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After the Flood 



Sea Fever 5 is on the horizon 


NOTE ON 14/6/21: SEA FEVER 5 was planned on the assumption that the full relaxation of the COVID restrictions on 21 June, would NOT take place.  Therefore, there will be social distancing, masks and reduced seating capacity, as per the 17 May guidelines. 

Looking forward to seeing you!


          Leading authors set to star in June’s literary festival in Wells-next-the sea. 


To celebrate the emergence of the country from the pandemic, June is going to see the staging of Norfolk’s fifth festival of poetry and prose. With a series of book launches, a poetry competition, a photography exhibition and some highly topical debates, this promises to be a wonderful way to raise a glass to something like a return to normality. It’s being held at Wells Maltings, Wells-next-the-Sea, on Friday 25 June and Saturday 26 June. 

SEA FEVER, North Norfolk’s festival of poetry and prose, is the successor to the long-established Poetry-next-the-Sea.Established in 2018 and coinciding with the re-opening of the Maltings in Wells, it has already attracted poets, writers, artists and critics of the calibre of Matthew Hollis, Roger Law, Kevin Crossley-Holland, John Mullan, Peter York, C.J. Driver, DJ Taylor and Sir Andrew Motion. 

Postponed from late April, Sea Fever 5 is now set for late June to take advantage of the planned relaxation of the COVID regulations. It will be the cornerstone of the new season at a venue increasingly recognised as the leading arts and community centre in the area. It really starts on Saturday June 12 with the opening of an exhibition of film and photography by two local artists inspired by our breath-taking coast. This is titled Ebb and Flow.

The festival itself is a two-day affair on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 June. With three months to go the line-up is still to be finalised but is expected to include Professor Patrick Barwise on his ground-breaking book on the BBC, Norwich-based poet Laura Scott, historian and travel writer Justin Marozzi, Professor Bart van Es on his bestseller The Cut-Out Girl and spymaster Sir John Scarlett KCMG OBE. They’ll also be our regular schools’ poetry competition, several book launches and a special event about racism and colonialism seen through the lens of one of the very greatest of writers on the sea, Joseph Conrad. 

Ian Scott, newly appointed chair of the festival and a leading Wells’ personality, comments, ’This promises to be a wonderful line-up. The festival will be a real sign of things getting back to normal. I think people are going to flock through the Maltings’ doors.’ 

Tickets for the festival will be on sale in early June through Wells Maltings on 01328 710885

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




Sea Fever 3 - Nelson - Life & Times - will take place at the Maltings Wells-next-the-Sea on 18 October, and will feature:

  • Jack Aubrey v Horatio Hornblower

  • Chris Parry

  • Andrew Lambert

  • Ian Scott

  • Tributes to Tom Pocock

  • Poetry Recital Competition

  • Rime of the Ancient Mariner

More programme details available soon and tickets on sale from Wells Maltings later in September


27 JULY 2019

Sea Fever event in Burnham Overy Boathouse Thursday, 8 August at 630pm-7.30pm


Ring on Ransome. Sea Director and local award-winning author Jim Ring presents a talk for all the family on Author Ransome's classics. Swallows and Amazons or Coot Club? Pigeon Post or Peter Duck?  Help Jim rank these masterpieces. 

Entry from 6pm. Adults: £10, Children £5. Tickets on the door.



Press Release 26 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 


It is a huge privilege to be able to welcome back to the festival Sir Andrew Motion, who last came to Wells in the days when he was Poet Laureate. Other poets to give readings include Sally Festing, Elaine Stewart and Rebecca Watts, as well as Norfolk’s own Kevin Crossley-Holland, one of the founders of PNTS. We are thrilled that he will be launching at the festival his new collaboration with the photographer Andy Rafferty. This is Seahenge: A Journey. 


Equally exciting is the presence of long-standing Wells resident Roger Law, whose recent work as a ceramicist is every bit as dazzling as the Spitting Image puppets that made his name. 


“We hope that this festival will reflect the very special nature of this strip between the land and the sea,” says festival co-director David Waller. In this vein, Francis Pryor, celebrated author, Lincolnshire sheep-farmer and archaeologist will be reflecting on the special forces that created the East Anglian landscape. 


Julia Blackburn, whose new work Time Song: Searching for Doggerland is being so wonderfully reviewed, will talk about the long-vanished land beneath the North Sea. 


Our patron – the poet, biographer and publisher Matthew Hollis - has agreed to present both a musical collaboration with Richard Scott, and some of his new work on The Waste Land. 


Finally, we have persuaded the composer and film-maker Tony Britten to discuss Night Mail, the iconic film with music by Benjamin Britten and words by WH Auden – sadly long gone - both of whom attended Gresham’s in Holt. 


Jim Ring and David Waller, Festival Directors 


Tickets for the festival are on sale through Wells Maltings. 


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


By phone: 01328 839000 Online: 



SEA FEVER 2, North Norfolk's Festival of Poetry + Prose, will run from Friday 10th to Sunday 12th May 2019. All events will take place in the Wells Maltings: Wells Maltings, Staithe Street, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, NR23 1AN 

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

The programme itself also appears below.

SEA FEVER 2 – Programme: 10th-12th May 2019


Festival directors Jim Ring and David Waller are delighted to announce the programme for SEA FEVER 2. Click here for their welcome to this year’s festival, and the full line-up of events and booking details.


SEA FEVER 2, North Norfolk's Festival of Poetry + Prose, will run from Friday 10th to Sunday 12th  May 2019, in Wells Maltings, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, NR23 1AU.

Now for something a little bit different


Following the success of the first SEA FEVER festival in May 2018, we’re now delighted to announce 



It’s going to be held at the now completed Wells Maltings arts complex. It’s been extended to offer a full programme on the Friday and the Saturday, culminating on the Sunday morning. It’s going to offer a fascinatingly eclectic mixture of the spoken and written word, topped by music – not to mention a clutch of book launches.


Full details of the speakers and the programme will be announced at the end of January.

For the present, though, we just have to let slip three great names.  

Roger Law, the satiric genius behind Spitting Image, now a world-class ceramicist; local (national and international) hero Kevin Crossley-Holland, and….. the former poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion.

We can’t wait.


SEA FEVER 2, North Norfolk's Festival of Poetry + Prose, will run from Friday 10th to Sunday 12th  May 2019. All events will take place in the Wells Maltings unless otherwise stated: Wells Maltings, Staithe Street, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, NR23 1AU


SEA FEVER is the successor to the long-established festival, Poetry-next-the-Sea.


Details will be available shortly on our website:

Information about ticket sales will be made available in February.


For further details contact Kate Faire and Jim Ring

17 January 2019

SF teams with SF

Sea Fever co-director Jim Ring guests on the inaugural Slightly Foxed podcast. 



Joint festival director Jim Ring was delighted to be asked by Slightly Foxed to appear as a guest on the literary quarterly's very first podcast. 

Founded in 2004, Slightly Foxed has developed an enviable reputation for celebrating books that are not merely new, but that have really stood the test of time. Now enjoying a substantial circulation and attracting some of the best writers of the day, it's a literary phenomenon. 

Much loved by its readers, the podcasts feature the editorial team and special guests, throwing light on the thinking behind the issues and how the magazine is put together - not to mention the office dogs. 

Jim, who was the fifth person to subscribe to the magazine and is now a non executive director, joined the team round the office table in October to record the very first of the podcasts. 'The session was great fun,' says Jim, 'and I think that enjoyment is really reflected in the podcast. It's very, very well worth a listen.' 
Here's the link to the first podcast; and the Sea Fever site will also be carrying links to those that will follow. 


18 December 2018

Star-studded line-up announced for inaugural SEA FEVER Festival in Wells



The SEA FEVER Festival of Poetry + Prose is delighted to announce a glittering line-up for the inaugural festival, now just a month away. Highlights include:


  • Literary lion Kevin Crossley-Holland on why he’s a North Norfolk man

  • Local controversialist Godfrey Sayers on his startling scenarios for the coast’s future

  • Sam Llewellyn, one of Britain’s great storytellers, on Britain’s enduring relationship with the sea

  • The editors of the quarterly ‘Slightly Foxed’, one of the most heartening literary success stories of the decade, on the secret of their feat

  • Professor John Mullan, the world expert on Jane Austen, on the evergreen appeal of the novelist - 201 years old this year 

  • Norfolk literary power couple Rachel Hore and David Taylor on their home county.

  • Peter York, the brilliant social commentator behind the eighties’ phenomenon ‘The Sloane Ranger Handbook’, on the ways and wiles of Donald Trump.      


"SEA FEVER aims to include all forms of the written word to celebrate our exceptional coast-line, so we are thrilled with this line-up,’ says the festival co-director Jim Ring.  "We think we have succeeded in putting together a cocktail of poets and prose writers, and those with local and those with national reputations that will appeal to all tastes.” Adds SEA FEVER Co-Director David Waller, “We're particularly delighted that Kevin Crossley-Holland, who co-founded and chaired its forerunner and is a writer of international standing, has agreed to open the first of our festivals; equally that we have managed to tear Peter York away from the bright lights of the London media circuit which he commands.’ 

9 April 2018

Poetry Festival Announces New Directors



Jim Ring and David Waller are to take over from Fiona, Lady Fraser, as directors of the North Norfolk poetry festival, Poetry-next-the Sea.  


David and Jim both read English at Oxford and subsequently followed careers in communications. David worked initially as a journalist for the Financial Times, Jim as an advertising executive. Following a move into financial PR, David - in his role as head of communications for the Man Group - was responsible for all aspects of the company's sponsorship of the Man Booker prize, and sat on the prize's Advisory Committee. In 2009 he published The Magnificent Mrs Tennant, The Perfect Man followed in 2013, Iron Men last year. The Reputation Game, on reputation management, appears this autumn. His favourite poet is Yeats.  


Following a move into TV, Jim became a documentary producer, scripting films for ITV, SKY, the NHS, the UN and the OECD. He published Erskine Childers in 1996, How the English Made the Alps in 2000, We Come Unseen in 2001, Riviera in 2004 and Storming the Eagle’s Nest in 2013. His first novel will be published this summer, and he is now working on a history of the Royal Navy in WW1. Jim is an enthusiast for Hardy, Houseman and the poets of the Great War. He is also a director of the literary quarterly Slightly Foxed.        

David and his family divide their time between London and the Norfolk coast; Jim lives with his family in the Burnhams. 

David and Jim, who have both run their own companies, want to build on the twenty year heritage of Poetry next the Sea, while hoping to broaden its appeal into other forms of literature and – possibly - film. David comments, ‘Jim and I regard ourselves as particularly fortunate to be taking on the mantle of running this very special festival, something that has only been possible because of the huge support of the local community. We hope to make it everything it has been in the past and more.’      


Announcements about the programme, guests, venues and special events for 2018 will follow the 20th Festival, to be held as usual in early May.   


24 April 2017

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