Virtual book festival line-up announced

The three-day event ‘brings together the best of the cancelled UK literary festivals,' organisers say.

Killing Eve writer Luke Jennings, actor Robert Webb and Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo are to take part in a virtual book festival.

The Big Book Weekend will be broadcast during the first Bank Holiday weekend in May.

The three-day event “brings together the best of the cancelled UK literary festivals”, organisers say.

It will feature video interviews, panel discussions and “in conversation” sessions.

Terry Waite is taking part
Terry Waite is taking part (Yui Mok/PA)

Former hostage Terry Waite will talk about how to cope with solitude at the event.

It will also feature Alexander McCall Smith, Maggie O’Farrell, Marian Keyes, Neil Gaiman and Michael Morpurgo, while Sir Tim Rice discusses his life and career.

Killing Eve writer Jennings talks about what inspired him to create his female-centred thriller, which has been successfully adapted for the small screen by the BBC.

The Big Book Weekend is part of BBC Arts’ Culture In Quarantine, “bringing the very best arts and culture to the homes of everyone in the UK”.

Author Michael Morpurgo
Author Michael Morpurgo (Ian West/PA)

Author Kit de Waal, who co-founded the festival with Molly Flatt, 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.

“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.”

The festival takes place at https://bigbookweekend.com/ on May 8-10 and is supported by BBC Arts and Arts Council England.

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