Chasing away the winter blues!

Ruth Loten with her latest book, The Mermaid

Ruth’s latest novel launches Literary Festival

An intriguing book set in a fictional version of Brightlingsea will be launched at the eagerly-anticipated opening event for the town’s second Literary Festival, on Sunday, February 4th.

Author Ruth Loten will be taking to the stage at the event, at the Royal British Legion in Brightlingsea, to launch her latest novel, The Mermaid.

She will be joined by five fellow members of Brightlingsea’s BrightWords Creative Writing group, who will open the free event, which starts at 3pm, by reading extracts from their work.

The Literary Festival, organised by BrightWords, is building on the success it achieved last year when it was held for the first time. This year it is again running in association with WinterFest, Brightlingsea’s long-established festival of music, arts, spoken word and wellbeing activities.

Ruth said: “I am delighted to be part of the launch of Brightlingsea Literary Festival. It was a fantastic success last year and it is great that it is happening again this year. I am so proud of everything our BrightWords writing group has achieved, as it is quite difficult to get a festival like this off the ground.

“Linking with WinterFest, which has always had a focus on wellbeing, has worked very well. I know from my own experience writing is closely linked with mental health. It is a creative outlet for feelings and is very therapeutic.

“My book The Mermaid also ties in with WinterFest’s theme of strong community spirit. The book is a sequel to The Folly, the first in my series about a town called Avonstow, a fictional version of Brightlingsea.

“In The Mermaid I have once again created a split timeline, the Second World War when the town became a naval base and 2017, when the town’s Lido is under threat. The Mermaid is the name of a hotel used as a naval base, inspired by The Anchor in Brightlingsea which is illustrated on the front cover by Olivia Reilly.

“It is important to emphasise that, although the possible closure in 2017 of The Lido is based on real events, the reasons behind the risk of closure are fictional.”

Ruth will reveal more about the story in an interview at the Literary Festival’s launch event. Also appearing will be writer and musician Stephen Foster-Pilkington who will be reading one of his short stories and also performing one of his songs.

The other members of BrightWords reading from their work at the launch event will be Helena Nwaokolo, Stephanie Green, Sthiranaga Barrenger and Mary-Jane Ng.

For more details about WinterFest’s and the Literary Festival events visit or see the Facebook page BrightlingseaWinterFest

© Brightlingsea WinterFest
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