Despite us all dodging downpours and thunderstorms to get there, it was a full house to hear Elly Griffiths at the fabulous Slaughter in Southwold crime-writing festival yesterday. 

And I understand that my conversation with Michael Mansfield at the Felixstowe Book Festival later this month is now at capacity. 

As organisers, we are delighted when an event is popular and well-supported. But it's been a common observation among those putting on concerts, performances, festivals and talks, that bookings are being made much later these days. It's a hangover from Covid, apparently, we're all keeping our options open until the last minute!

The next few weeks are going to be very busy. In the sporting calendar alone we have the Euro 2024 matches, Wimbledon and the Olympics. But I hope you'll take respite from your screen and enjoy some live, stimulating conversation at the festivals and events which are taking place - and book your place early to help organisers sleep at night!

So if you have your diary to hand, note that Patrick Barkham is speaking for Suffolk Book League this Wednesday. And it's the First Light festival at Lowestoft next weekend.

We have our Woodbridge book group on Monday 24 June to discuss 'Close to Home' by Michael Magee. Do let me know if you're coming along to that meeting and I'll send you the details, as well as news of our next title.

And the following Wednesday in Framlingham we'll be talking about 'The Marriage Portrait' by Maggie O'Farrell. Everyone is welcome at Ottie and the Beafor that. 

There are a number of sessions at the Felixstowe Book Festival with tickets still available - perhaps you'll join me in finding out about artificial intelligence with Nigel Toon, first nights with Dominic Dromgoole and the lives of Gainsborough's daughters with novelist Emily Howes.

And, although it is still three weeks away, don't delay in booking your places for our visit by Iwan Thomas at the Riverside on Monday 8 July. There's no football that night! And it's sure to get you in the mood for Paris with Iwan's talk of his experience of Olympic training and competition, as well as everything else he has to share with us.

It's tough for anyone organising events these days, and likely to become more so for the bigger music and literature festivals as sponsors like Baillie Gifford and Barclays withdraw, so I hope you'll join me in planning ahead and looking forward to attending some great bookish events this summer! 

Thank you for reading.