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University backs Bookfest with long-term partnership

Lovers of literature in south west London will find a bigger and better festival on their doorsteps from next year, after the University of Roehampton agreed a three year partnership with Wimbledon BookFest.

Posted: 28 January 2015

image for news story University backs Bookfest with long-term partnership
Sports broadcaster Clare Balding, who was among the speakers at last year's Wimbledon BookFest

The University was one of several supporters for the 2014 BookFest and was so impressed with the quality of speakers, activities and opportunities it provided for students that it will now become the festival‘s long term higher education partner.

The new partnership means greater links will be forged between the organisers, residents in Merton and Wandsworth, and the University’s Department of English and Creative Writing.

Professor Laura Peters, Head of the department, said: “Together we will establish south west London as a home of literary excellence, which is great news for our students, the region’s arts scene and its economy. We’ve seen the success the BookFest has become and I’m pleased we will continue our support for the festival. Next year we will look forward to bringing more of our interesting lecturers to Wimbledon to share their passion and expertise with festival visitors.”

Among the projects which will benefit from the University's support are:

  • A film project for schools in Merton.
  • Short story and young writer’s competitions.
  • Creative writing workshops for the community.
  • Bringing renowned academics to the Book Fest to talk about their areas of expertise.

Roehampton students will benefit hugely from the partnership, with opportunities to undertake volunteer positions at the festival, as well as receiving tickets to attend selected events. Two students will also work as paid interns to assist the organisation of the festival, underlining Roehampton’s commitment to supporting students in getting the skills they need to become successful graduates.

Fiona Razvi, Director of Wimbledon BookFest, said: “This is hugely welcome support from the University of Roehampton for the Wimbledon community, and we’re grateful for its continuous backing. This partnership means we can bring even more of the University’s writers and literary thinkers to bigger audiences each year.

“Between Roehampton’s increasingly popular degrees, and the BookFest’s commitment to high-calibre speakers like Charles Spencer and Alexander McCall Smith, we’re confident people in both boroughs will soon reap the rewards.”

At the 2014 festival, University speakers included Vice-Chancellor Paul O’Prey, who discussed the work of renowned First World War poets including Wilfred Owen and Robert Graves, plus poets Fiona Sampson and David Harsent and writer Adam Foulds. Roehampton graduate Joshua Idehen was the 2014 Wimbledon BookFest poet in residence.

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