When the first Cuckfield Book Festival 2020 newsletter was produced in early March, none of us could possibly have dreamt that life was about to change beyond all recognition with the arrival of Covid-19.  I’m sure like me, you can hardly remember the days when we had holidays, went to the theatre, met friends and family and generally had busy and fulfilled lives.  

The challenge for the organisers of the book festival at this stage is to decide what to do now.  We are determined that the festival will take place in some form even if much reduced. Because we are a Community Interest Company, we feel it’s particularly important that we maintain a physical presence in the village – lots of book festivals have organised virtual events through the magic of ZOOM and while these have proved very enjoyable, they don’t provide the engagement between authors and audience that we hope you agree makes Cuckfield Bookfest a vibrant and entertaining event.

So this is the plan:  we will carry on asking authors and moderators to come for the festival weekend of 12-15 November and we are as confident as we can be that by the end of July, the government will have announced the conditions to be met for people to assemble for an event such as a book festival.  Armed with this information, we can then finalise plans in terms of times, venues, social distancing, volunteers etc. The copy for the programme will go to the printer mid August and be distributed mid September when tickets will go on sale.  It’s very likely that we won’t be able to sell as many tickets as in previous years because of number restrictions so we will give plenty of warning and hope you won’t delay in applying when the programme is published. There will probably be fewer events and sadly, the children’s day won’t take place this year.

Most festivals have been cancelled up to September but there is one in Dorset, rather like ours in terms of size and dates, whose organisers are as determined as we are not to let their 2020 festival wither away as a result of Covid-19.  We are liaising closely with them. We do hope you agree that by November, people will be longing for a day or two of inspiring fun and intellectual challenge and Cuckfield Book festival will be just what’s needed after this long lockdown.


Please keep an eye out for further information and if you have any queries, please do email info@cuckfieldbookfest.co.uk .  Thank you very much for your support.


Sheila Mortimer

Head of Programming