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Wimbledon BookFest to hold ‘Last Days of Summer’ Live Festival Weekend

July 30, 2020
Member News
Merton Chamber

Wimbledon BookFest to hold ‘Last Days of Summer’ Live Festival Weekend on Wimbledon Common 12-13 September 2020

Wimbledon BookFest, London’s leading community based literary festival, is to run a Weekend Festival of live events on 12-13 September in a bespoke open marquee on Wimbledon Common. The Festival named the ‘Last Days of Summer’ will feature a broad range of events showcasing inspiring speakers and bestselling authors for adults and children. Matthew Syed has been confirmed as a keynote speaker, with the full programme to be announced soon.

Events will have reduced capacities and ticketed entry to ensure that the festival experience is a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. Events will be digitally streamed so that no-one misses out.

This alternative model for 2020 has been developed with the help of partners including Wimbledon & Putney Commons, University of Roehampton, Merton Council, Arts Council Grant England Emergency Funding, Baillie Gifford, and support from community sponsors and benefactors.

Wimbledon BookFest’s Word Up education programme will run as usual in October and will feature 10 events with authors filmed live and then digitally relayed to participating schools. In celebration of the work of black writers and Black History Month, BookFest will donate a selection of books by black authors to the library of every Merton state schools (5 for primary and 10 for secondary schools.)

During lockdown the Festival has been running the Robert Graves Poetry Prize (entries close 31 July), whilst the Young Writers’ Competition has attracted a record amount of entries, with pupils from 53 South London schools participating.  

Fiona Razvi, Festival Director says: “Over lockdown Wimbledon Common and open spaces in general have provided so much solace and comfort. We are incredibly fortunate to have Wimbledon Common as our Festival home. With the new guidance on open air events and performance we have a unique opportunity to do something special in a safe way this summer. Although much reduced from our usual Festival held in October, Wimbledon BookFest’s ‘Last Days of Summer’ Weekend will provide an opportunity for the community to engage and connect with culture in a live format.  Events will be filmed and digitally relayed for those can’t attend. The safety of performers, audience and staff is paramount. Should the UK return to full lockdown, or the government advise more stringent restrictions, the events will not take place. Arts and culture has suffered so much this year, we want to provide a little bit of hope.”

For further information please visit their website here.