Students Staff

28 February 2012

East Anglian coastline explored by Professor Jules Pretty at Essex Book Festival

Southend Campus

Award-winning writer Professor Jules Pretty will be exploring the people, places, nature and history of the East Anglian coastline when he gives a talk at The Gateway Building in Southend as part of the Essex Book Festival.

Professor Pretty’s book This Luminous Coast was winner of the Nature and Places category of the Eastern Daily Press/Jarrolds East Anglian Book Award 2011 and was shortlisted for non-fiction book of the year by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain.

This Luminous Coast is based on the journey Professor Pretty took along the East Anglian coastline, completing 400 miles on foot and a further 100 miles in boats. In the book he explores the relationships between people and nature and how the ever-changing world casts a shadow over memory, time and place.

Ken Worpole, one of Britain's most influential writers on architecture and landscape, is among those who have praised Professor Pretty’s writing. He said: “"I read this book with growing enjoyment and admiration. It is a model of what close observation can bring to the best of English topographical writing. Combined with an acute ear for the local and the particular."

This year, the Essex Book Festival has taken a new direction thanks to major support from Arts Council England, local partners and the University, and is now operated by an independent trust, overseen by a board of voluntary trustees, all with a shared love of literature.

Professor Pretty said: "The Essex Book Festival has now become a vibrant cultural event for the county of Essex. It showcases literature of the region, as well as bringing in authors of national repute.”

Professor Pretty is Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex where he is also Director of the Centre for Environment and Society. He was awarded an OBE in 2006 for services to sustainable agriculture in the UK and overseas.

He will be discussing This Luminous Coast at The Gateway Building at the University of Essex’s Southend Campus in Elmer Approach on Tuesday 20 March at 7.30pm. Tickets are £4 and £3 concessions. For tickets, please call 01206 573948. For more information about the Festival, pick up a copy of the Essex Book Festival brochure at your local library or visit

Notes to editors

1. The Essex Book Festival is a month-long annual celebration of literature which takes place across the county during March. Operated by an independent trust, the Festival is supported by the Arts Council England, England, Essex County Council and the University of Essex.

2. For more information on the Festival contact the University of Essex Communications Office, telephone 01206 874471, e-mail A full list of all Festival events and writers taking part, including media contact details, can be found at:

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