Wimbledon’s annual BookFest starts on Friday 3 October, with a host of talented authors, poets and speakers set to illuminate the town for the next 10 days. They include Alexander McCall Smith, Shami Chakrabarti, Faisal Islam and James Naughtie.
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The University of Roehampton is the official higher education partner of the festival, and a number of academics feature in the programme. Outstanding poets and researchers David Harsent, Fiona Sampson and Paul O’Prey will share favourite works including war poetry with audiences.
Fiona Sampson and David Harsent are due to run a sell-out daytime writing workshop in the historic surroundings of Southside House. Later that day the pair will host a recital where audiences can hear from David, whose work has been performed at the Royal Opera House and the Proms, as well as enjoying readings from Fiona’s 27 books of poetry.
On Sunday 12 October, Paul O’Prey, an acknowledged expert on renowned soldier poet Robert Graves will discuss his new anthology Poems From The Front.
Professor O’Prey, Vice-Chancellor at Roehampton, and president of the War Poets Association, challenges the view that all war poetry was of the anti-combat variety. He will explain how many of his subjects wrote about what they saw and did without flinching, and discovered, in the darkest days of the war, a great compassion and a renewed sense of humanity.
Adam Foulds, who also teaches at the University will take part in a ‘Desert Island Books’ event, and the University’s new Chancellor, Dame Jacqueline Wilson is also involved.
Fiona Razvi , director of Wimbledon Bookfest said: “We could not hope for a more thought-provoking poetry line up than we have at this year’s BookFest, and we’re excited to host so many of the University’s high profile scholars. Students are lucky to learn from people so respected in their field, and I’m very pleased we can bring them to the festival for Londoners to share their passion.
“The rare chance to hear from Paul O’Prey a century on from the start of the First World War about how the soldiers and medics in the trenches saw the horrors, ironies and bitterness of the war will be particularly revealing.”
Tickets and more details are available at www.wimbledonbookfest.org
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