Wimbledon BookFest Launches Appeal To Secure Festival's Future

Organisers are already planning an alternative autumn event

Wimbledon BookFest, London’s leading annual literary festival in the community, has launched a fundraising initiative to ensure the future of the festival.

A key date in the cultural calendar, Wimbledon BookFest offers a unique opportunity for audiences to engage with internationally bestselling authors such as Salman Rushdie, Adam Kay, Ben Okri and Kate Atkinson, and big names from the world of entertainment and sport including Graham Norton, Harry Hill, Yotam Ottolenghi, Nadiya Hussain and Shane Warne.

More than 32,000 people participated in BookFest in 2019 and over 100 local sixth formers and members of the general public volunteered as stewards.

Wimbledon BookFest is a registered Arts and Education Charity with any profits made put towards funding the Word Up Education programme, which enables over 10,000 school children from over 100 state, independent and SEN school in Merton and across South London to take part in a variety of projects focused around literacy.

Although the World Book Day event for over 1,000 school children at the New Wimbledon Theatre in March was cancelled, the annual Young Writers competition is still going ahead and has received a record number of entries.

The BookFest team had already spent many months curating an exciting programme for autumn 2020 when the pandemic hit, and are currently developing an alternative model with partners including Merton Libraries, University of Roehampton, publishers and authors. The Robert Graves Poetry Prize has recently been launched and further plans for the Festival will be announced soon.

Wimbledon BookFest tentFiona Razvi, Festival Director says: “Our spirits have been really lifted by the donations and messages of support we’ve received from the public. We still have some way to go to raise the funds that we need to continue, but the communities of Wimbledon and Merton have told us quite clearly that they value what the festival brings to the area and want us to go on. We very much hope that we will be here for them, providing a cultural offering to look forward to this autumn and in the longer term - when we will once again be back in the magical setting of Wimbledon Common.

“Like most arts organisations we don't have cash reserves to fall back on. Overheads have been completely stripped back with our team now working on reduced or no pay. We're applying to the limited funding sources available to the arts, but we still need to raise around £25k to keep going beyond Covid-19.

“The lockdown has had many awful and tragic consequences but it has also highlighted just how important culture is to us all and how it can help us to connect, lift our spirits and support our mental health.

“The community has always so generously supported the Festival and we are asking now if you might be able to help us with a donation to ensure we are here beyond Covid-19. Please support our appeal if you can.”

“Do contact us at info@wimbledonbookfest.org if you would like more information on supporting us whether you are an individual or business.”

For further information please visit www.wimbledonbookfest.org.

May 21, 2020