An anthology of the best writing and art, new and old, in celebration of the county of Suffolk, edited by Elizabeth Burke, Dan Franklin, John and Mary James, published by The Boydell Press.

When the idea for a Suffolk anthology was broached, Mary and John James, from the Aldeburgh Bookshop, were the obvious people to compile it, along with the other two editors.

The original Suffolk Garland anthology published in 1961 by East Suffolk County Council, the full title of which was ‘A Suffolk Garland for the Queen; Plucked and arranged on the occasion of the Royal Progress of HM The Queen II’ through the county of Suffolk’.

The editors decided an updated version would be the perfect way to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.  All profits will go to the Festival of Suffolk Legacy Fund.  With a target of £5 million by 2025, this will be administered by Suffolk Community Foundation and be given in grants to charities working to address needs in Suffolk relating to community, health and well-being, opportunity and education, enterprise, environment, and culture and tourism. A copy of the anthology is also being presented to every secondary school and library in Suffolk.

With 90 authors and 45 artists and photographers, how did the editors decide what to include?


We just sat down and made a list with the other two editors, Dan and Elizabeth, making a list of books about Suffolk that we liked! Many of them Dan has come across in his career at Random House. The original 1961 Garland was quite an eccentric book and we wanted to capture some of that spirit in our collection, so we have included unusual ideas like the screen shot of the ships off the east  coast of Suffolk… showing how busy the Port of Felixstowe is and the US Army memo about the UFO sightings in Rendlesham Forest. We have also included current media, so we have an App, Instagram and Blog.

John James

“Everyone we approached were so keen to get involved, and it is a testimony to the love people have for Suffolk.” Added Mary.

The book’s topics are diverse and include iconic items and places such as the Sutton Hoo helmet, Ipswich Town football club, Newmarket racecourse, the Suffolk dialect, Lowestoft fish market, and the Aldeburgh Festival.

Extracts of published work are from Charles Dickens, ‘Pickwick Papers’, about Ipswich, Ed Sheeran’s Framlingham ‘Castle on the Hill’ lyrics,  Richard Curtis’ script from the film ‘Yesterday’, and writer Ronald Blythe’s descriptions of the medieval deer park at Staverton Thicks, near Orford. The anthology also includes thoughts on Suffolk from Josephine, the carer who moved to the county from Rwanda, and Albert Grant, Ipswich’s first black councillor, and mayor.

From hedge-laying to the illustrations of Charles Mackesy, to the undiscovered treasures of Suffolk’s churches, from the Suffolk Punch stable to Delia Smith’s kitchen table, from swimming with otters in the River Waveney to the golden aureoles of Lakenheath, the collection  encapsulates all that is special about Suffolk.

The book costs £20 but there is also a limited special edition costing £100, the first copy of which will be given to HM The Queen.

  • There is a whole series of fantastic events and activities happening between May and October 2022. Some of these are unique to the Festival, some are the regular annual treats that we already know and love from around the county, and in our own local communities. The Festival is a celebration of Suffolk during The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee that brings all communities together in joyful celebration and creates a powerful legacy to increase the visibility of our county and improve local lives for many years to come.
  • Our legacy goal is the build a Festival Fund of £5m by 2025, to be given in grants to help charities, community groups and social enterprises working in these six areas: . Opportunity and Education, Health and Well-being, Community. Enterprise, the Environment and Culture and Tourism (These are the Festival themes).