Top authors head to the literary festival in your living room

Ian Rankin, Peter James and Kate Mosse are among the authors giving their backing to a new online literature festival.

Founded by literary broadcaster, commentator and editor Paul Blezard, Lockdown LitFest has already published a number of events and has many more in the pipeline.

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Paul Blezard said: “It’s truly amazing. Last month, we were a handful of exhausted people with laptops and a dream. Now we’ve got a big enough audience to fill the very largest tent in any of the most prestigious literary festivals and have a pretty lengthy queue outside!”

Ian Rankin. Picture: Anthony Wallace / AFP via Getty ImagesIan Rankin. Picture: Anthony Wallace / AFP via Getty Images
Ian Rankin. Picture: Anthony Wallace / AFP via Getty Images

With authors and audiences coming in from almost every continent, the original idea for an online global culture hub is well underway and is being supported by all aspects of the publishing industry, and across many social media platforms.

Paul, who lives in Warwickshire, added: said, “We’re trying to do the near impossible, we know. It’s like building a new turbine on the wing of a Jumbo Jet, at 36,000 feet while travelling at 580 mph, both exhilarating and terrifying in equal measure. It’s only because we believe in this wholeheartedly, and are buoyed by the reaction from everyone, that we haven’t actually fallen off.”

The site already features interviews with Kate Mosse, Robert Webb, Tom Holland, Joanne Harris, Ian Rankin, Afra Atiq and John Niven.

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Peter James, participating from his home in the Channel Islands, was so supportive he even gave a world exclusive reading from his new novel Find Them Dead, not due for publication by Macmillan until July 9.

Lockdown Litfest has been exploring ways to ensure that event viewers can buy the books discussed, and even receive signed copies. “It’s part of the DNA of Lockdown Litfest that we support authors and readers,” said Paul, “but we also want to back independent bookshops that are the heart of so many high streets and communities, and whose knowledge and passion are so vital to authors and publishers alike.”

The site is currently free to view at