Events and Tickets

Tickets are now available to purchase online via the What’s On West Suffolk website, or directly from The Apex, Bury St Edmunds. They will also be available on the door.

All events are free for those under 18 and tickets are half price for those under 25 or in receipt of benefits.

An Evening with John Row and the East Coast Poets, followed by an Open Mic

Thursday 23rd September 2021 7.30pm. Unitarian Meeting House. £5. 

John Row & the East Coast Poets who are, “a loose collective of poets from Norfolk and Suffolk that grew out of a long running series of workshops led by poet and storyteller John Row.
“Their styles vary from the humorous verse of Emma Brookes ‘The Norfolk Dumpling’ reinventing traditional tales and putting them in a modern setting, through the dry and incisive words of Andrew Underwood and Clare Smith’s individual take on the world and life to  ‘The Skinny Poet’ Jody Lee’s epic performance pieces cutting to the very heart of the human condition.”

After the East Coast Poets there will be an Open Mic for any poet who wishes to share their work. In association with Poetry Aloud.


Simon Edge 

Friday 24th September 2021 7.30pm. Unitarian Meeting House. £8.

Comic writer Simon Edge will be talking about his latest book, Anyone for Edmund. The book takes aim at politicians who never miss an opportunity to promote themselves .
“A perfect marriage of archaeology, patron sainthood, and Downing Street dirt.”
He will talk about the genesis of his novel, the benefits of telling historical stories in a modern setting, and the ups and downs of publishing his tale in the year everything was cancelled .


Matt Gaw

Saturday 25th September 2021 11am. Unitarian Meeting House. £8.

In his second book, Under the Stars: A Journey Into Light, Matt explores the power of light, walking by the light of the moon in Suffolk and under the scattered buckshot of starlight in Scotland; braving the darkest depths of Dartmoor; investigating the glare of 24/7 London and the suburban sprawl of Bury St Edmunds; and, finally, rediscovering a sense of the sublime on the Isle of Coll . He calls us to reconnect with the natural world, showing how we only need to step outside to find that, in darkness, the world lights up.


Francis Young

Saturday 25th September 2021 1pm. Unitarian Meeting House. £8.

Francis is an entertaining speaker as well as a knowledgeable one . Following Simon Edge’s appearance at the Festival talking about his satirical novel Anyone for Edmund (in which Edmund’s body is indeed found), Francis will talk about the real Edmund and his cult both here in England and in Ireland and France .


Liz Trenow

Saturday 25th September 2021 3pm. Unitarian Meeting House. £10.

Liz Trenow, international bestselling author of historical novels such as In Love and War and The Silk Weaver, returns to her East Anglian roots for her latest book The Secret of the Lake, a very personal novel inspired by her childhood and a mysterious local legend. Liz will be talking about her writing life and her fascination with history.


Julia Blackburn in conversation

Saturday 25th September 2021 5pm. Unitarian Meeting House. £10.

Julia is the author of 16 books, including two novels both of which were shortlisted for the Orange Prize, poetry, and several biographies and memoirs. Her latest book, Time Song brings many of these stories together as it tells of the creation, the existence and the loss of a country now called Doggerland, a huge and fertile area that once connected the entire east coast of England with mainland Europe, until it was finally submerged by rising sea levels around 5000 BC.


Conversation in Crime – Nicola Upson and William Shaw

Saturday 25th September 2021 7.30pm. Unitarian Meeting House. £15.

This will be a fascinating conversation between two very different writers, both at the top of their game.


Bury Theatre Workshop

Saturday 25th September 2021 9pm. Free.

Bury Theatre Workshop is a community theatre group formed in February 2012 from a group of theatre enthusiasts, actors, writers, directors, eager to give a voice to the creative and dynamic spirit of the community of Bury St Edmunds.

For this Festival event, they will be performing excerpts from one of their forthcoming productions, Quartermaine’s Terms by Simon Gray which will take place 14th-16th October 2021 (more information and booking at

Superficially, this is a light comedy about a group of educated, often eccentric, English characters in an academic backwater in the early sixties.  Both funny and sad, the play focuses on the minutiae of private behaviours and personalities.  Through the depiction of the drama and mystery that exist in seemingly mundane lives, the play shows how the selfish pursuit of personal ambition can sometimes ruin the lives of milder, less forceful people in barely perceptible ways.  ‘A masterly portrayal of an innocent’ as Harold Pinter said of the title character.  A gentle and thoughtful entertainment for an autumn evening.


Adrian Bleese – Above the Law

Sunday 26th September 2021 1pm. Unitarian Meeting House. £8.

After the RAF, Adrian Bleese began working for Suffolk Constabulary and spent twelve years flying on police helicopters. In Above The Law he recounts the most intriguing, challenging, amusing and downright baffling episodes in his career working for Suffolk Constabulary and the National Police Air Service.


David (DJ) Taylor talking about the forthcoming Orwell: the New Life

Sunday 26th September 2021 3pm. Unitarian Meeting House. £10.

Norwich born David Taylor has written over 26 books, a dozen novels among them. He has written two magisterial biographies, one the life of Thackeray and a Whitbread prize-winning biography of Orwell . David is currently annotating Orwell’s novels as well as writing a new updated biography Orwell: the New Life and it is this he will talk about at the Festival.


Rachel Hore – A Beautiful Spy

Sunday 26th September 2021 5pm. Unitarian Meeting House. £10.

Rachel is a million copy Sunday Times bestselling author, has been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Novel of the Year, and was a Richard and Judy Bookclub pick . She is an Honorary Lecturer in Creative Writing at UEA . She is the author of ten beautifully written and very enjoyable novels, many of which are woven from the past (accurately portrayed thanks to her training as an historian) and the present . Her latest book A Beautiful Spy was inspired by the life of Olga Gray.


An evening with Jan Etherington

Sunday 26th September 2021 7.30pm. Unitarian Meeting House. £12.

This year’s festival will end with ‘An evening with Jan Etherington’, who is a multi-award-winning comedy writer. She has written for local and national newspapers and magazines as well as being an entertaining broadcaster . She is best known – and best loved – as a script and play writer for stage, television, and radio . Her gentle, but perceptive (sometimes uncomfortably so) comedy has universal appeal. This is going to be an evening to remember.