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On 18th January 2021 – just ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden on 20th January – BBC North America Editor, Jon Sopel, will be in conversation with Guardian columnist, Jonathan Freedland, to discuss the most extraordinary election in US history, outlined in Sopel’s latest book, UnPresidented: politics, pandemics and the race that Trumped all others (published by BBC Books on 14th January).

In the interview – which will be available on the websites of Stratford Literary Festival and Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival – Jon Sopel, who co-presents the Americast podcast, will be sharing his year as a reporter on the campaign trail, as the election heated up and a global pandemic slowly swept in. As American lives were lost at a devastating rate, the presidential race became a battle for the soul of the nation – challenging not just the Trump presidency, but the very institutions of American democracy itself.

In a highly personal account of reporting on America in 2020, Sopel will take us behind the scenes of a White House in crisis and an election in turmoil, expertly laying bare the real story of the presidential campaign in a panoramic account of an election and a year like no other.

This one-off online interview has been organised to raise vital funds for Stratford Literary Festival and Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival, to support both charities’ on-going work with their communities.

Annie Ashworth, Director of Stratford Literary Festival says:

‘As well as interviews and events, we carry out projects in schools, our monthly book group that particularly welcomes people who feel socially isolated, and our workshops in prisons throughout the country teaching prisoners to write stories for their children. 2020 has been an enormous challenge, particularly impacting our ability to fundraise to support this important work, and this event will hopefully help us to continue to make an impact in 2021.”

Sue Briggs, Chair of Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival says:

‘Along with our annual festival in September, we take authors into schools across East Devon to inspire children to love books and reading. With children missing so much school because of Covid restrictions, in 2021 we are especially keen to help fill the reading gap and really hope this event will help us to raise the funds we need to make this happen.’

Tickets costs £10 per household, or £25 including a discounted signed copy of Jon’s book (RRP £20) and are available now at and The event will available online from 6pm on 18th January until 11pm on 22nd January.

Stratford Literary Festival is in association with Baillie Gifford Investment Management and its Spring Festival will run from 8th to 16th May 2021 in a format in line with Government Covid-19 guidelines.

Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival will run from 15th to 19th September 2021 in a format in line with Government Covid-19 guidelines.

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