Education & Schools Programme at Wimbledon BookFest

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Statement: World Book Day Events 2020

Due to developments with the coronavirus and an incident reported in a Merton school we have been in consultation with Public Health England regarding the safe guarding of school children. We had 17 schools booked and 1,000 children booked to attend our World Book day events at New Wimbledon Theatre for Wednesday’s author events. Although at this time formal guidance on large gatherings has not changed, we understand concerns that schools and parents may not want their children mixing in large groups of this type. As such we have unfortunately taken the precautionary decision to cancel our World Book Day events.


Every year the Festival enables over 10,000 school children from 80+ South London schools to take part in a variety of projects focused around literacy. These include author events, writing competitions & workshops, film making initiatives and volunteering opportunities.

Wimbledon BookFest believes in the power of reading to change lives and in 2019 over 3,500 books were gifted to young people funded by the Festival. The Education Programme is funded through grants and school sponsorship and works closely with our Lead Education Partner, University of Roehampton.


World Book Day 2020

We will be celebrating World Book Day on Wed 4 March with authors Sita Brachmachari, Karyn Parsons and Konnie Huq at New Wimbledon Theatre. As well as these exciting events, we will also be launching the 2020 Young Writers' Competition.
Teachers can email the Festival's Education Manager Laura Byrne at for more information.

Author Events

Author events are run for primary and secondary schools as motivators to encourage literacy. These range from picture book authors and illustrators to storytellers, poets and novelists. Older students have visits from journalists, politicians and screenwriters and writing workshops.

The 2019 author programme included Malorie Blackman, Cressida Cowell, Simon Armitage, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Tom Fletcher, Dermot O'Leary, Greg James & Chris Smith and Konnie Huq.

Previous authors include: Benjamin Zephaniah, Carol Ann Duffy, Sir John Major, George the Poet, Michael Rosen, David Baddiel, Jacqueline Wilson and Steve Backshall.

Gifted Books Initiative

Reading is regularly cited as one of the greatest contributory factors to social mobility. Every year over 2000 free books are given to children with a low socio-economic demographic and engagement in reading.

Young Writers' Competition

Wimbledon BookFest's annual competition attracts entries from 60+ local schools every year who are inspired to write creative stories and poems. The top entries are published as part of a collection of stories and poems to encourage young people's creativity. The theme for 2020 is 'The Secret'. This year's Young Writers' Competition will be launched at New Wimbledon Theatre during our World Book Day Celebrations.

Watch the video below about World Book Day 2019 below:

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Through a partnership with educational film specialists Chocolate Films students attend workshops teaching filmmaking skills. Students are introduced to careers in the creative industries and taught how to tell stories through film. Films are then publically screened at the Festival. The Take Ten Project allows students to work with professional film makers to make documentary portraits of today's Londoner. In 2018 we introduced opportunities for students to learn how to operate cameras for video relay during our events.

Student Panel

Sixth formers from local schools make up a panel that meets regularly to develop the festival's events to attract and engage a younger audience. Events have included performance poetry, the future of journalism and the politics of gender, as well as an annual gig night hosted by Radio X's John Kennedy. This year, student panel member Deborah Ajayi interviewed Malorie Blackman before her event at New Wimbledon Theatre, watch below. Find out more about the Student Panel here.

Stewarding & Volunteering for 6th Formers

Wimbledon BookFest offers opportunities for 6th formers in local schools to steward at the festival. In 2020 we launched a new camera operating training scheme on-site at the festival where 6th formers and young people were invited to learn professional skills Find out more.

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