Welcome to Sea Fever
Friday 10th – Sunday 12th May, Wells Maltings
Well, well, well! Who’d have thought it? We survived Sea Fever 1 last May and now we’re actually sitting down to welcome you to the second of our festivals.
Of course it couldn’t have been done if we hadn’t been building on the foundations of twenty years of Poetry-next-the-Sea, on the enthusiasm and energy of our patrons and of our advisory board, on the help of our sponsors Hayes + Storr, and above all on the support of everyone whose attendance of SF1 made it such a success.
This year’s festival has the immeasurable advantage of being held 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.
Formally opened only last autumn, the Maltings has already found its feet. We are fortunate in having such a venue at our disposal. In putting together the programme for this May, we certainly hope we are doing justice both to the eclectic traditions of Poetry-next-the-Sea and to the excellence of the facilities – and indeed Simon Daykin’s team – at the Maltings.
It is a privilege to be able to welcome back to the festival Sir Andrew Motion, who last graced Wells in the days when he was Poet Laureate. Equally exciting is the presence of long-standing Wells’ resident Roger Law, whose recent work as a
ceramicist is every bit as dazzling as the Spitting Image puppets that made his name.
These are both artists with international reputations, albeit from individuals rooted in East Anglia. Reflecting the regional theme – which we hope will make the festival distinctive – are writers much of whose work reflects the very special nature of this strip between the land and the sea. Amongst the most luminous is our old friend Kevin Crossley-Holland, one of the founders of PNTS. We are thrilled that he will be launching at the festival his new collaboration with photographer Andy Rafferty. This is Seahenge: A Journey. We are equally pleased that Julia Blackburn will be joining us, whose new work – Timesong – explores the lost land of the Dogger Bank.
Local, too are Benjamin Britten and WH Auden – sadly long gone – both of whom attended Gresham’s in Holt, and whose own collaboration in Night Mail we will be celebrating. We are fortunate indeed to have persuaded the composer and
film-maker Tony Britten to discuss this iconic film.
Finally – though it is invidious to pick out other individuals from our line-up – we are so pleased that our patron Matthew Hollis has agreed to present both a musical collaboration with Richard Scott, and some of his new work on The Wasteland.
For obvious reasons Harold Pinter is unavailable, but we do very much hope you will enjoy our own homecoming to Wells Maltings. Jim Ring and David Waller – Festival Directors
Weekend Pass to all Sea Fever events
Sea Fever – Pass to all Friday 10th May Events
Sea Fever – Pass to all Saturday events
Jim Ring’s radical reinterpretation of the role played by the Navy in the Great War. Expect fireworks in this talk derived from his new book.
Sally returns to Sea Fever to host this ever popular event.
Phil Hawes – Educationalist, mountaineer and long-standing chair of Sheringham RNLI With reference to place, literature and history, this illustrated talk offers a personal view of how the sea continues to shape our culture and our lives.
The Sea is my Soul : a literary voyage along the Frisian coast. Elaine Ewart – former Fenland Poet Laureate, is a writer of poetry and creative non-fiction, concerned with representations of place. Elaine made such an impression at Sea Fever 1 last May that we had to ask her back. The former Fenland Poet […]
Julia Blackburn – Suffolk, and sometime Italy based, author of fiction and non-fiction, with Time Song her new release in 2019 from Jonathan Cape Julia’s widely reviewed new book has been described as ‘a winning mix of personal and pre-historical … a psychogeography which presents Blackburn’s search into the long-vanished land mass called Doggerland in […]
Paul Stephenson – Poet, co-curator of Poetry in Aldeburgh (2018) and interviewer of poets on his blog at paulstep.com. The curator of the 2018 Aldeburgh Poetry Festival brings his talents to Wells. Paul is rather a rare beast : a poet who can present as well as write. Do see for yourself.
Francis Pryor – Archaeologist, writer, radio broadcaster, TV presenter and regular member of Channel 4’s Time Team. As anyone who has seen time team will know Professor Pryor has a huge gift for presenting the complexities of the past to a popular audience. Here he talks about some of the stories and discoveries that have […]
Confessions of a Country Doctor: Wonders & Absurdities Philip Evans – Retired family doctor and historian from Bury St Edmunds Dr. Rhys Evans comes clean on the stories behind his delightful 2018 bestseller, ‘A Country Doctor’s Commonplace Book’.
Two prize winning poets, Peter Wallis and Sally Festing, present poems about the head, both its physical and mental aspects. How does repeated brain surgery impact on families? What if the patient has an identical twin? The answers come, in Andrew McMillan’s words, in poems that see ‘life as something tentative as well as tender’.
Kevin Crossley-Holland and Andy Rafferty Kevin and Andy launch their new collaboration about the timber circle discovered in 1998 at Holme-next-the-Sea – fifteen miles west of Wells. For two artists who take much of their inspiration from the distant past, this prehistoric monument has proved a crucible for their combined talents.
Readings and prize giving hosted by Kevin Crossley-Holland and Tim Fisher.
Loving Angels Instead – why more people now believe in angels than God. Peter Stanford – Writer, journalist, broadcaster and former editor of the Catholic Herald. ‘In a 2016 poll, one in 10 Britons claimed to have experienced the presence of an angel, while one in three remain convinced that they have a guardian angel. These are […]
The Met Office Advises Caution and other works. Rebecca Watts in conversation and reading from her latest works.
Cuckoos and Curious naturalists Professor Nick Davies – Cambridge Professor of Behavioural Ecology updates us on his recent work on cuckoos : how cuckoos trick their hosts and how the hosts defend themselves against cuckoo parasitism; how cuckoo trickery and host defences co-evolve; how cuckoo chicks manipulate hosts when they beg for food. Brilliant!
From politics to Pots and other Nonsense Roger Law the creator of ‘Spitting Image’ revisits his career and recounts how he morphed from puppets to pots. Unmissable!
Matthew Hollis and Richard Scott Matthew Hollis explores The Wasteland. Twice. Firstly with a sound and vision talk, secondly as a two-voiced dramatic reading of the poem with fellow poet Richard Scott.
Sir Andrew Motion ‘Andrew Motion’s prose memoir In the Blood was widely acclaimed. Now, twelve years later and three years after moving to live and work in the United States, Andrew looks back once more to recreate a stunning biographical sequel – but this time in verse. Essex Clay rekindles, expands and gives a tragic […]
Matthew Hollis and Richard Scott Matthew Hollis, guitar, and Richard Scott, counter-tenor, will perform music by John Dowland, Jolie Holland and Luke Kelly, with texts by W. B. Yeats and Patrick Kavanagh. They will also discuss how poetry and music are intertwined through rhythm, cadence and feeling.
Tony Britten the composer and film director in discussion about the Britten collaboration with led to the masterly Night Mail. Screening of the classic ‘Night Mail’ and discussion on the words, music and film direction, provided by W H Auden, Benjamin Britten and Harry Watt and Basil Wright.
Robert Smith Wells harbour-master Robert Smith lifts the lid on his popular local memoir about the town and its relationship with the sea.
Gillian Beer in conversation with festival directors David Waller and Jim Ring