The Barnes BookFest

Barnes is justly regarded as a cultivated area of south west London.  It has a long history of the patronage of the arts with a thriving Literary Society which recently celebrated its tenth anniversary.

It is also home to the premier children’s literary event The Barnes Children’s Literature Festival which each year welcomes thousands of visitors, not just from London and the south east, but from across the globe.

It was with this tradition in mind that Venetia Vyvyan, owner of the Barnes Bookshop, together with St Mary’s Church and Anne Mullins launched the Barnes BookFest in 2020.

Delayed by the pandemic, the inaugural event took place in 2021. Speakers included Gyles Brandreth, Sebastian Faulks, Simon Heffer and Andrew Graham-Dixon.

The 2022 BookFest included events covering a wide range of topics: from history to the environment, crime to current affairs, politics to economics. Speakers included, amongst others, Ben Macintyre, Robert Harris, Dame Eileen Atkins, Patricia Hodge, Anthony Horowitz and Bonnie Garmus.

Barnes BookFest 2023 was another wonderful weekend of bookish discussions. We were lucky to have so many thought-provoking speakers this year, including: Robert Peston, Anthony Seldon, Anne Glenconner, Trevor Phillips, Matt Frei, Helen Czerski with Tracy Edwards, Dipo Faloyin, William Sieghart, Oliver Soden with Patricia Hodge and Tom Courtenay, plus debut novelist Jacqueline Crooks and Priscilla Morris, and the exciting Sam Delaney and Irvine Welsh. Barnes BookFest is now firmly on the literary map.

The next BookFest will be on 20th – 22nd September 2024.

Anne Glenconner
Anne Glenconner in conversation with Gyles Brandreth
Audience at St Mary's Barnes
Robert Peston in conversation with Chris Blackhurst
Oliver Soden
Oliver Soden signing books