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Literary festival returns to coastal town to celebrate Lord Nelson

PUBLISHED: 06:00 17 October 2019 | UPDATED: 07:53 17 October 2019

Sea Fever Literary Festival. left to right: Gail Pirkis and Hazel Wood both editors of Slightly Foxed; Kevin Crossley-Holland of local, national and international fame; poet Elaine Ewart; Festival Co-director Jim Ring; poet Sally Festing.  Picture: Jessica Ring

Sea Fever Literary Festival. left to right: Gail Pirkis and Hazel Wood both editors of Slightly Foxed; Kevin Crossley-Holland of local, national and international fame; poet Elaine Ewart; Festival Co-director Jim Ring; poet Sally Festing. Picture: Jessica Ring

Picture: Jessica Ring

Leading naval historians are set to star in a literary extravaganza focusing on the life and times of Lord Nelson.

Wells maltings. Picture: Sarah Toon PhotographyWells maltings. Picture: Sarah Toon Photography

North Norfolk's festival of poetry and prose, Sea Fever, is returning to Wells this Friday, October 18.

The event aims to celebrate all forms of the written word, inspired by the county's coastline, while bring writers with national reputations to the region.

A spokesperson for the event said: "We hope Sea Fever will be an old friend in a new guise, rooted as the festival is in Poetry-next-the Sea; and whose 21st birthday we celebrated in 2018.

"For others, we hope it will be a stranger whose acquaintance proves worth cultivating.

A portrait of Admiral Lord Nelson by William Beechey. Picture: Supplied by Dr Andrew TullettA portrait of Admiral Lord Nelson by William Beechey. Picture: Supplied by Dr Andrew Tullett

"For both, we hope it will be an opportunity not only to see and hear some splendid speakers but to meet others who share a passion for that extraordinarily versatile and expressive medium, the English language."

Sea Fever, now in its third season, is the successor to the long-established Poetry-next-the-Sea and will be staged at the Maltings.

"We are hugely fortunate in having induced two distinguished naval historians to talk about different aspects of Nelson.

"Andrew Lambert is a professor of naval history in the Department of War Studies at Kings College London, and author of numerous works of naval history.

Wells maltings. Picture: Sarah Toon PhotographyWells maltings. Picture: Sarah Toon Photography

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"Rear admiral Dr Chris Parry is a decorated veteran of the Falklands war and several other operational and combat tours.

"We will also be paying tribute to another local hero, the late Tom Pocock, the journalist, biographer and naval historian who did so much to revive interest in Nelson in the years after the Second World War."

Authors and poets including Julia Blackburn, Simon Armitage, Roger Law, and Sir Andrew Motion have taken part in previous years.

This year, organisers are using Trafalgar Day, which takes place on October 21, to celebrate the man dubbed by Byron, Britannia's God of War.

Other events include a debate about the works of C. S. Forester and Patrick O'Brian, who wrote rival series.

There will also be two special poetry events - a schools' poetry recital competition and a presentation of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Poetry-next-the Sea was established in 1997 by Alan Byford, John Coleridge and Kevin Crossley-Holland. This year's festival directors are Jim Ring and David Waller.

For tickets visit ring 01328 710885 or visit Wells visitor information office or the Maltings, or go online www.wellsmaltings.org.uk.

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