Cheltenham Literature Festival goes online
By Matt Hall | 22nd July 2020
October would normally see thousands flock to Cheltenham to catch a glimpse of the great and good in international literature.
But due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year's Cheltenham Literature Festival has been forced to adapt in line with lockdown guidance.
Instead of the usual program, the world's oldest literature festival has announced that it will present 100 live-streamed events with a socially-distanced live audience (government guidance permitting) in Cheltenham Town Hall and the Everyman Theatre. And, in a year when international travel is limited, an innovative series of filmed events with major international names, supported by a global network of festival partners and publishers.
These events will be streamed between October 2 and 11 via the Cheltenham Festivals website through a digital hub, where the audience can interact with speakers and other Festival-goers. Visitors to the hub can navigate the virtual Festival site, browsing in the bookshop and exploring activities for book-lovers of all ages.
Director of Festivals Ian George said: "We are recreating the spirit of the festival online and sharing the joy of books with thousands of people across the globe who can't meet in person in Cheltenham this year.
"Since lockdown , when we have all needed culture and creativity more than ever, Cheltenham Festivals has committed to bring its festivals digitally to homes all over the world, for free. As the COVID-19 crisis means we are faced with losing vital box office income from our biggest festival of the year, we hope that our devoted audiences and friends will keep donating generously so that we can continue our work."
The programme is expected to feature content unique to Cheltenham, presenting some of the biggest names in publishing this autumn. Award-winning authors of fiction and non-fiction will join poets, spoken word artists and new voices to delve into a range of topics including travel and adventure, food and drink, lifestyle, history, art and religion.
Cheltenham Festivals add that they will also be equipping schools and families to run their own Literature Festival, providing 30 free author events, creative writing challenges, draw-alongs and read-aloud sessions available online from October 5-9 to watch on-demand. Plus eight live-streamed weekend events with best-selling children's authors, poets and illustrators.
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