Line-up Announced for This Year's Sunset Festival

Over 40 events taking place in the literary event organised by Wimbledon Bookfest

A selection of some of the authors taking part in this year's Sunset Festival
A selection of some of the authors taking part in this year's Sunset Festival

The full programme of events has now been announced for the for Sunset Festival organised by Wimbledon BookFest.

This year it is taking place from 22-26 September and, over the course of 5 days there will be more than 40 talks, readings, book signings and creative workshops catering to a wide range of interests.

A host of well-known writers from across the world of books is taking part including My Name is Leon author Kit de Waal, former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten, broadcaster Mariella Frostrup, actor Dame Sheila Hancock, former BBC Middle East correspondent Jeremy Bowen, historian William Dalrymple, lawyer Phillipe Sands QC, and members of the musically gifted Kanneh-Mason family.

Fresh from his research of latest novel Act of Oblivion, Robert Harris will look at the question of Britain as a monarchy versus republic by examining the 10-year interregnum period that followed the regicide of Charles I.

Marking the sixtieth anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Max Hastings returns to BookFest to discuss his new book Abyss and British-French lawyer Philippe Sands takes us on an unsettling journey across international law, illuminating horrors of colonial rule, and the impact of Britain's grip on its last African colony.

In the field of current affairs, former BBC Middle East correspondent Jeremy Bowen will be taking part in a conversation about the modern Middle East and journalist Sam McAlister, the woman who brought Prince Andrew’s infamous 2019 interview to our screens, sheds light on unforgettable journalism of our times. One of Prospect Magazine’s 2022 World’s Top Thinkers, author and academic Lea Ypi shares her coming of age story, and explores the meaning of freedom in the personal, collective and political sense.

An event that was originally due to take place at the Sunrise Festival this June is a talk by broadcaster and champion of the arts Melvyn Bragg who look at the upbringing that shaped him in his memoir Back in the Day.

Mariella Frostrup and health journalist Alice Smellie will tell you all need to know about the menopause – delivered with a generous side order of humour and Oz Clarke hosts a talk and tasting of the best English wines to get quaffing. You will also be able to meet the founders of award-winning Moorish restaurant Moro, husband and wife team Sam and Sam Clarke.

BookFest Patron and rugby storyteller Brian Moore returns with his Rugby Night featuring his former England team mate Martin Bayfield and the Comedy Night returns on the Saturday – line up to be announced.

The Sunset Festival will take place in BookFest’s marquee village on Wimbledon Common.

Alongside the public events programme, Sunset Festival includes nine events for audiences of local school groups. Highlights include a special Carnival of the Animals storytelling event with live music - a collaboration between children’s author Sir Michael Morpurgo and members of the Kanneh-Mason Family; and author talks by Hannah Gold (winner of the 2022 Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize) and performance poet Patience Agbabi. Other events for children include author Peter Bently and illustrator John Bond presenting their humorous picture books Dogs in Disguise and Cats in Chaos , Nick Butterworth, creator of the much loved Percy the Park Keeper series, hosting an interactive live drawing and storytelling event and three hands-on workshops led by model makers from Aardman Studios offering the chance to create models of your favourite Aardman characters including Gromit, Morph and Shaun the Sheep.

Guided walks include local historian Peter Walker who highlights Wimbledon’s radical socialist history; John Wright offers tips on how to successfully forage (and not get poisoned); and a night walk reflecting on the joys of travelling with writer and anthologist Duncan Minshall.

Creative workshops include drawing nature with artist Dr Ali Foxton; insights into the acupressure technique of tapping with Poppy Delbridge; and illustration with Big Panda and Tiny Dragon creator James Norbury.

Fiona Razvi, Wimbledon BookFest’s Director said, “We’re delighted to be marking Wimbledon BookFest’s 15th anniversary as London’s leading literary festival with the second of our summer festivals this year. Bringing our audiences back is of paramount importance to us, and we are very much hoping such a strong line-up of authors and events will remind them of the joy of the collective live experience that literary festivals bring. Wimbledon BookFest’s Sunset Festival sees the return of some of our most loved nights including sport and comedy, as well as authors discussing the big issues of the day. We really do aim to provide events for everyone.”

For further information and tickets visit


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August 1, 2022