Authors have come together to launch a new online literary festival—BookBound 2020 —bringing names such as Robert Webb, David Lammy and Sarah Perry together with emerging authors from across the globe.
Billed as "the world’s first antiviral festival", running from 27th April to 3rd May 2020, the festival founder is author Georgie Codd (pictured) and it has been created by a volunteer group of book-lovers and authors, in partnership with Wasafiri magazine.
The programme will be a mixture of live stream author-to-author conversations, pre-recorded readings and children's storytimes, all accessible for free online via BookBound 2020’s dedicated YouTube channel.
Perry, author of The Essex Serpent, said she was thrilled to be involved, hailing it "a balm to the mind and soul, and a happy distraction in these strange times", and Intisar Khanani, author of Thorn and The Sunbolt Chronicles, said: "in a time when many of us are at home and feeling distanced from those we love, BookBound 2020 will bring us together around the power of stories—to uplift us, to build compassion, and to help us weather the road ahead." Also on the line-up is emerging writerly talent including Hong Kong-born poet Jennifer Wong and British feminist writer Lola Olufemi.
Throughout the festival, BookBound 2020 will be fundraising in aid of mental health charity Mind, which has been "inundated" amid the lockdown, according to Codd.
Any donations will go to support the charity's essential work over the coming months while, during the festival, speakers will also be championing their favourite independent bookshops with viewers able to buy books directly through them in a special arrangement with the online bookstore Hive.
Codd, author of We Swim to the Shark (Fleet), explained she created the festival to help plug some of the gaps in the literary calendar, noting many people were feeling "totally disconnected" in these times of social isolation.
"For debut authors like myself, this year’s literary festivals promised to offer great opportunities to promote our work and connect with established writers. Following widespread cancellations, and the restrictions now in place, many authors, readers and publishing houses have been left feeling totally disconnected," said Codd.
"We set up BookBound 2020 with a hope to fill some of the gaps in the literary calendar, create links between authors old and new, and provide engaging, freely-accessible events to readers – all while collecting online donations in aid of Mind for mental health."
Malachi McIntosh, editor of Wasafiri, added: "It’s a pleasure to be partnered on the BookBound 2020 Literary Festival. Our aim at Wasafiri is to transcend national borders by bringing the best of the world’s writers to new audiences. This aligns perfectly with the festival’s aims and it’s a particular honour to be working on something like this now, at such a troubled time, and to be doing so in the service of a good cause."
More information can be found on the festival's website and on its Instagram and Twitter via @BookBound2020.