Essex County Council are running the 10th annual Essex Book Festival in March 2009. The 2008 event was very well received. Julia and Francis are involved in the 2009 event; further details can be found on the Events page of this website.
Link to further information about the 2008 event on the Essex County Council website.
Francis appeared on the Steve Scruton show on BBC Radio Essex on Tuesday March 3rd. With characteristic understatment he hesitated on the brink of claiming Essex as cultural capital of the world but modified that to cultural capital of England - pointing to John Sutherland's Colchester childhood and Andrew Motion as the current Poet Laureate as well as the county's wealth of detective novelists - "from Margery Allingham to Martina Cole". The librarian who was on at the same time said that more people visited libraries in Essex than football matches - but, actually, is Essex much of a centre for the beautiful game? Definitely good for libraries though.