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Bookfair 2020 Postponement

It is with a heavy heart that we find ourselves having to postpone Bookfair 2020 until 2021.
We are exploring the possibility of running an online, rather than analogue event this year.

Before COVID-19 came to Europe and the UK, our collective had agreed a schedule to proceed with, to bring you all an exciting, large event this October. We were planning to launch an online fundraiser in mid-March, to be followed shortly after by the first benefit party. Both of these had to be cancelled. We felt that the online fundraiser could not go ahead in the context of so many other economic crises affecting people on a personal level and on a grander scale. At present, people are dying from lack of basic care, and they are struggling to meet basic needs such as food and housing. In light of this, we think it is absolutely inappropriate to ask for donations for something which is not an emergency by a long shot. Similarly, we will not be holding any benefit gigs or parties right now, as it would serve as a significant risk of spreading the virus. 

This leaves us in a tough situation: we do not know when it will be appropriate to carry on with those activities, or the other bookfair preparations. To organise such a large event, we need a timeframe to prepare it, and at present, this is impossible; and it is unpredictable to know when we will be able to resume. 

We do not know when the official lockdown rules and the need for physical distancing from one another will be lifted: or, regardless of what the authorities decide, when we will all be able to carry on with the bookfair preparations. 
The movement restrictions for people at higher risk from COVID-19 are likely to stay in place for much longer than they will for everybody else. This includes people with conditions such as diabetes, asthma, COPD, heart and circulation conditions. This is a large part of society who would be excluded from attending the Bookfair in 2020, larger still when you include their partners or carers. Thus, we cannot predict now that it will be sensible to invite people to attend a large event in October 2020, regardless of whether it has approval from the authorities, without putting people at an otherwise avoidable risk. 

It is also unpredictable how long the international travel restrictions are likely to stay in place for, making it pretty much impossible for us to plan for the attendance of invited international comrades: both on practical level, such as getting tickets in advance; and more widely, as we cannot guarantee that such travel will be possible at all by October. 

In the scenario that movement is no longer restricted for most of us, we are still presented with a range of practical problems. Not least, that knowledge of such a scenario may well not come to light until quite close to the event date. It is, basically, impossible to put on a large, inclusive event with all its trimmings in the context of situation we are facing at present. To put a lot of effort into organising an event which has this high a chance of not being able to go ahead, or to end up in the situation where we would have to cancel at the very late notice, does not make sense to us. Due to the spread of COVID-19, there are many other situations and challenges going on at present, which will take time away from our collective’s members. 

Last, but by no means least, due to COVID-19, before October, in Europe we are due to see a human tragedy unprecedented in the living memory. People will lose their friends and loved ones. Some other people will be, for the foreseeable future, struggling with job and money issues. Some will be suffering because of the lockdown itself. In light of this, we cannot, and do not want to organise an event which meant to be a celebration. 

We will hopefully see you online this October, and the physical bookfair is re-scheduled until October 2021. 

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