World Book Day 2020 Statement

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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.



Coming up in 2020

Coming up 2020.jpg Here at BookFest we have lots of exciting plans for 2020!

On World Book Day we will be launching our Young Writers' Competition at New Wimbledon Theatre. To celebrate this, we are welcoming Sita Brahmachari, Karyn Parsons and Konnie Huq for what promise to be inspiring events for our next generation of writers!

In April we will open the Robert Graves Poetry Prize for the 4th year in collaboration with the University of Roehampton.

Our team are already feverishly working away towards October, for what promises to be the best BookFest yet.

To watch a film about our team, please click here.

A Special Treat: Watch Elif Shafak's event online now

Elif Shafak.JPGIn November Elif Shafak joined us in Wimbledon Library to discuss her Man Booker shortlisted novel 38 Seconds 10 Minutes in This Strange World. In converstaion with Jane Thynee, Shafak discussed the themes of her most recent novel, her writing processes and her past works.

To watch the event in full please click here.


Restoring damage to the Common following poor weather

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Wimbledon BookFest regrets that because of the exceptionally bad weather before and during the Festival, vehicles servicing the event caused some damage to the ground in the area of the Common between Rushmere Pond and the Causeway. This was despite protective road mats being laid on the grass.

Please reassured that we are working with Wimbledon and Putney Commons to undertake restoration work which will take place as soon possible.

Click here to read more.

Robert Graves Poetry Prize 2019 Winner Announced

RGPP winner.jpgThe winner of the Robert Graves Poetry Prize 2019 was announced as Andre Mangeot at Simon Armitage's event at this year's Wimbledon BookFest.

Andre Mangeot's 'Scrimshaw' received the winning prize and Sharon Black and Mark Fiddes were named as runners-up.

This year the prize receieved a phenomenal 537 entries from all over the world.

The winning entries will soon be published on the Poetry Centre's website. Click here.

Thanks again to our sponsors, Marcus Beale Architects.


Pictured here: William Graves, Peter Straus, Marcus Beale, Andre Mangeot and Paul O'Prey.

Young Writers' Competition Winners Announced at New Wimbledon Theatre

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Madeline Harding from Ursuline High School has been announced as the winner of the 2019 Wimbledon BookFest Young Writers' Competition.

The prize givings took place at New Wimbledon Theatre at special events with Children's Laureate Cressida Cowell, Konnie Huq, and Malorie Blackman.

The theme for the 2020 Competition was announced as 'The Secret'.

From everyone at Wimbledon BookFest, a huge congratulations to the 345 entrants for their awe-inspiring entries. We are so pleased have to received such a great range of ideas around the 'Island' theme. This year the competiton received entries from 63 schools, this means that 21 new schools entered in this year's competition!


Pictured here: Chair of Judges, Ariel Kahn, Madeline Harding and Malorie Blackman.

Read the Guardian coverage here.

Wimbledon BookFest awarded 'Tony Kane Cultural Experience of the Year' at Time and Leisure Awards

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The other finalists are listed below:

Highly commended – Hampton Court Palace
Commended – Merton Music Foundation
Commended – Rose Theatre, Kingston
Commended – Surbiton Ski Sunday


Furzedown Festival
Kew Gardens
Morden Hall Park
Polka Theatre
Strawberry Hill House

Young Writers Competition 2019 now open!

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The 2019 Young Writers' Competition is now open! This year the theme is 'The Island' to celebrate 300 years since the publication of Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe.

We are inviting students to write either an imaginative story or a poem along the theme of 'The Island'. Young people are encourage to take inspiration from examples in literature – Lord of the Flies, Treasure Island, Kensuke's Kingdom – or from their own experiences. We are looking for tales inspired by any type of island, be it a deserted island, an isolated city, an island in the mind or any interpretation you can think of.

Entries are now closed.


World Book Day Celebrations at New Wimbledon Theatre

dermot signing news .jpgOn the 6th March, the day before World Book Day, we hosted events with Dermot O'Leary & Nick East, Tom Fletcher and Frank Cottrell-Boyce at New Wimbledon Theatre.

Over the course of the day we welcomed over 2500 children into the theatre. Every child that attended went home with a book (or two!).

Dermot O'Leary and illustator Nick East came to share the last addition to the Toto the Ninja Cat series, Toto the Ninja Cat and the Incredible Cheese Heist.

Tom Fletcher returned to Wimbledon BookFest with his book The Creakers, the audience were even treated to some 'creaker' based songs.

Finally we were joined by World Book Day Author, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, who used the power of story telling to encapsulate the whole theatre. We didn't want it to end!


Spring Weekend Authors in the Press

Fatima Bhutto The Guardian.jpg Many of the authors and writers attending Spring Weekend have been active in the press over the past month, including Gina Miller, Michael Fuller and Peter Prankopan, visit our In the News page to view articles read more .

Tony Kane Obituary

Tony Kane.jpg"Tony Kane, who has died aged 80, was an artist, teacher, editor and community campaigner and one of the best-known figures in Wimbledon, south-west London. There he created the arts magazine Time & Leisure and set up the Wimbledon BookFest, an annual literary festival for the public and schools. He saw the creativity within everyone, and developed opportunities for both young and old to participate in the festival through story writing, plays and film." Read full obituary here.