Atkinson and Duffy turn out for tenth Wimbledon BookFest

Atkinson and Duffy turn out for tenth Wimbledon BookFest

The line up for the tenth annual Wimbledon BookFest has been announced, boasting headliners poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, cookery writer Ella Mills and multi-award winning novelist Kate Atkinson (pictured) in her only UK event this year.

The festival, running from 29th September to 9th October, will take place in the 'Big Tent' on Wimbledon Common, which marquee seats up to 500 people and will be William-Morris themed to provide a focal point. 

Its aim is to develop the role of arts in the area, working with local partners including community groups, schools and businesses and, in 2015, it attracted over 10,000 people, plus 3,500 students, in what was a record-breaking year.

Further headliners for 2016 comprise Orange-Prize winning Rose Tremain; adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes; broadcasters Jeremy Paxman and Jenni Murray; politicians Sir Paddy Ashdown and Lord David Owen; entrepreneur Jo Malone; and "Outnumbered" creator and debut novelist Andy Hamilton.

A special performance of James and the Giant Peach in Wimbledon Town Centre will launch the Festival, as a celebration of Roald Dahl’s centenary, with further events for children including Clare Balding and Michael Morpurgo talking about their love of animals. Balding’s first children’s book The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop publishes with Puffin in September. 

Other attending authors include Picador author Jessie Burton, whose second book The Muse hits shelves in July; Hodder Spanish cookery author Miriam González Durántez; Everyday Sexism blogger Laura Bates; Ukranian author Marina Lewycka; and Ben Macintyre, whose book SAS: Rogue Heroes is due in September under PRH imprint Viking.

Bestselling authors David Baddiel, Michelle Paver, Santa Montefiore and Caroline Lawrence will meanwhile be taking part in schools events. While either John Inverdale will be discussing the rise of underdog teams Leicester City and AFC Wimbledon, and Bowie biographer Paul Morley will be in conversation with Radio X’s John Kennedy.

A "Literary Bike Ride", writing workshop and the Wimbledon International Short Film Festival are also scheduled.

Festival Director, Fiona Razvi said: "It’s amazing to think how far the festival has come in ten years. Wimbledon BookFest is a wonderful example of a community embracing the arts and working together to provide world class entertainment. This area has always had a strong tradition of the arts, but a festival creates a special energy and magic by groups working together that is incredibly exciting. This year we are especially proud to welcome a strong line up of female literary writers together with BookFest’s trademark mix of politics, history, sports and comedy."

Wimbledon BookFest last year hosted headliners including Sebastian Faulks, Louis de Bernieres, Vince Cable, Akala and Alison Weir. Founder and former c.e.o of Atlantic Books, Toby Mundy, prize director of the Baillie Gifford Prize, was welcomed as the festival's new chair in December.