Evaristo, Webb and Gaiman join BBC Arts Big Book Weekend

Evaristo, Webb and Gaiman join BBC Arts Big Book Weekend

Bernardine Evaristo, Robert Webb and Neil Gaiman are among the line-up for the Big Book Weekend, a three-day virtual festival supported by BBC Arts.

Co-founded by Kit de Waal and Molly Flatt and produced by the online book festival site MyVLF, the, the event takes place on the 8th May bank holiday weekend. It will feature video interviews, panel discussions, and in conversation sessions.

Among the highlights will be Evaristo discussing her Booker Prize-winning novel Girl, Woman, Other (Hamish Hamilton) with Creative Scotland's Mairi Kidd.

Elsewhere, Webb will discuss his books with literary journalist Alex Clark while Gaiman celebrates 100 years since the birth of fantasy and sci-fi guru Ray Bradbury with biographer Sam Weller.

Lamia Dabboussy, editor of BBC Arts, said: “Kit and Molly have put together a stellar line up for The Big Book Weekend. With so many highlights to choose from, there’s an event for people of all ages and literary tastes. BBC Arts is delighted to support the festival, and in doing so many of the cancelled literary festivals around the UK, while offering audiences unique books programming during national lockdown.”

The line-up also sees Maggie O'Farrell chat to Damian Barr, Alexander McCall Smith reading an uplifting message to readers and festival organisers, and Michael Morpurgo talking to Clare Mulley about his Second World War books for children.

Marian Keyes and Sir Tim Rice have also joined the bill along with Luke Jennings, who was first announced last week

De Waal said: “It has been a joy working with so many of the literary festivals around the UK in bringing some of their events to an online audience. Molly and I have curated the events to offer something for everyone, and I’m particularly excited by our opening event on Friday, with Maggie O’Farrell in conversation with Damian Barr on why books festivals are so important, particularly at a time like this.

Flatt added: “I’m delighted to reveal the full line-up of The Big Book Weekend, which Kit and I thoroughly enjoyed putting together. The technology from MyVLF has enabled us to bring the feel of a real-life books festival to an online audience and I can’t wait for the events to begin on Friday 8th May. In particular, I’m looking forward to our two events commemorating VE day – Michael Morpurgo on his bestselling Second World War books for children, and Sir Terry Waite on how to cope in solitude.”

The full line-up and further details are available on the festival website