The Handmaid’s Tale author Margaret Atwood is coming to Greenwich as part of a moon-themed cultural extravaganza making its debut in July, writes Laura Burgoine…

The Moon festival, hosted in partnership with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, is showcasing an eclectic programme of art, music, politics, botany, astronomy and gastronomy – all seen through a lunar lens.

Festival director Livia Filotico said it’s been a long journey to get the festival off the ground, with organisers working with the Mayor’s office and London night czar Amy Lamé.

“It was a creative response to the 50th anniversary of the moon landing,” Livia told the Weekender. “People are really inspired by the moon especially when we talk about poets, writers, creatives and people who look at the moon as a source of inspiration.”

When Livia first contacted Margaret Atwood’s assistant, the author was intrigued. “I think Margaret liked that this is an event organised by a woman producer, someone coming up with a creative idea,” Livia said.

The author is attending the festival as a personal favour. “She’s really engaged in the Handmaid’s Tale TV show, which is her focus for 2019,” Livia said.

See our Moon Festival highlights

Livia came up with the idea for the festival at a writing retreat a couple of years ago. “I’m not a writer. I wanted to be a producer. I met the founder of LIFT, which is a theatre festival in London, and she started mentoring me without knowing,” she said. “We started talking about the moon and doing a festival around it. I said it needs to be in Greenwich: the home of time. I contacted the council and they suggested I do half in Greenwich, half in Woolwich because of their regeneration. It grew from there.”

“Everyone has a relationship with the moon,” Livia continued. “Our creative strategist Susanna Lees teased content out of me. We didn’t want it to be just science so we started reaching out to as many of our heroes as possible. I asked myself ‘who do I love? Who would I want to see?’ I also want something that the creative community can enjoy, and something the over 55s can come to. I made it as diverse as possible.”

“Over 55s can and should have fun; this audience isn’t being catered for at the moment.”

The festival kicks off with a big public party in Woolwich. “It’s quite a large scale event with people from the borough and the rest of London, even the rest of the UK,” Livia said. “There’ll be 3D projections, light projections, and the best young jazz musicians in London making new work.”

“There’s a lot of creativity in Woolwich.”

The Moon Festival runs from July 19-26.