Five years ago Meg Reid launched Felixstowe Book Festival which has grown in size and stature every year. She describes her life in Suffolk
How long have you been living in Suffolk? I moved here six years ago. Originally I am from Liverpool but I've spent most of my adult life living in Wivenhoe. I have always loved Suffolk though, feeling that I could breathe more freely every time I crossed the county boundary and as a result, I have wanted to move here for a long time. And why Felixstowe? I looked up houses within my price range on Google and found the property I am living in now. We came and looked round and it just felt right. What makes the county so special? Well, I love the sea, the shoreline and the coast. There’s always an element of exploring to be done here, it’s full of interesting places and villages but beyond that, it’s also about the skies and the landscape. I can spend hours exploring the county and I never get bored with it. I love the Suffolk colours. Where do you like to walk? I walk by the sea almost every day – usually along the seafront here in Felixstowe although I can’t go on massive hikes right now. Usually, from Felixstowe down to the ferry – the sea and the sky changes all the time. There’s always something going on as there are so many ships and pleasure boats on the horizon. Another place I love to walk is along the river at Woodbridge.
Do you eat out? I am a vegetarian so actually, I am always on the lookout for good places to eat. I like Oaks Tearoom in the centre of Felixstowe, Metfield Cafe at Snape Maltings and of course The Fludyers in Felixstowe. Are you interested in arts and culture? I used to work in theatre as a stage manager, so yes I love the arts. It’s been lovely to see that the Spa Pavilion has re-opened and is doing live shows. I go to the cinema so much here that it almost feels like I have a reserved seat. The New Wolsey is really, really fabulous and I also like art, in particular, the Open Studios event across the county in June and all the exhibitions at Snape. Of course, Maggi Hambling’s work is amazing and we are delighted that she is coming to the preview of Felixstowe Books Festival at the start of June. I also enjoy music and my intention was, when we moved here, to go to Snape too. Do you have any hobbies? I am very keen on ballroom and Latin dancing, I have been doing it for ten years and I have to admit that I go back to Essex on a regular basis for lessons. Making mosaics is something else I enjoy – the last one I made was inspired by walking along the cliffs at Southwold.
How did the Felixstowe Book Festival Come About? Well, I have been going to the Edinburgh Book Festival for a while as well as the Cambridge and Aldeburgh literary festivals. Driving back from Cambridge event in 2012 with a friend she just happened to ask why Felixstowe didn’t have something similar and I just took up the challenge. It’s really grown since then and I work full time on the event but I am not employed because I do this for free. However, we use the event to help charities, this year focusing on dementia but also on domestic abuse and The Lighthouse in Ipswich. Are there any books that you would recommend? I am currently reading The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith, a series based in Edinburgh. East Anglian authors I particularly like include Francis Spufford and his book Golden Hill, Suffolk’s Nicola Upson, Libby Purves and of course Esther Freud who is the patron of Felixstowe Book Festival. If there was one picture you would choose to represent Suffolk what would it be? It would probably be sunset over the sea at Felixstowe and it would have to have a lot of sky in it. See details of this year’s festival on page 33
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