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Festivals Past

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Sea Fever 3

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

Sea Fever 2

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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