Digital Recordings

Baillie Gifford

These event recordings have been supported by our sponsors Baillie Gifford. They will be available to watch and listen until the end of February 2024 - we hope you enjoy revisiting the 2023 edition of BookFest.

Tom Holland

Award-winning historian, author, broadcaster and co-host of the popular The Rest Is History podcast, Tom Holland, introduces his third Roman history epicPax.

The series that began with Rubicon and continued with Dynasty now arrives at the period which marks Rome at the very pinnacle of greatness.

Tom provides an informative and absorbing portrait of the ancient world’s ultimate superpower at war and at peace, from the gilded capital to the barbarous realms beyond the frontier.

In conversation with Daisy Dunn.

Anne Enright

The first Irish Laureate and Booker Prize-winning novelist Anne Enright, one of the most celebrated writers working today, talks to the Guardian’s chief books writer Lisa Allardice.

Anne’s work is part of a great tradition of Irish writing that explores themes of family life, relationships, love, repression and memory. She comes to Wimbledon BookFest for the first time to discuss her latest novel The Wren, The Wren, which deals with the inheritance of trauma, motherhood and the separation of art from the artist.

In conversation with Lisa Allardice.

Chris Bryant & Ian Dunt

Two Westminster insiders are joined by locally born and raised campaigner and parliamentary candidate Polly Billington to discuss how parliament might – at last – get its house in order and why it matters so much in this lively session.

Leading MP Chris Bryant, political journalist and broadcaster Ian Dunt, together with Polly, the current Hackney councillor, examine every angle of parliamentary conduct to show how we got where we are today, and they mull over ideas for lifting Westminster out of the current corrosive political culture.

In conversation with Polly Billington.

Xialou Guo

Prize-winning filmmaker and writer Xiaolu Guo joins us to for an examination of her original and provocative memoir Radical.

Xiaolu talks about language, writing and culture and how they inform her work and life. She covers her time teaching at Columbia University in New York and her quest when there to navigate female freedom, a feminine life, being an outsider and an artist and creating her place in this new world.

In conversation with Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

Sebastian Faulks

Worldwide bestseller and master storyteller Sebastian Faulks returns to BookFest with his most ambitious novel to date.

Confronting prescient issues of surrogacy and medical ethics by way of elevator pitches and Neanderthals, the acclaimed author reveals his new literary thriller, resulting in a spectacular examination of what it is to be human.

In conversation with Andrew Hunter Murray.

Henry Marsh

Neuroscientist and sometime Wimbledon resident Henry Marsh explores what happens when someone who has spent a lifetime on the frontline of life and death finds himself contemplating what might be his own death sentence.

Henry talks about the transition from doctor to patient, his denial of his own cancer symptoms, the mysteries of science and the brain and what it is that really matters to him in the end.

In conversation with Sam Carlisle.

This event ended before questions were taken due to a member of the audience falling ill.

Mohsin Hamid

Zooming in from Pakistan, in conversation with local author Saima Mir, Mohsin Hamid joins us for a ‘book club’ event at Wimbledon Library.

The Last White Man was Merton’s Big Read for 2023. Mohsin considers the motivations behind his works and the universal appeal of his themes such as migration through time, being a foreigner in the world and breaking down the binaries of belonging.

Supported by Merton libraries and Arts Council England.

Paterson Joseph

One of Britain’s best-loved actors, Paterson Joseph came to Wimbledon library for a special event in Black History month, where he reads extracts from and throws light on his historical novel, which has been 24 years in the making.

Paterson talks about the inspiration and process behind his book The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho, based on the true story of the man born on a slave ship who went on to be a writer, leading abolitionist and the first Black Briton known to have voted in an election.

Supported by Merton libraries and Arts Council England.

Rose Tremain

One of our greatest living writers and master of her craft Rose Tremain discusses her most personal novel yet with her former student, Erica Wagner.

Topics covered include the tricky transition from child to teenager, falling in love for the first time, unsatisfactory parental relationships, the complexity of intimate emotion and finding solace in the displaced imagination.

Rose explores her writer’s journey and her mission as an author to bring about an understanding of the hearts and minds of all people.

In conversation with Erica Wagner.

Diana Darke

Author, broadcaster and Middle Eastern specialist Diana Darke traces the Arab and Islamic roots of Europe’s architectural heritage in this illustrated talk.

Old keys never open new doors and Diana brings this saying to life as she plays her part in bringing new messages and new ways of connecting between societies to BookFest.

Europe’s debt to the Islamic world can be seen in some of the continent’s most recognisable buildings, thus highlighting the cultural bonds that unite us, rather than divide us.

Introduced by David Shriver.

Sponsored by Marcus Beale Architects.

Will Gompertz

In his typically engaging and humorous style, author, expert and champion of the arts Will Gompertz delves into the ways artists have learnt to observe the world, and how we can too.

Will talks about his new book and guides the audience on an engaging journey (with many anecdotes along the way) through the eyes and minds of great artists – from contemporary icons to old masters – on how to perceive and experience beauty, colour and emotions in everything we see around us.

Introduced by Rachael Wang.

Sponsored by Dyer Grimes Architects.

Natalie Haynes

Broadcaster, classicist and comedian Natalie Haynes takes us on a fast-paced examination of the roles of muses and goddesses in Greek myths.

A ‘rock star mythologist’, in the words of the Washington Post, Natalie is well-versed in taking a fresh look at the ancient world for her BBC Radio 4 show Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics. Get ready to meet the deities who are as mighty, revered and destructive as their male counterparts.

Afua Hirsch

Talking to Booker Prize Winner Bernardine Evaristo, Afua Hirsch experiences a full circle moment on the publication weekend of her latest book, on stage in her old school.

Speaking to all women, this enterprising and authentic conversation explores how modern mainstream Eurocentric beauty standards have evolved. Also covered is the power of one’s body, the importance of building up spiritual muscle, not being afraid to take up space in who we are plus advice from Oprah.

Annie Macmanus

Often to be found on the stages of music festivals and in DJ booths around the globe, bestselling author, broadcaster and DJ Annie Macmanus discusses her latest book with John Kennedy.

Annie’s second novel is a vibrant, unforgettable tale of a young Irish woman finding her feet and her sound at a memorable point in London’s cultural and musical history. Annie discusses her writing processes and devices, being Irish in England, female friendship and how experiences of emigration over the years has changed.

Supported by Merton libraries and Arts Council England.

Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith gives insight into his writing career and talks about some of the one hundred plus books that have been published since he wrote The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency in 1998.

Packed full of hilarious tales from a steamroller in Tuscany to Glaswegian gang funerals, accompanied by Alexander’s infectious giggle, this warm and witty event is hosted by literary journalist Suzi Feay.

Sponsored by Viking.

Advent Calendar Coming Soon