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Covid spoils plans for 2021 Literary Festival

Covid spoils plans for 2021 Literary Festival

Monday 28 September 2020

Covid spoils plans for 2021 Literary Festival

Next year's Guernsey Literary Festival won't be able to go ahead in the usual format, as concerns over covid-19 and travel restrictions continue to cause problems.

The committee has decided not to plan a full-scale festival for next year, due to the difficulty in getting UK and international writers to commit to it while the global situation remains uncertain.

Usually, at this time of year, organisers would be planning the 2021 event and signing up authors and speakers. But, so far, that has proved difficult.

"As you know, 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," said Festival Director, Claire Allen. "The Guernsey Literary Festival is planned, organised and run by a team of volunteers and for them to see their hard work lead to nothing for a second consecutive year would be heart breaking."

The 2020 festival, which was scheduled to run from 29 April to 3 May, had nearly 70 events planned, most of which featured writers and speakers from the UK.

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Pictured: The festival's writing competitions will still go ahead.

Meanwhile, Ben Fogle's sold out event, which had been planned for 8 October this year, has been pushed back to October 2021.

However, next year's literary festival will still go ahead in one form or another. The 2021 event will focus more on local writing and creative talent, with a series of events organised throughout the year.

The Poems on the Move competition and the Write Stuff writing competition will still happen, and organisers are looking into arranging digital events for schools as part of the educational side of the festival.

If pandemic conditions change, the committee might be able to organise some major individual events over the year, and is also looking at options for hosting hybrid events with a live audience and a live-streamed speaker programme.

"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 continued.

"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."

Pictured top: A previous Guernsey Literary Festival.

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