The Wimbledon Book Festival is different this year. It normally lasts 10 days but this year it’s happening in 2 parts. The first part – the Sunrise Festival – has just happened and was very well attended when I went. The second part – the Sunset Festival – will be taking place in September 2021.
The Sunrise Festival:
I chose the hottest day of the year to attend a talk by 2 local novelists. The first was Jane Thynne, author of Widowland, which was set in 1953 in London under Nazi rule, and the second was Aliya Ali Afzal who has written a novel set in Wimbledon called Would I Lie to You which is about a woman spending all her money. They both sounded very readable and we had a choice of one of the books included in the ticket price.
The event took place in the Robert Graves Tent, named after the poet and novelist who was born in Wimbledon in 1895. Everyone working there was very friendly and social distancing rules were followed to the letter.
Other speakers who appeared at the book festival this year to talk about books they had written included Ed Miliband, Michael Morpurgo and Frank Skinner. I attended several years ago for a talk by Alison Weir, who writes novels set in Tudor times. She’s a wonderful novelist and speaker.
The Sunset Festival:
The second part of the Wimbledon Book Festival takes place from 15-19 September 2021 and details of speakers will be announced nearer the time. I always enjoy it and intend to go again.
A few practical details:
The venue is a couple of huge tents on Wimbledon Common near the war memorial. Tickets for the Sunset Festival will be available on the website. There are lots of shops, cafes and restaurants in the High Street nearby.
It’s easy to get to by public transport. Any bus between Wimbledon and Putney will take you to the war memorial and from there you can see the big tents. The nearest overground railway station is Wimbledon and the tube stations are Wimbledon and Wimbledon Park.
Other things to do in Wimbledon include tennis, scenic walks on the common and visiting Wimbledon Windmill which re-opens on 3 July 2021. It is a beautiful historic building and entry is free.
See the menu on the left for more ideas of places to go this summer.