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image for Festival item typeEssex Book Festival: Place Weekend

  • VistEngland VAQAS
  • Self-assessed Accessibility Information

Literary Festival, Sat 23 - Sun 24 Mar 2019




Join us for a fun and thought-provoking weekend of author events, debates, workshops and storytelling in Colchester.

With Sunday Times’ best-selling author Simon Scarrow pondering on what the Romans would have made of Brexit, Drag Queen Bunny Galore’s spot in our Pop-Up Storytelling Armchair, writer Tim Burrow’s contemplation on ‘The Meaning of ‘Essex”, and author Bridget Collins’ hugely entertaining gothic tale The Binding, this year’s PLACE weekend promises to be a rich blend of fact, fantasy and fabula.

We also have our very first Essex Book Festival Human Library – where BOOKS are PEOPLE, and READING is a CONVERSATION. Come along, choose a book, and enjoy an experience that promises to stimulate and challenge.

For our Young Essex Day on Saturday 23 March, families an have a fabulous day out exploring place, identity, history and heritage through books, reading, writing and storytelling. Our Pop-Up Storytelling Armchair is back; there’ll be bookmaking, writing workshops, origami boatbuilding and Chinese calligraphy as part of The Mothership Project, when children in Essex will be exchanging messages of love and friendship with children in China.


At Firstsite (for adults)

SAT 23 | 10.30am – 12.30pm | Bookmaking for Adults
SAT 23 | 11.00am – 12.00pm | Island Song, Madeleine Bunting
SAT 23 | 2.00 – 3.00pm |The Blood of Rome, Simon Scarrow
SAT 23 | 3.30 – 4.30pm | New Daughters of Africa

SUN 24 | 12.00 – 4.00pm | Human Library
SUN 24 | 12.00 & 2.00pm | Colchester Literary Legacies
SUN 24 | 11.00am | Ken Worpole, Radical Communities on the River Stour
SUN 24 | 1.00pm | Tim Burrows, The Meaning of ‘Essex’
SUN 24 | 3.00pm | Jennifer Lucy Allan and Luke Turner

Colchester Library and other venues

SAT 23, 2.00pm | The Binding, Bridget Collins


Drop in and free events

12.00 – 3.30pm | The Mothership Project
12.30 – 1.00pm | Storytelling with Josie Dom
2.00 – 3.00pm | Storytelling with Bunny Galore
+ more to come!


11.00am – 12.30pm | Tides and Tales Workshop
1.30 – 3.00pm | Imagination & Creation Workshop
2.00 – 3.30pm | Create a Secret Treasure Island: Bookmaking workshop

Baby changing facilitiesCoach parties acceptedCredit cards accepted (no fee)Credit cards accepted (with charge)Disabled toiletsEducation/study areaFacilities for groupsFacilities for educational visitsGift shopOn-site cateringOn-site light refreshmentsPicnic sitePublic toiletsRegional Tourist Board MemberWelcome HostWheelchairs availableAccepts groupsFacilities for conferencingFacilities for corporate hospitality

Event details

Dates Times
Sat 23 - Sun 24 Mar 2019


Free – £25
Please see individual events for ticket prices

Also see

Events at this Venue

date event
Sat 10 Nov - Sun 12 May Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere
Sat 19 Jan - Sun 24 Mar Emotions Go to Work
Sat 9 Feb - Sun 21 Apr susan pui san lok | A Coven A Grove A Stand
Tue 12 Feb - Sun 24 Mar flyingleaps: Art on the streets II
Fri 22 Mar Jane’s Walk 2019: Fundraising Supper
Sat 23 - Sun 24 Mar Essex Book Festival: Place Weekend


Essex Book Festival


Lewis Gardens,
High Street,


See location of Firstsite on Google mapsSee location on Google maps

Map reference: TL 999252  Lat: 51.88968 Long: 0.90477

By Road:
Follow signs to the Town Centre.

Accessible by Public Transport: 1 mile from Colchester Town station


  • Baby changing facilitiesBaby changing facilities
  • Coach parties acceptedCoach parties accepted
  • Credit cards accepted (no fee)Credit cards accepted (no fee)
  • Credit cards accepted (with charge)Credit cards accepted (with charge)
  • Disabled toiletsDisabled toilets
  • Education/study areaEducation/study area
  • Facilities for groupsFacilities for groups
  • Facilities for educational visitsFacilities for educational visits
  • Gift shopGift shop
  • On-site cateringOn-site catering
  • On-site light refreshmentsOn-site light refreshments
  • Picnic sitePicnic site
  • Public toiletsPublic toilets
  • Regional Tourist Board MemberRegional Tourist Board Member
  • Welcome HostWelcome Host
  • Wheelchairs availableWheelchairs available
  • Accepts groupsAccepts groups
  • Facilities for conferencingFacilities for conferencing
  • Facilities for corporate hospitalityFacilities for corporate hospitality

Self-Assessed Accessibility Details


  • YesDesignated parking for guests with disabilities
    • YesWithin 50 metres approx. of entrance
  • The surface of the car park and pathway leading to entrance:
    • Yesis solid
  • YesDrop-off point for guests outside entrance
  • The route from the parking area to the entrance:
    • YesIs flat (i.e. without steps)

Public Areas

  • Level access (no steps/thresholds) or access by ramp or lift:
    • YesFrom the entrance to reception / ticket area
    • YesTo a specially adapted public toilet suitable for wheelchair users
    • YesTo the gift shop
  • YesGood contrast between the floor and walls
  • YesContrast markings on clear surfaces such as glass doors
  • YesBaby changing facilities
  • YesVisitor information available in large print (14pt and over)
  • YesHearing loop installed in public areas


  • YesSeating available for visitors with limited mobility
  • YesClear signage
  • YesEffective lighting for visually impaired visitors
  • YesGood colour/tonal contrast for visually impaired visitors
  • YesRoutes/pathways suitable for wheelchair users or visitors with limited mobility
  • YesDisplays at suitable height for wheelchair users / children
  • YesAudible alarm system


  • YesEntrance is well lit
  • YesAutomatic door at the main entrance


  • YesLevel access (no steps/thresholds) or access by ramp or lift to cafeteria
  • YesGood contrast between the floor and walls
  • Restaurant / cafe provide meals for visitors with special dietary requirements:
    • YesSugar free (diabetic)
    • YesGluten free (coeliacs)
    • YesLactose free (dairy free)
    • YesNut free
    • YesAdditive free
    • YesVegetarian
    • YesVegan
  • YesSeating suitable for wheelchair users, ie moveable and good height for person sitting in a wheelchair
  • YesHigh chairs for children
  • YesChildren's menu