2020 Vision – Call to take part in this year’s Bloomsbury Festival

October might feel a long way off, but we’re already gearing up for another project with the Bloomsbury Festival. Here’s how you can get involved.

We’re excited to say that 26 will be prominent again at the 2020 Bloomsbury Festival (16-25 October). This follows on from our involvement last year with the 26 Leaps project (where 26 of our writers researched and wrote about people from Bloomsbury’s past, present and future); and the writers-in-residence aspect of the Festival.

The Bloomsbury Festival began in 2006 and has been growing year on year. Bloomsbury is an extraordinary part of London, just a square mile that encompasses famous museums, world-leading universities and vibrant streets where the diverse population creates its special culture, commerce and character. It’s an area that’s famous for its writers, scientists, performers and campaigners, producing exciting new stories every day. During the Festival there will be over 200 events on the theme of ‘Vision’.

We asked our writers-in-residence from 2019 what they had gained from the experience? Fiona Thompson seemed to sum up the feeling: “I loved, loved, loved being a writer-in-residence. It was wonderful to have licence to wander around Bloomsbury for a day and discover so many interesting happenings.”

Laure McMenemy said: “I absolutely loved it. I loved wandering around, sharing what I saw on social media and being involved in the events.” How could we respond to such enthusiasm? We’ve asked Lauren to coordinate this year’s writers-in-residence. We’d like a mixture of writers from last year and some new writers this year. Let us know if you want to be a writer-in-residence for one day of the Festival (a maximum of ten places available).

There will also be a writing project for 26 of our members. Building on the feedback – “we’d like to go even deeper, discover more” – we have a project that takes inspiration from Bloomsbury Festival’s 2020 theme ‘Vision’. We call our project EYE:SPY. Each of our writers will be assigned a small section of Bloomsbury as theirs – a 400-metre (roughly) stretch of street, park, buildings.

We’ll ask each writer (26 of them) to wander this stretch, get to know it, discover intriguing perhaps overlooked, secret parts of Bloomsbury – and to write about their observations in up to 500 words. We’ll also make this into a map and a walk that will become an event in the Festival. All this, of course, depends on Corona Virus restrictions not affecting us when we start the writing exploration in June/July – but we regard this as a good antidote to the disturbance of recent times.

You might wander slowly but you’ll need to sign up to this quickly. We’ll send a brief in the coming weeks to the 26 writers who are first to apply. Register your interest by emailing Richard Axtell at admin@26.org.uk

– John Simmons

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.