe Street, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, NR23 1AU

Full details of the programme and the speakers are on our website: . 

For further details contact Claire Dowley and Jim Ring at

Sea Fever Event

Sea Fever 3 - Nelson Life & Times

18 October 2019

Tickets on sale from Wells Maltings from 17th September

Sea Fever 2 Literary Festival


Press Release 26th April 2019 

Literary festival set to welcome Sir Andrew Motion, Julia Blackburn, Roger Law and Kevin Crossley-Holland to Wells.


It’s now just a fortnight to go before SEA FEVER 2, the Norfolk coast’s ground-breaking literary festival. With Sir Andrew Motion, Julia Blackburn and Kevin Crossley-Holland all with new books to discuss, and with the satirist Roger Law once again in the news, tickets are selling fast. 

SEA FEVER, North Norfolk’s festival of poetry and prose, is the successor to the long-established Poetry-next-the-Sea. This year’s festival, to be held 10,11,12 May, will be staged in the main complex of the Maltings. It sees the return of the festival to where it was founded in 1997, albeit to a venue transformed into a state-of-art 21st century arts centre...


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