Books are back at Wimbledon’s Sunset Festival this autumn

Sunset Festival will take place in Covid-secure marquees on Wimbledon Common

It’s just three weeks to go before Wimbledon BookFest returns to the borough for Sunset Festival, which takes place over five days from 15 September. Hosted in Covid-secure marquees on Wimbledon Common, as pioneered during the Sunrise event which took place in June, there will be more than 40 talks and workshops from a host of diverse and fascinating personalities.  

Filed under authors behaving badly, music legend John Cooper Clarke, the “poet laureate of punk”, will review his incredible career through his memoir I Wanna Be Yours, while BAFTA-winning actor Miriam Margolyes’s autobiography promises to be naughty and entertaining as you would expect.   

Elif Shafak, the award-winning political activist and author who has been hailed as Turkey’s finest novelist, will discuss her latest novel The Island of Missing Trees, while Sebastian Faulks, who wrote the First World War novel Birdsong, presents the gripping Snow Country, returning to the terrain of his previous book Human Traces.  

From the world of politics, the outspoken Labour MP Jess Phillips will talk about her life in the House of Commons as laid out in the hilarious and insightful Everything You Really Need to Know About Politics, and ITN’s political editor Robert Peston will discuss the skullduggery of modern Westminster life with Labour’s former deputy leader Tom Watson. Former Liberal Democrat leader and business secretary Vince Cable will also be discussing the role of China as a global superpower.  

Professional polymath AC Grayling delves into science, history and psychology in his book The Frontiers of Knowledge, and there will be a more light-hearted take on the mysteries of the universe from the QI Elves – the team behind the hit TV quiz show.   

Sports fans can enjoy being regaled with rugby union stories from England legend and BookFest regular Brian Moore during an informal evening of conversation about the sport, and AFC Wimbledon fans will enjoy hearing Erik Samuelson, the club’s former finance director and then CEO, discuss the miraculous story of AFC with fan comedian Geoff Norcott, best known for The Mash Report, interviewing.  

Addressing the challenges of and need for actual ‘real life’ events, Fiona Razvi, Sunset festival director, says: “Wimbledon BookFest is all about the shared, social experience, so physical events are the essence of what we do. 

“For our community, it’s all about being in the room: that unique opportunity to meet and hear from great writers and thinkers in person. You can’t really bottle the magic of that experience.” 

For detail of what’s on, go to the Wimbledon Bookfest website