Big Book

Shoreham Wordfest presented Alexander McCall Smith reading at a special event during the national Big Book Weekend, a free on-line literary festival which took place on 8 – 10 May.  You can see the Shoreham Wordfest event with Alexander in the video above.

Although the Big Book Weekend has now finished, more free literary events are still available to watch on the on-line literary festival

The Big Book Weekend was a national initiative led by authors Kit de Waal and Molly Flatt, backed by the Arts Council and the BBC.  There was a full three day programme of author talks, discussions and performances. Featured authors included Michael Morpurgo, Jackie Kay and Bernadine Evaristo, winner of the Booker prize. 


This was our ninth annual Wordfest and had the theme of Shaping the Future, with authors, speakers and events which considered challenges and opportunities lying ahead and how we can all be part of shaping our future.

There were 45 events including Lynne Truss, John Humphrys, Stanley Johnson, Dorothy Koomson, Dallas Campbell, Polly Toynbee and Poet Laureate Simon Armitage.

Children and family events including the moving Michael Morpurgo’s I Believe in Unicorns, Molly and Munch in Lancing and Fishersgate and a very popular When Trees Could Speak in Sussex Wildlife Trust’s Woods Mill.

Past Events of
Wordfest 2019

We have been growing since our first weekend of events in 2011, We have just completed our 2019 Wordfest with 50 events and 3000 attendees.  Highlights included John Humphrys, Lynne Truss, Simon Armitage, Polly Toynbee, Stanley Johnson and a special Space-themed event with TV science presenter Dallas Campbell.

Notes on
Our Past Events

Thanks to all our audience, sponsors, community venues and our wonderful, hardworking team of 30 volunteers.  Now onto planning for Wordfest 2020!

Overall feedback on the whole festival was very positive.  It was visible and engaging, with people coming to many events throughout the three weeks of the main festival, achieving a collective excitement and a consistent thread of discussion, as we hoped.  “Hay on Wye should look to their laurels,” was one comment.

The Climate Summit and Young People’s Climate event held in the middle weekend of Wordfest have had a big impact locally and has led to follow up events linking with local and regional activist groups campaigning on this issue.

Festival costs were met by ticket income and business sponsorship. Adur District Council contributed to the cost of children and community. Rampion Community Fund supported the Climate Emergency Summit and young people’s Climate event. 

A few of our
2019 Speakers

John Humphrys


This will be one of his first appearances since leaving Today, BBC Radio 4’s flagship current affairs programme.

Dorothy Koomson


She discusses her new gripping emotional thriller Tell Me Your Secret

Dallas Campbell


An Illustrated Guide to Leaving the Planet and stunning archive footage and clips from his TV science programmes.

Lynne Truss


Beth Miller, fellow author, will interview Lynne about her fiction writing, including her new book, and will help us discover more about this much-loved writer.


By bringing together so many different thinkers, practitioners, activists, community leaders and policymakers from an ever-evolving spectrum of disciplines, New Partners has guided a strong and diverse movement grounded in the values of sustainable communities for over a decade.

The love of reading isn’t the only thing that makes literary festivals popular, the love all of all art forms and forms of expression are what makes them so enjoyable. It’s not just a place to watch debates play out on stage, hear the words of established authors , and discover new writers.

Literary festivals are a way to connect with like-minded people, who enjoy a good book and the creative  scene, and who also appreciate the hidden gems in the world of art and theatre. It is  an excellent opportunity to peer out from behind your books or group of close friends and socialise.

The literary festival is now, more than ever, an important part of our calendars.

Without leaving Shoreham, or wherever you live, you can travel to any destination your heart desires, while sipping on a cup of tea and mingling with other festival goers. Even time travel is possible at a literary festival. Figuratively speaking of course.

If you’re not feeling satisfied with   the present age , why not take a trip to the past and get lost in a bygone era?  You could try travelling to the future, travel to other parts of the world, meet mystical and mythical creatures when you arrive at your destination.