Bury’s first Literature Festival declared open by High Sheriff

The High Sheriff of Suffolk, Geoffrey Probert, and Julia Wakelam at the launch of the Bury St Edmunds Literature Festival
The High Sheriff of Suffolk, Geoffrey Probert, and Julia Wakelam at the launch of the Bury St Edmunds Literature Festival

Bury’s first ever Literature Festival was declared open by the High Sheriff of Suffolk at its launch on Monday evening.

The event was held at Waterstones in The Arc shopping centre, where several of the festival’s events will also take place.

The High Sheriff of Suffolk, Geoffrey Probert, officially opened the festival, which will take place at destinations throughout the town between October 25 and 29.

He said: “I think it’s great that Bury should have a literary festival, especially as the town has a literary tradition dating back to the ninth century. Hopefully it’s the first of many.”

The festival was organised by a group of avid readers who wanted literature to be among the cultural offerings in the town.

One of the organisers, Susan Wilde, said: “We came up with the idea around Easter time and it has just taken off since then.

“It’s really exciting and I’m proud to be part of it. It’s gone past anyone’s imagining really. It doesn’t quite feel real.”

The programme features award-winning authors such as Louis de Berniere, author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and Sarah Perry whose first novel, After Me Comes The Flood, won the East Anglian Book of the Year in 2014.

It will feature several events for children, including art sessions and talks with children’s authors James Campbell and Katy Birchall.

The festival has received a lot of support from local councillors and businesses.

Greene & Greene Solicitors, Whiting & Partners accountants and Waterstones are the official sponsors, and Paddy and Scott’s Cafe on Abbeygate Street have also donated boxes of coffee for the visiting authors’ gift bags.

Judy Spenser-Morris, one of the festival’s patrons, said: “It’s a brilliant idea. We are bringing Bury much more into focus. It fits to have a literary festival and I think it’s going to be very very popular.”

The festival offers something for everyone. The first event will be a Writers’ Cafe held on Wednesday, October 25, which will be a networking event for aspiring authors who wish to get their work published.

“For me, watching people’s faces when they are enjoying what we’ve done will be the best part. Hopefully it’ll make people happy,” Mrs Wilde said.

To buy tickets in advance, go to https://en-gb.facebook.com/BuryLitFest/