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London’s leading literary festival Wimbledon BookFest announces its programme for Sunset Festival (22–26 September 2022). The five-day event features more than 40 talks, readings, book signings and creative workshops catering to a wide range of interests.  

My Name is Leon author Kit de Waal, former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten, broadcaster Mariella Frostrup, actor Dame Sheila Hancock, former BBC Middle East correspondent Jeremy Bowen, historian William Dalrymple, lawyer Phillipe Sands QC, and members of the musically gifted Kanneh-Mason Family are all set to appear at the event. 

The Sunset Festival takes place in BookFest’s marquee village on Wimbledon Common. In addition to its three event spaces, the Festival site includes bookseller Waterstones and media partner Prospect Magazine. 

Alongside the public events programme, Sunset Festival includes nine events for audiences of local school groups. Highlights include a special Carnival of the Animals storytelling event with live music. It’s a collaboration between celebrated children’s author Sir Michael Morpurgo and members of the Kanneh-Mason Family; and author talks by Hannah Gold (winner of the 2022 Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize) and performance poet Patience Agbabi.  



Kit de Waal – author of My Name is Leon (recently adapted for TV) and campaigner for increased working class representation in publishing – joins for a live recording of Always Take Notes podcast to discuss her writing and activism.

Fresh from his research of latest novel Act of OblivionRobert Harris looks at the question of Britain as a monarchy versus republic by examining the 10-year interregnum period that followed the regicide of Charles I. 

Historical fiction writers Kiran Millwood Hargrave & Jess Kidd discuss their elegant fictional interpretations of history.   


Former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten shares his first hand experience of the British handove and his thoughts on future relations with China. 

William Dalrymple, the multi award-winning author and historian, shares the remarkable story of the rise and fall of the East India Company in his new book, The Company Quartet. 

Award-winning journalist and broadcaster Kavita Puri joins us to discuss the personal stories of the Partition of India, 75 years on.  

Marking the sixtieth anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Max Hastings returns to BookFest to discuss his new book Abyss. 

British-French lawyer Philippe Sands takes us on an unsettling journey across international law, illuminating horrors of colonial rule, and the impact of Britain’s grip on its last African colony. 


Much loved actor Sheila Hancock discusses her memoir Old Rage in a gloriously irreverent event. Funny, feisty, and honest, Hancock makes for brilliant company as she reflects on her life and looks at a world so different from the wartime period of her childhood.   

Broadcaster and champion of the arts Melvyn Bragg look backs at the upbringing that shaped him in his memoir Back in the Day. (This event has been rescheduled from Sunrise Festival in June 2022) 

Current Affairs:  

Former BBC Middle East correspondent Jeremy Bowen joins us for an illuminating conversation about the modern Middle East. 

Journalist Sam McAlister, the woman who brought Prince Andrew’s infamous 2019 interview to our screens, sheds light on unforgettable journalism of our times.

One of Prospect Magazine’s 2022 World’s Top Thinkers, author and academic Lea Ypi shares her coming of age story, and explores the meaning of freedom in the personal, collective and political sense. 


Broadcaster Mariella Frostrup and health journalist Alice Smellie enlighten and inform with all you need to know about the menopause – delivered with a generous side order of humour.  

Oz Clarke, one of the world’s leading wine experts, hosts a talk and tasting of the best English wines to get quaffing. 

Meet the founders of award-winning Moorish restaurant Moro, husband and wife team Sam and Sam Clarke

The Arts:  

Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason shares her inspirational story of raising seven gifted classical musicians, interspersed with musical interludes from her children Braimah, Aminata and Konya Kanneh-Mason

Art historian, curator and broadcaster Katy Hessel shines a spotlight on women artists, and asks who makes art history? 

Comedy & Sport:  

Our popular Comedy Night returns on the Saturday – line up to be announced! 

BookFest Patron and rugby’s most entertaining storyteller Brian Moore returns with his popular Rugby Night featuring his former England team mate Martin Bayfield 

Children’s Events:   

Author Peter Bently and illustrator John Bond present their humourous picture books Dogs in Disguise and Cats in Chaos  

Nick Butterworth, creator of the much loved Percy the Park Keeper series, hosts an interactive live drawing and storytelling event. 

Three hands-on workshops led by model makers from Aardman Studios offering the chance to create models of your favourite Aardman characters including Gromit, Morph and Shaun the Sheep. 


You may also enjoy reading about Director Lucy Jane Atkinson

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