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Sea Fever 4

1st and 2nd May, 2020






           Sea Fever 4:

         Time and Tide

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: . 

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

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


For further details contact Claire Dowley and Jim Ring at

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 ....