Celebrating 10 Years of Books by Ally Aldridge

The Countdown to my favourite event in Felixstowe has begun. I feel so fortunate to have this incredible event in my hometown. That event is of course the fabulous Felixstowe Book Festival.
Felixstowe Book Festival began in 2013 and this year will be its tenth anniversary. Over the years there have been a range of events and activities for adults and children, held all over town.
I have attended author talks at The Orwell Hotel. Often after an author talk there is an opportunity to speak to the author and buy a signed copy of their book. I’ve also attended a book reading in The Bakery and listened to a YA Author panel at the library that included some light nibbles for lunch.
They’ve also hosted talks for those interested in the business side of publishing. Local publisher, Imagine That, gave insight into the many steps of creating a picture book. At Felixstowe Ferry Club, Literary Agent Phoebe Morgan shared what makes publishers say yes and why it takes so long to publish a book.
Local writers groups, Scribblers and Orwell Writers League, have held workshops for writers. Last year it was held at Harvest House with its stunning architecture and beautiful gardens. It’s always inspirational to attend somewhere so magnificent and have time to be creative.
One of the most impressive workshops (for me) was by author Richard O’Neill called “Containment”. It was held in a Container by the leisure centre. We were given a notebook and pen and were encouraged to think about what was stopping us from achieving our goals. At the end, we realised many of the barriers we perceived were actually created by ourselves. It was liberating and empowering.
There have been some great workshops for kids. For example, Arty Mouse (published by Imagine That), attended Felixstowe Library to allow people to play with their interactive art books for kids. I’m so glad I bought these as they saved me during lockdown. They are fun, easy to use, and educational.
Another workshop was “Making Books” with Emily Rowe and Jeni Smith. Kids (and adults) were shown books available from the library on the topic to learn more. We were taught three different methods of making books. At the end we had three little books to take home as a souvenir.
An event we enjoyed as a family was “A Walk in the Woods” by Elly Crichton Stuart. This event celebrated the art of storytelling. Elly took us for a walk through the Grove, stopping to tell stories along the way.
Local bookshop, Stillwater Books, gets involved with a pop up shop, to make sure readers can buy books at the event.
These are just some examples of the many activities put on by Felixstowe Book Festival over the years. As you can see they have used locations all over Felixstowe and had a varied program with something for everyone. They often have a writing competition and there’s a book club that runs throughout the year for readers.
There’s so much on offer at Felixstowe Book Festival and it’s always very affordable: some tickets are free, others have only a small charge. You can pick and choose which events you are interested in, tailoring the experience to your needs.
The most unbelievable thing about Felixstowe Book Festival is that the event is organised and put on by volunteers! I honestly don’t know how they do it. It’s very impressive.
My dream has always been to be an author at Felixstowe Book Festival. This year, as part of their ten year anniversary, my dream is coming true. I am part of the children’s program.
Go check out the full program on their website https://felixstowebookfestival.co.uk/ or visit Felixstowe Library who often have a printed copy. You can get tickets on the website or visit Felixstowe Library for help.
You’ll find me listed on the Children’s program as the author joining Phoebe Storer for the “Let’s Talk Fantasy” panel. The interviewer will be Imogen Tink. It’s on 17 June 2023 at 11:30am at Felixstowe Library. Tickets are FREE but you need to get one to attend.
If you haven’t yet read my debut novel Ocean Heart, you can borrow a copy from Suffolk County Libraries, or order a copy from your local bookshop, via bookshop.com, or from most online retailers. You can get a signed copy from my Ko-Fi page, or attend my event at Felixstowe Book Festival where I will be happy to write a personal message for you and give you a matching bookmark.