The Londoner: Nerves as online book festival goes ‘antiviral’

Appearing: author Sarah Perry (Photo by Leonardo Cendamo/Getty Images): Getty Images

The country’s first “antiviral” literary festival is to take place at the end of this month, though it has already had to change its name.

BookBound 2020 had initially been called HouseBound, until organisers contacted a disability rights organisation who “cringed at the name”. But, founder Georgie Codd told the Londoner, “there was still time to change it, so we have. This could actually turn into something we discuss at the festival”.

Codd and her team have collected some big names for their online offering, which is free and starts on April 27, including comic Robert Webb, MP David Lammy and Sarah Perry, author of the bestselling The Essex Serpent.

“I, generally speaking, feel no nerves at all at ordinary festivals,” Perry said, “but suspect I will be a little anxious prior to BookBound since there are a number of hazards — the cat leaping on me out of nowhere or bad internet, for example, as well as the existential terror of having to look at one’s own face.”

Meanwhile Lammy, whose book Tribes was released last month, told us: “I hope my talk gets people thinking about a few ways to form new communities to replace tribes.” Now’s the time for community spirit.


Closeted: Annie Nightingale (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Broadcaster Annie Nightingale, who has just finished her memoir Hey Hi Hello, tells us her weirdest career moment: interviewing George Clinton of Funkadelic “in a cramped broom cupboard below a ladies’ loo, at a concert of his in Denver, Colorado. Every time the loo flushed, we had to stop recording.” It’s not all glamour.


Camden’s most senior police officer has questioned the number of people out exercising on the streets. Chief Superintendent Raj Kohli said some people were “using exercise as an excuse to meet friends”. He told the Camden New Journal: “If that many people exercised on a regular basis in the UK, then we’d be better at the Olympics.” Alright, officer.

Sam rolls out of home for a session on her skateboard

Sam Taylor-Johnson made the most of working from home in LA — the Croydon- born filmmaker popped out on her skateboard. Back in the capital, DJ Jodie Harsh was in a bouncy mood, “partying with all [her] quarantine besties!” — her giant wig collection. Harsh has made a Solo Rave mix for the BBC, so there’s no excuse not to dance through the lockdown. Meanwhile, Naomi Campbell donned pink gloves to share a banana pudding recipe. One to munch after all the solo raving.


Lesson: Jacob Rees-Mogg (Photo by Luke Dray/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Jacob Rees-Mogg says a silver lining of lockdown is that he gets to see “a lot more of his children, though home-schooling is not as easy as it sounds”. Especially in Latin. Pray for Nanny.


Sir Edward Leigh MP is creating a vegetable patch. “Inspired by the war time injunction to dig for victory I thought it would save on unnecessary food shopping if I tried my hand at planting," he tells us.

"I have spent the last few days clearing the patch. I shall put in some seeding potatoes and I have found some seeds for carrots, peas, beetroot and salad. No doubt they will be fairly knobbly and stunted, but here goes."

The Gainsborough MP adds, "my son says the rabbits are a bit greedy around here. To be honest it’s all rather nice and relaxing being closer to the soil than endless days going up and down the A1 and sitting in the airless rooms at Westminster!"