First chapter in literary festival plans for Bury

Jackie Carreira, from Quirkhouse Theatre, Susan Wilde and Cam Brown are among those hoping to hold a Literary Festival in Bury St Edmunds

The opening chapter has been written in a plan to give Bury St Edmunds its first literary festival this autumn.

The plan has got off the ground with funding from a county councillor’s locality fund and a small group of people working to try to set up five to seven days of events associated with literature around the town during the October half-term.

Part of Bury's literary past, novelist Norah Lofts lived in Northgate Street from 1955 until her death in 1983

Susan Wilde of Oakes Barn pub said: “It’s the first to be held in Bury St edmunds, so we want to make it as good as possible.

“It’s not just an Oakes Barn thing – we would like to have two or three events a day throughout the town.

“We want to get authors to do readings and signings, we’ll have a short story competitions, a 50-words open mike thing, we’d like to get poetry readings.

“If we can – we’ve got to check with the council – we want to do outside historical readings of authors connected withg the area.”

That could include those who lived here, such as novelist Norah Lofts who lived in Northgate Street from 1955 to 1983 or those who visited like Charles Dickens who gave two readings at The Athenaeum.

If they widen it to links with Suffolk, the authors could include George Orwell, Enid Blyton, Joseph Conrad, Sir Henry Rider Haggard, Hammond Innes, Beatrix Potter and Ruth Rendell.

They are working with OurBuryStEdmunds, councillors, writers and the Quirk House theatre company who have performed at Oakes Barn.

Susan said: “Waterstones have said they’re interested in getting involved and some of the creative writing groups have got involved.

“What we really need is for anyone who can help to get in touch. Anyone who has contacts with local authors, or is an author themselves, any literary group that can host an event, perhaps run a creative writing class.”

Anyone interested in supporting the event should contact Susan at

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