The Cancelled 2020 Vicarious Festival

When the idea for a new travel literature and photography festival was conceived during the summer of 2019, we couldn’t have imagined the way the world was about to change or how travelling vicariously would become such an important consolation.

Statement from the festival directors (Saturday, 9th May 2020)

During the earlier stages of the COVID-19 crisis we retained our optimism about the possibility of Vicarious being able to go ahead as planned. However, it now seems inevitable that an on-going need for social distancing and the reality of what’s being dubbed the ‘new normal’ will make the festival – even in September – impractical this year. The safety of everyone involved has to be our first priority.

It will therefore come as no surprise that we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Vicarious Festival. Ticket holders are being offered a full refund or the option to carry their ticket forward to 2021. People who entered the 2020 travel writing and photography competitions are receiving a full refund of their entry fee and will be free to submit their work to other competitions.

In 2021 the Vicarious Festival will take place from Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th September. We intend to launch ticket sales on Saturday 5th September this year.

Between now and then we’ll be making the most of the opportunity to reflect, adapt, and develop an even stronger and more relevant festival offering. We’ll be starting from scratch with the programme and are already working on some new ideas in response to discussions about ‘how travel will look’ post-pandemic. Whatever happens, the power of travel storytelling to nurture cultural empathy will remain at the heart of the Vicarious ethos.

To give you a sense of what would have been, you can still learn about the travel authors and photographers who were due to give talks or host workshops as part of the 2020 Vicarious Festival programme.

The travel books that would have been the feature of talks at the Vicarious Festival in 2020 are listed below. Please support the authors by buying their books.

Each cover image is linked to the corresponding book page on Hive. When you buy a book from Hive you can nominate a local bookshop to receive a commission on the sale, which is a great way to support your favourite independent. The Vicarious Festival receives no commission on any Hive sales. The books are listed in alphabetical order by author.