Wimbledon BookFest Headliners Are Unveiled

Organisers promise 10 magical days on Wimbledon Common in October

Wimbledon BookFest

Wimbledon BookFest returns from October 3-13 with a vibrant programme of talks, debates and workshops showcasing literary names, politics, current affairs, sport, film, music, children’s events, comedy and much more in the Big Tent on Wimbledon Common.


The Festival welcomes Poet Laureate Simon Armitage and novelists John Lancaster, Michelle Paver, Tracy Chevalier, Robert Harris, Alexander McCall Smith and Man Booker Prize winner Ben Okri.


There will be a rare chance to hear from international bestseller Patricia Cornwell. Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat will discuss her new novel The Strawberry Thief at BookFest’s Opening Event held at the Merton Arts Space, Wimbledon Library.


A packed Children’s programme features Harry Hill introducing his latest children’s novel Matt Millz Stands Up!, former SAS soldier turned author Chris Ryan, Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet author/illustrator team behind the hugely successful Supertato series. Dame Jacqueline Wilson talks about her highly anticipated sequel to the Tracy Beaker series We are the Beaker Girls.


Mr Gum creator Andy Stanton presents his new book The Paninis of Pompeii whilst BookFest is thrilled to welcome festival favourite Chris Riddell once again. Enter the magical world of the circus with Nell Gifford, founder of Gifford’s Circus, whilst Blue Peter’s Konnie Huq introduces her hilarious collection of classic fairy tales reinvented for the twentieth century. 


As ever, BookFest’s programme features a lively politics and current affairs strand with speakers including the BBC’s Kamal Ahmed, political commentator Paul Mason and LBC’s James O’Brien. Former Newsnight presenter Gavin Esler offers his take on Brexit and current Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis provides a fascinating expose on how the news is made. Lord David Owen, former Labour MP and Foreign Secretary, discusses his book Hubris: The road to Donald Trump.


History lovers will welcome Ed Hussain, Tom Holland, Sir Max Hasting and William Dalrymple who tells the astonishing story of the East India Company. Katie Hickman recounts the forgotten stories of the intrepid women who journeyed to India centuries ago, the subject of her latest book She Merchants, Buccaneers and Gentlewomen. 


BookFest is keen to share perspectives on issues that affect us today and one of the key strands of this year’s festival is climate activism. Sustainability expert Mike Berners Lee will offers practical advice on how we can avoid climate calamity, drawn from his book ‘There is No Planet B.’


Fashion journalists Dana Thomas and Lucy Siegle investigate the damage wrought by fast fashion and the grassroots high-tech global movement fighting to reform it. BookFest has partnered with the independent climate change magazine It’s Freezing in LA to host a series of events including an interview with Gonzalo Herrero Delicado, Curator of the upcoming Royal Academy exhibition Eco-Visionaries, a film screening and an evening of poetry.


BookFest celebrates the wonders of the natural world with Blue Planet cameraman Gavin Thurston. Author, photographer and TV presenter Levison Wood reveals the hidden mysteries of Arabia, whilst Mariella Frostrup presents ‘Wild Women,’ an anthology of daring and pioneering female adventurers and explorers.


Staying closer to home, BBC London presenter Robert Elms discusses his book London Made Us with Samira Ahmed whilst Wimbledon resident and ASOS Founder Nick Robertson reveals the fascinating story behind the fashion phenomenon. 


Sports fans won’t want to miss Sir Alastair Cook, England’s all-time most successful batsman in conversation with John Inverdale and Brian Moore hosting rugby stars Mark Evans and Ben Ryan.


TV personality and maths enthusiast Johnny Ball tells the history of the colourful personalities and remarkable discoveries that shaped mathematics and sets the audience some challenging maths questions. 


The Festival is delighted to welcome Sir Trevor McDonald on the publication of his autobiography ‘An Improbable Life.’


The Festival’s closing event will be Nadiya Hussain discussing her heartfelt memoir Finding My Voice.


This year’s BookFest sees an extended series of workshops, themed walks on Wimbledon Common, film screenings, a supper club, gin tasting and a comedy night headlined by Adam Kay and Bridget Christie.


Set on Wimbledon Common, close to Wimbledon Village, a specially commissioned Big Tent seating up to 550, an intimate William Morris themed marquee and The Robert Graves Gallery provide the focal point for the Festival.  


For more information and tickets please see www.wimbledonbookfest.org.


September 10, 2019