• Emily Prescott

The Londoner: Nerves as online book festival goes ‘antiviral’

The country’s first “antiviral” literary festival is to take place at the end of this month, though it has already had to change its name.

BookBound 2020 had initially been called HouseBound, until organisers contacted a disability rights organisation who “cringed at the name”. But, founder Georgie Codd told the Londoner, “there was still time to change it, so we have. This could actually turn into something we discuss at the festival”.

Codd and her team have collected some big names for their online offering, which is free and starts on April 27, including comic Robert Webb, MP David Lammy and Sarah Perry, author of the bestselling The Essex Serpent.

“I, generally speaking, feel no nerves at all at ordinary festivals,” Perry said, “but suspect I will be a little anxious prior to BookBound since there are a number of hazards — the cat leaping on me out of nowhere or bad internet, for example, as well as the existential terror of having to look at one’s own face.”

Meanwhile Lammy, whose book Tribes was released last month, told us: “I hope my talk gets people thinking about a few ways to form new communities to replace tribes.” Now’s the time for community spirit.

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