Lit festivals – how can they bring the books back?

photo 1I wrote recently how book festivals seem to be gradually losing their connection with books, authors and readers. Instead they are becoming celebrity festivals who recruit their speakers from TV or turn into writer’s festivals aimed at those who wish to get published.

You can read that post from a couple of weeks ago here.

The fallout from it was significant. One thing I’d like to nip in the bud is the idea I’m calling for the festivals just to support literary fiction. This misunderstanding might be based on the fact they tend to be called literature festivals in the UK. But I’m not saying only Dostoevsky ought to get a gig. I’m suggesting that the march of the celebrity festival is trampling on all authors whose only claim to fame is that they have produced a book – be it sci-fi, romance, children’s literature or anything else, fiction or non-fiction.

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Lit festivals – but where is the literature?

CEjWv8uWMAAtSW4Literature festivals seem to be increasingly popular in the UK – big ones attracting thousands of punters, little ones popping up like mushrooms.

Over the last few years, as an author with a couple of books out, I’ve appeared at both kinds – and the first thing I want to say is that I think they are a force for good. Anything which encourages people to cherish books is on the side of the angels in my view. And the ones I have attended have allowed me to flog a few copies of my own books – what author wouldn’t like that?

But something has struck me about literature festivals in this country which is that, increasingly, they don’t bother too much with literature.

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