The Problems with Writers Festivals

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The sceptic in me thinks Writers Festivals are about trying to make money.  It seems to be the big push during festival event time, buying tickets to events and then buying books afterwards.

But I can’t believe it is all about publicity and selling books.

They can also be about wankery, elitism, fame and sometimes literature.

The problems with Writers Festivals are that the panels are rarely about what you think they are about.  There is a lot of loose interpretation when it comes to panel headlines, and then what is actually discussed.

No one is actually handing out advice about writing, or speaking to the audience like they are writers too.  Mostly, Writers Festival audiences are made up of writers, looking for help, tips inspiration and guidance.

Also, writers always seem to want to do readings from their book – which breaks up the flow of conversation.

Writers festivals are about talking and socialising and being amoung people – not reading out loud to people who have either read your book and therefore don’t need to hear it again, or haven’t read your book and therefore don’t want the whole thing ruined. .

So why do I keep going?  Because THE BENEFITS OF WRITERS FESTIVALS always outweigh the negative

I found myself in Melbourne looking around at the audience and realised that I was in a room full of colleagues.  Colleagues is not really a word that writers use very often as it is a solitary career path.  But here we all were, having worked remotely for the last year, we had all come home to the festival to work together for a few weeks.

And work we did.

 

by James Ainley

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