Wimbledon BookFest

A book festival will be able to continue with a live “in person” event after Covid-19 guidelines were relaxed.

Wimbledon BookFest will hold The Last Days of Summer Live Weekend Festival on September 12-14 in an open marquee on Wimbledon Common with a host of big literary names.

Comedian, writer and mental health advocate Ruby Wax comes to Wimbledon for the first event for her new book And Now for the Good News: To the Future with Love.

Former Olympic table tennis player and author of Black Box Thinking and Rebel Ideas, Matthew Syed, will deliver the festival’s keynote speech, as well as an event for children.

Other speakers include journalist and podcaster, Pandora Sykes; broadcaster Jeremy Vine; comedian Andy Hamilton with his remarkable new book Longhand and a performance from Lemn Sissay who will be reading from both his memoir My Name is Why and his latest poetry collection Gold from the Stone.

Bestselling novelists David Nicholls and Jessie Burton will be in conversation about their latest books.

BookFest will also present some new voices including NHS palliative care doctor Rachel Clarke and Black Lives Matter activist Patrick Hutchinson.

Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason will talk about her musical family to celebrate the launch of her book House of Music: Raising the Kanneh-Masons, while her son Braimah will give a violin performance.

Mervyn King and John Kay will share valuable insights from their latest book Radical Uncertainty: Decision-making for an unknowable future.

The festival has said that live events will have reduced capacities and ticketed entry to ensure that the festival is a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.

Many of the events will be digitally streamed.

The festival’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 school.

Fiona Razvi, festival director said: “We are so excited to be able to host live ‘in person’ events with such a range of interesting writers and speakers. Social distancing will be in place with an open air roof marquee set up to ensure audiences, staff and performers all feel safe.”

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