University of Roehampton in Wimbledon Bookfest deal

News - Festivals Thursday, 06 September 2018

New five-year sponsorship agreement for the event, which runs from 4-14 October this year

The University of Roehampton has signed an agreement to become the principal sponsor for five years for Wimbledon Bookfest, and will link up for a range of linked events for school and colleges and the general public in the local area. This year's event will run from 4-14 October on Wimbledon Common (pictured).

The agreement, which builds upon a previous partnership, will provide students from the University of Roehampton with paid and voluntary placement opportunities, while staff and academics will feature as speakers and judges. The event will allow the university to engage with Bookfest's wider education programme, which works with over 70 schools across London.

For the first time this year, the university will launch two 'Open Minds' events as part of the festival, a series of short talks by lecturers open to the general public on a variety of subjects ranging from sports science, literature and history. The University of Roehampton staff will also be running an event discussing higher education with 600 school children during the festival.

Other events run by the university at this year's festival will include: Professor Fiona Sampson discussing her biography of Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, on 14 October; Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul O'Prey and former University of Roehampton Students' Union President Jack de France debating the future of higher education with former Minister for Universities and Science David Willlets on 6 October; Tim Atkins, from the Department of English and Creative Writing, will be poet-in-residence, appearing at numerous events during the festival; the university's Robert Graves Poetry Prize winner will be announced at an event on 11 October, following a discussion of a new biography of Graves, chaired by Professor Paul O'Prey. Dr Ian Kinane will chair the judging panel for the festival's Young Writers Competition.

Professor Anna Gough Yates, provost of the University of Roehampton, said: "We are excited to announce our renewed partnership with Wimbledon Bookfest. As a centre for excellence in literature and the arts, with a commitment to educating people from all backgrounds, we are looking forward to supporting one of the leading festivals in south London in the next five years, and to helping with the valuable work that Bookfest undertakes with schools and colleges and directly with young people."

Fiona Razvi, festival director Wimbledon BookFest, said: "We are delighted to be building so significantly on a relationship that has reaped so much for the festival already in terms of speakers, partnership on education projects and student involvement. Education is at the heart of the festival's work and the university are a key driver on this. The confirmation of a five-year partnership with University of Roehampton will significantly enhance Wimbledon BookFest both in our content and audience reach. This represents a very exciting time ahead for Wimbledon BookFest."

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