Literary festival scaled back due to Covid-19 uncertainty

NEXT year’s Guernsey Literary Festival will not go ahead in its traditional form in May.

Guernsey Literary Festival organsing team (28729330)
Guernsey Literary Festival organsing team (28729330)

Securing national and international writers has proved difficult so far since many cannot confirm attendance given the uncertainty created by Covid-19.

Event organisers aim to instead combine digital and in-person events, so that one of the island’s major annual art events can take place but in a new way.

Guernsey Literary Festival director Claire Allen said now was usually the time that authors and speakers are scheduled, but this year is too precarious.

‘We had to cancel this year’s festival with just a few weeks’ notice and we simply can’t afford for the same thing to happen again next year.’

Volunteer teams plan, organise and run the festival.

‘For them to see their hard work lead to nothing for a second consecutive year would be heart breaking.’

Local writing and creative talent will be highlighted during next year’s festival, through talks, workshops, performances and discussions.

‘We’ve been forced to reconsider how we deliver our programme of events in 2021 but we are keener than ever to come back as soon as we can.’

As in past years, the schools writing competition – Write Stuff – and the Poems on the Move competition will definitely be held next year, with the latter to be judged by award-winning poet Kate Clanchy.

Digital events for schools may be delivered as part of its education programme.

Major individual events may be organised depending on the pandemic conditions.

Otherwise hybrid events with a live audience and live-streamed speaker programme may be hosted.

‘And then we can look forward to 2022 when, let’s all hope, there will be conditions which will enable us to have a major festival to the very high standard we’ve set over the years,’ Ms Allen said.

Before cancellation, this year’s festival had almost 70 events planned across six days, mostly comprising of UK writers and speakers, with a full education and community programme.

TV adventurer Ben Fogle was due to share tales of his trips around the world on 8 October this year, which has been rescheduled to 1 October 2021.

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