After receiving the devastating news that their annual event had to be postponed, Wimbledon BookFest have announced an alternative event will take place instead. 

The popular literary festival will host a weekend of live events between September 12 and 13, in a bespoke open marquee on Wimbledon Common. 

The Festival named the ‘Last Days of Summer’ will feature a broad range of events showcasing inspiring speakers and bestselling authors for adults and children. 

In line with social distancing guidelines, the events will have reduced 

capacities and ticketed entry to ensure that the festival experience is safe and enjoyable. 

For those who will be unable to attend, festival organisers will digitally stream the event. 

This alternative model for 2020 has been developed with the help of partners including; Wimbledon & Putney Commons, University of Roehampton, Merton Council, Wimbledon Foundation and much more. 

Over 32,000 people participated in the book festival last year, with more than, 100 sixth formers and members of the general public volunteering as stewards.

Your Local Guardian: Wimbledon BookFestWimbledon BookFest

Festival Director, Fiona Razvi, previously spoke to Wimbledon Times about the struggles of the pandemic. 

She said, "like most arts organisations we don't have cash reserves to fall back on.

"Overheads have been completely stripped back with our team working on reduced or no pay."

MORE: Wimbledon Bookfest fundraise to survive pandemic

Baillie Gifford, Arts Council Grant England Emergency Funding and community benefactors have also helped develop the model. 

Speaking about the adapted event, Fiona Razvi added: “Over lockdown Wimbledon Common and open spaces, in general, have provided so much solace and comfort. 

"We are incredibly fortunate to have Wimbledon Common as our Festival home. 

"With the new guidance on open-air events and performances, we have a unique opportunity to do something special in a safe way this summer.

"Although much reduced from our usual Festival held in October, the weekend event will provide an opportunity for the community to engage and connect with culture in a live format. 

"The safety of performers, audience and staff is paramount.

"Should the UK return to full lockdown, or the government advise more stringent restrictions, the events will not take place. 

"Arts and culture have suffered so much this year, we want to provide a little bit of hope.”

Matthew Syed has been confirmed as a keynote speaker, with the full programme to be announced soon.