e a m harris

Roaming the byways of literature

From festival to festival

search-logoBrowsing around the web, as I do from time to time, I stumbled on the site of a magazine called Stylist. I’ve never heard of them before and style type things are not really my style, but one of their articles caught my eye.

It gives a list of what they consider the seven best literary festivals. The events they list are spread all over the country and through the summer. A quick google indicated there are many more festivals. If one had the time, the money and the stamina one could spend weeks on end festivalling – maybe with the odd music event in between.

Back to the seven best. How did they decide?

I imagine some exhausted junior reporter rushing, by bus, between events, staying in horrible b&bs, listening for hours to authors they don’t read, and then scribbling a brief report at 3:00 am to catch a deadline.

Or maybe a senior reporter samples the most interesting talks by authors s/he has read while sipping cocktails in the best hotels. The quality of the cocktails affects the report s/he dictates to the secretary.

Or maybe the editor calls the staff together in their coffee break and demands they each name a festival they’ve enjoyed in the past.

The method of info gathering affects the final list, which affects who attends which events and buys whose books, which affects the authors’ income and popularity with their publisher, which affects whose work gets published, promoted and read at next year’s festivals, and so on into the foreseeable future.

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