Deepings Literary Festival moves online for 2021
Coronavirus has cancelled many events worldwide but the team behind Deepings Literary Festival were determined not to let a little thing like a pandemic stand in their way. Here committee member Judy Stevens reflects on organising a virtual festival...
Faced with lockdown last year the Deepings Literary Festival Committee took to Zoom with their favourite coffee mugs, dusted off their address books and enthusiastically planned for the festival to take place over the last weekend of April 2021.
As the year progressed we missed our get togethers in cosy corners and doubts began to set in as to the viability of the date - the journey we said was as important as the event and without the lead up then we weren’t so sure of the event itself.
Undaunted, the team took to the media of the moment and mounted ‘Three Nights in November’ on Zoom to see how the audience would take to a festival in a virtual form. And take to it they did!
They called on Elly Griffiths who, following her triumph at the 2019 festival, had agreed to become the festival‘s patron; Louise Doughty, author of Apple tree Yard and Platform Seven set at Peterborough railway station; and the Cambridge crime and psychological thriller writer, Alison Bruce, to make up the trio. The event was a terrific hit!
With an audience that stretched from the Deepings to Ecuador the ability of a virtual Deepings Literary Festival to reach worldwide was evident.
And so far from being a bi-annual event, the Deepings Literary Festival is now set to provide a programme that spans the whole year with strategically timed events to respond to the moment.
We are reaching out, not only worldwide, but also into the homes of those whose social contact has been severely curtailed by the pandemic.
Numbering romantic author, Ros Rendle and award winning blogger Linda Hill amongst them, the team have set to putting an exciting programme together for 2021 while holding the actual bookings originally for this year firm for 2022.
So followers of the festival were treated to a conversation with award winning author Erica James on Valentine’s Day and another Suffolk based author, Isabelle Broom whose novels take her readers to the far flung corners of the earth. Both events began with a piano prelude from the talented Will Fowler.
For Easter, the festival will host a very special personality; Jay Blades host of the popular BBC television programme, The Repair Shop but also entrepreneur, philanthropist and now author, with his memoir ‘Making It’ coming out in May.
On April 10, one of the world’s most successful independently published authors, Adam Croft will talk about his path to success, which includes the Knight and Culverhouse crime thriller series, while locally his Rutland crime series will hold a fascination for viewers.
There are more virtual events to look forward to; BBC TV presenter Kate Humble will appear at this online festival later in the year. And following the worldwide success of the online Pint of Poetry organised by Deeping’s poet, Si Fox there are definitely more sessions in the offing.
Calling on the help of a judge, Lynda Hall, from Chris Evans’ 500 words story competition a new short story competition (of 500 words) was launched by the team in collaboration with South Kesteven District Council - ‘new writers for old tales’. Children in age categories five to eight, and nine 15 were invited to put their spin on an old tale.
The wings of the Deepings Literary Festival have not been clipped by the current circumstances; instead the sky is now the limit!
Supported by South Kesteven District Council, the live biennial Deepings Literary Festival has moved to 2022, with the usual four-day schedule of
To find out more about the 2022 event, or to sign up to receive newsletters promoting the digital programme, visit www.deepingsliteraryfestival.co.uk