Sea Fever 4

1st and 2nd May, 2020






Sea Fever 4 Rescheduled for October

Press Release 19 March 2020


Although Sea Fever 4 will not take place as planned in May, we are very pleased to announce that it will go ahead in October. Almost all the speakers scheduled to appear in May have made themselves available in the autumn, and we expect something very similar to the exciting programme arranged for May 1 and May 2 to be celebrated on October 23 and 24. Indeed, Sea Fever 4  will be even better than originally envisaged.  


The public health issues posed by COVID 19 now go without saying. The festival organisers, working closely with Wells Maltings, have therefore postponed the event planned for May. Instead it will go ahead on Friday October 23 and Saturday October 24. 


The good news is that the speakers arranged to appear in May have been so supportive. Almost all have re-arranged their diaries so as to make themselves available in October. We will also use the additional time to augment the line-up. The theme – Time and Tide - will also remain unchanged; as will the issues we’ll be tackling. Politics, climate change, censorship  and artistic excellence. These are all matters that will survive when the coronavirus has abated – or indeed died the death that it so richly deserves. 


We will be working with the Maltings over the next three months to finalise the arrangements for the autumn. A revised programme will appear at the end of August, and tickets will then be on sale from the Maltings Box Office.

           Sea Fever 4:

         Time and Tide

Programme just published.

Press Release 19 February 2020


There’s no shying away from the issues of the day, and the latest iteration of North Norfolk’s festival of poetry and prose tackles them head on. Politics, climate change, censorship  and artistic integrity – and of course artistic excellence - are all on the bill for the May festival, announced today. With Jonty Driver, Peter York, Ursula Buchan and Kevin Crossley-Holland already lined up - and more to come - the fourth celebration of the festival’s going to be fireworks.  It’ll be held at Wells Maltings, Wells-next-the-Sea on Friday 1 May  and Saturday 2 May 2020.


Time and tide. Though it’s hard to say when this old proverb isn’t apposite, at present it seems so peculiarly so 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 and the irrefutable evidence of climate change; 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 of the commentariat – will preview The War Against the BBC. Their new book will be one of the most important – if not the most important - of the year.  

If politics and the way it’s reported is going to be high on the agenda this year, so too is the environment. We have two complementary perspectives. The broadcaster Professor Francis Pryor will be talking about his new book on the Fens; Holkham’s own Andy Bloomfield will give a personal perspective on the huge challenges facing our back yard, the North Norfolk coast. 

There’s much more too: Ursula Buchan on her grandfather John, Holkham’s librarian Mac Graham on the Hall’s extraordinary treasures, and Peter Willis celebrating 80 years since the publication of Artur Ransome’s Norfolk Broads masterpiece, The Big Six. 

Still, if you only have time for one event, make it Kevin Crossley-Holland in conversation. He’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. We really hope everyone enjoys it.’

Ars longa, vita brevis. 



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 on Friday 1 May and Saturday 2 May. 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: www.seafeverliteraryfestival.com . 

Tickets for the festival are on sale through Wells Maltings on 01328 710885

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

Online: www.wellsmaltings.org.uk

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



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