Chocolat author Joanne Harris performs to sell out Essex Book Festival event

PUBLISHED: 14:40 11 April 2010 | UPDATED: 07:36 30 May 2010

Joanne Harris with Margaret Board, Head of English Faculty and Brian Williams, Specialist Humanities College Director Picture: submitted

Joanne Harris with Margaret Board, Head of English Faculty and Brian Williams, Specialist Humanities College Director Picture: submitted

AN INTERNATIONALLY acclaimed author made an exciting visit to a school as part of a sell out Essex Book Festival event. An eager crowd of 270 attended The Helena Romanes School in Great Dunmow to listen to guest speaker, Joanne Harris.

AN INTERNATIONALLY acclaimed author made an exciting visit to a school as part of a sell out Essex Book Festival event.

An eager crowd of 270 attended The Helena Romanes School in Great Dunmow to listen to guest speaker, Joanne Harris.

The novelist of Chocolat and Five Quarters of the Orange read excerpts from her new book, blueeyedboy, and also reflected on the experiences and memories that influenced her work.

This was followed by an informative and entertaining question and answer session including topics of how she started out as a writer, her literary influences and the process of having her novel Chocolat adapted for the silver screen.

Most of the audience remained behind afterwards to buy signed copies of books. According to the event organisers at the school, audience feedback was very positive and the Essex Book Festival organisers were happy with the event.

Hosted for the fourth time by The Helena Romanes School the evening was part of the school's Specialist Humanities College programme, in partnership with the Dunmow and District Historical and Literary Society.

Director of the school's specialist humanities college programme, Brian Williams, said: "It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. We were privileged to welcome Joanne Harris to the school and serve as a focus for this rewarding community event. We look forward to continuing our involvement with this prestigious festival."

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Essex Book Festival factfile

The festival is now in its 11th year and reaches right across the county, in libraries, schools, colleges and village halls.

It aims to encourage readers to widen literature choices and has a strong commitment to new writers.

Its main aims are to:

Inspire, challenge and entertain the people of Essex, the Eastern Region and visiting audiences through the provision of a quality programme of events with new and established writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

Provide a wide range of voices reflecting gender, disability, race, culture and sexual orientation of contemporary society

Ensure the programme of authors/performers is accessible to a variety of audiences

To reach out to new audiences for creative writing events and for reading.

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