ESSEX University chancellor Dr Sarah Perry is set to headline an upcoming book festival event for its milestone birthday.

Essex Book Festival will be returning next month, and is set to jointly honour the 25th year of the festival and the university’s 60th anniversary.

During the event, Dr Perry, who is also patron of the festival, will be discussing her highly-anticipated new novel, Enlightenment, at 4.30pm.

It is a story of "love and astronomy told over the course of 20 years".

Another highlight of the day will be a parade of 500 flags from the Hythe onto the Colchester Campus.

It will feature 500 flags made for Kinetika’s 2021 Beach of Dreams project, which celebrated hidden gems of the east coast.

The procession will start at St Leonard-at-the-Hythe Church on Hythe Hill at 10am and will be carried onto the campus by volunteers.

Volunteers will be invited to plant them around the lake immortalised by John Constable in his 1816 painting Wivenhoe Park.

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Other events will include a series of workshops throughout and a long table discussion about the arts, with input from authors, artists, poets, performers, actors, and students.

The day will also include opportunities for the people of Essex to help shape a new charter for the festival, marking the 25th anniversary and outlining the ambitions for the next 25 years.

Speaking about her role as patron, Dr Perry said: “Essex, historically, has been treated as such an underdog or not a contender in the arts and culture.

"Some people don't even realise there is an Essex Book Festival - writers in particular - and so being able to say that I'm a patron of the Essex Book Festival, and we're doing this and that, this writer and that writer is coming, and then watching them realise in that moment how much they have underestimated Essex as a cultural engine, is quite exciting for me."

On overseeing the festival in her role as chancellor, Dr Perry added: “It’s probably the greatest honour of my life to take part in such an enormous endeavour.

"The opportunity to be an arts chancellor at a time like this feels like an even greater privilege.”

Essex Book Festival will be returning for its launch day on June 1.

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