2019 postponement

Primadonna festival postponed due to coronavirus

The 2020 Primadonna Festival will no longer go ahead in its physical form. The safety of our team, our artists and our audiences remains our biggest priority and so, in keeping with official guidance regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, we have no choice but to call off our date with you at Laffitt’s Hall in July.

However, the ‘Primadonnas’ remain dedicated to our mission – to create the world as it should be. Please keep the dates for next year free: the festival will be held from Friday 30 July – Sunday 1 August 2021.

Anyone who has bought tickets for the 2020 festival will be contacted directly with an option to reschedule or get a refund as soon as possible. Please do bear with us as we work through this process – we really appreciate your patience.

We know that Primadonna is more than just a festival and a literary prize. We are a community, and one that is needed now more than ever. We want to stay connected, and we want to continue our mission to bring you the very best in books, ideas and creativity over the coming difficult months ahead.

That’s why we’re already running a book club on our Instagram account – this month’s read is Sairish Hussein’s The Family Tree – and why we’re delighted to bring you news of the 2020 Primadonna Prize, which will open for entries in May.

This year’s prize will be judged by a stellar lineup of literary talent. Multiple-award-winning author Elif Shafak will be joined by broadcaster, author and panellist June Sarpong OBE, and comedian, novelist and television presenter David Baddiel, as well as three ‘Primadonnas’: author Monisha Rajesh, publisher Lisa Milton and literary agent Cathryn Summerhayes. Summerhayes will again offer herself as the prize to the winner.

Sarpong said: “I am delighted to support the Primadonna Festival for the second year in a row. The mission of the festival is one that is dear to my heart and also crucial for the publishing industry and society at large. Without gender equality in literature so many important stories go untold and so many vital voices go unheard. Primadonna aims to plug this gap whilst also unleashing a powerful wave of untapped female talent in the process.”

The theme for this year’s prize is ‘the more things change’, and entrants will be asked to submit 500 words on this topic when the competition opens on 1 May. A longlist of 30 entries will go forward to a team of professional editors at a mainstream publishing house, who will sift them down to a shortlist of five. These writers will be asked to submit a longer piece of 5,000 words, to be judged by the final panel.

The winner of the 2020 Prize will be announced in March 2021.

We’ll also be making further announcements in the coming days about new Primadonna events and content. We may not be able to convene in Suffolk this year, but we are working on other ways to come together, create change – and have a really good time. Please keep checking in on our website and via our social media channels.

If you have donated to our GoFundMe page this year, thank you so much. Your donation will go towards our continuing work to bring you new Primadonna content this year, the second round of the Primadonna Prize, and our plans for a live festival in 2021.

We want to say a huge thank you to all of you, for your incredible support for all things Primadonna. We hope you and your loved ones stay well. We keep you in our thoughts. If you have any concerns or questions please email us at primadonnafestival@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you.