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Baillie Gifford pull sponsorship of literary festivals, including Stratford, after ‘bullying tactics’ from activists Fossil Free Books





Organisers of the Stratford Literary Festival said they are saddened that Baillie Gifford has decided not to renew its sponsorship after the end of this year.

The festival has received financial support from Baillie Gifford for over 10 years, but the investment company has pulled the plug on literary festival sponsorship after protests over its links to Israel and fossil fuel companies.

“We are enormously grateful for its support which has enabled us to deliver the festival to such a high level, as well as events for young children and families,” said festival director Annie Ashworth. “We celebrate the fact that the company was not only willing but enthusiastic about supporting literature, and educating its investment teams about the world in which it invests by exposing them to books by experts in their fields. However, we completely respect the company’s reasons for withdrawing sponsorship going forward.”

Annie Ashworth hands over books at Ilmington School, just one of the beneficiaries of the festival’s work.
Annie Ashworth hands over books at Ilmington School, just one of the beneficiaries of the festival’s work.

Baillie Gifford has been targeted by the activist group Fossil Free Books (FFB) over its investments. The group has encouraged authors to boycott festivals and also urged literary festivals to divest of Baillie Gifford’s sponsorship. The Hay and Edinburgh festivals had already severed links with the company while Baillie Gifford withdrew its sponsorships of Cambridge, Wigtown and Henley-on-Thames, in addition to Stratford and other festivals.



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