Big Book Weekend is a free virtual festival for anyone who wants to take a break from doomscrolling, watch some brilliant people discussing big ideas, and give themselves an injection of fresh inspiration and energy. With talks and conversations ranging from WHY WE LOVE A LIAR to HOW TO BE A MAN to BRITISH VILLAGE LIFE: HEAVEN OR HELL?, we hope it’s got something for everyone – including people who can’t remember the last time they read a book.

BBW was born during lockdown in March 2020, when authors Kit de Waal and Molly Flatt saw book festivals across the UK tragically getting cancelled due to coronavirus. Thanks to the BBC and the Arts Council England, seven weeks later we were able to bring 28 sessions from cancelled festivals online. With over 24,000 views over the weekend, and thousands more on catch-up, we were blown away by the response – especially when people from a whole range of backgrounds reached out to tell us that it was the first time they’d ever considered watching a book event, and that they wanted more.

The result was Big Book Weekend 2, broadcast live on BBC Arts online in March 2021, again during lockdown. Programmed from scratch this time, it brought the likes of Ian Rankin, Candice Brathwaite, Lenny Henry, Douglas Stuart, Guvna B, Val McDermid, Julie Ma and Ruby Tandoh right into the nation’s living rooms (or bedrooms, or baths) for intimate chats and debates alongside recommendations for books to keep our spirits high and our minds well-fed. All virtual, all free. Whether you’re a passionate reader or you prefer boxsets to books, we hope there was something to delight, inspire and uplift.

All 11 sessions from BBW 2021 are still free to watch here, and all 28 sessions from BBW 2020 are free to watch here