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Wimbledon BookFest

Wimbledon BookFest, Wimbledon Common, SW19 5AZ; Thu 4 Oct--Sun 14; events taking place at different times and range from £10 to £25

Wimbledon BookFest, now in its twelfth year, returns 4-14 October with a diverse programme of talks, debates and workshops showcasing literary names, politics, current affairs, sport, film, music, children’s events and much more in the Big Tent on Wimbledon Common.

The festival will open with broadcaster and bestselling author Graham Norton discussing his new novel, A Keeper , with Andrew O’Hagan, and will also welcome novelists Pat Barker, Sebastian Faulks, Patrick Gale, Lionel Shriver, Imogen Hermes Gower and Hanan Al-Shaykh, a big name in the Arab World. Lionel Shriver’s short story collection Property is the ‘Festival Reads’ title for 2018 with copies available in Merton Libraries throughout the summer.

An expanded comedy of programmes is headlined by Alan Davies, Ed Byrne and Mark Watson, while comedian and author Adam Kay discusses This Is Going To Hurt, his hilarious and heart-breaking account of being a junior doctor.

Chef and cookery writer Yotam Ottolenghi celebrates the publication of his new book, Simple, while legendary musician Billy Bragg is in conversation with Radio X DJ John Kennedy. Sports fans won’t want to miss rugby legends Brian Moore and Rob Andrew.

A packed children’s programme features Radio 1 presenters Greg James and Chris Smith talking about their book, Kid Normal , and Sophie Kinsella, author of the Shopaholic titles, will introduce her new children’s book, Mummy, Fairy and Me .

As ever, the programme features a lively politics and current affairs strand. Former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger and Samira Ahmed will be discussing the importance of journalism in a world of ‘fake news’ while TLS editor Stig Abell, Ayesha Hazarika and Jason Cowley will discuss contemporary British politics. Guardian foreign correspondent Luke Harding and Sir David Omand (former director of GCHQ) will share their insights on Russia.

History buffs will want to attend a string of events, such as Simon Scarrow and Robin Waterfield’s talk on the Ancient World, former Telegraph editor Max Hastings thoughts on Vietnam, Neil MacGregor’s talk on his latest book, Living With The Gods , and Andrew Roberts’ talk about Churchill. Former Cabinet minister and anti-apartheid campaigner Peter Hain’s will also celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Channel 4 news presenter Cathy Newman, who has written a book titled Bloody Brilliant Women, will commemorate the unsung heroines who made 20th century Britain, while Zing Tsjeng will share the lives of some talented, inspiring – but largely forgotten – female artists.

BookFest’s Science strand includes Radio 4 broadcaster and author Adam Rutherford and Nigel Shadbolt, one of Britain’s pre-eminent authorities on AI who will examine how smart machines are
transforming us and what we should do about it.

The festival will also welcome the former president of Ireland, Mary Robinson, to share her manifesto on climate change, and Telegraph journalist Bryony Gordon, author of Mad Girl, who will discuss mental health. Fashion fans won’t want to miss writers Hilary Alexander and Chloe Fox and their debate on leopard print vs the LBD (Little Black Dress).

A new ‘My Wimbledon’ strand starts this year with Afua Hirsch, author of Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging , who grew up locally, in conversation with Samira Ahmed.

Set on Wimbledon Common, close to Wimbledon Village, a specially commissioned Big Tent seating up to 500, and an intimate William Morris themed marquee, provide the focal point for the festival.

Events |