Venue: Firstsite, Lewis Gardens, High Street, Colchester, CO1 1JH
Date and time: Saturday 4th June, 11.30am
Tickets: £10 / £8 concessions (Students, Under 27s and Jobseekers)
Box Office: Book online or via Mercury Theatre 01206 573948 (10am – 8pm Tuesday to Saturday)
A riveting narrative account of an England poised on the brink of enormous change from one of our finest journalists and writers. In this compelling and essential book, Jason Cowley examines contemporary England through a handful of the key news stories of recent times to reveal what they tell us about the state of the nation and to answer the question Who Are We Now?
Spanning the years since the election of Tony Blair’s New Labour government to the aftermath of the Covid pandemic, the book investigates how England has changed and how those changes have affected us. Cowley weaves together the seemingly disparate stories of the Chinese cockle-pickers who drowned in Morecambe Bay, the East End Imam who was tested during a summer of terror, the pensioner who campaigned against the closure of her GP’s surgery and Gareth Southgate’s transformation of English football culture and embrace of progressive patriotism. And in doing so he shows the common threads that unite them, whether it is attitudes to class, nation, identity, belonging, immigration, or religion.
He also examines the so-called Brexit murder in Harlow, the haunting repatriation of the fallen in the Iraq and Afghan wars through the town of Wootton Bassett, the Lancashire woman who took on Gordon Brown, and the flight of the Bethnal Green girls to Islamic State, fleshing out the headlines with the very human stories behind them.
By looking at these stories in vivid and often moving detail, Cowley tells us something important about what it means to be human in the age of globalisation. Moreover, he offers a clear and compassionate analysis of how and why England became so divided and the United Kingdom so fragmented, and how we got to this cultural and political crossroads. Most importantly, he shows how the pandemic revealed the best of who we are and why there is genuine hope for the future in an era of heightened English national self- consciousness.
Jason Cowley is an award-winning journalist, magazine editor and writer. He has been widely credited with transforming the fortunes of the New Statesman, both as a magazine and website. In 2020 he was voted editor of the year (politics and current affairs) for the fourth time at the British Society of Magazine Editors awards.
Hearing Loop: Firstsite does not have a hearing loop system in this room.
Essex Book Festival has a mobile Roger Pen hearing loop system, which needs to be booked by individuals in advance at least five days before the event. If you would like to use the Roger Pen email [email protected]