The popularity of the literary festival has grown over the years. They are hosted in different parts of the world allowing interactions between readers and authors to promote the reading culture. A good number of readers and authors participate. Researchers in the literature field have attempted to find out what value the audience and authors get from the festival. This debate among researchers has sparked different reactions in relation to literary festival and contemporary book culture.
A book on the literary festival and contemporary book culture by Dr. Millicent Weber provide closure on the relationship between the two aspects. In her book, she states that literary festivals have impacted the literature, writing and reading industry through promotion of the culture and creating awareness of political, social and contemporary issues African Literary festivals.
The concept of the literary festival and contemporary culture was inspired by the specific version of a writer’s work and the varying opinions of readers of the work. Most of the festivals will incorporate and question and answer segment which often prompts a debate. Such sessions help researchers to understand the role and value of literary festivals in promoting social, political and cultural knowledge.
Who attends Literary Festivals?
It is also evident that there is a gap between the poor and rich. In most cases, only the privileged that are well educated get to attend these festivals Abantu Books Festival. However, the same can be said about other cultural sites such as museums and galleries. There are different patterns resulting from the unequal cultural participation. It goes beyond the cultural aspect and instead reflects on social inequality. Most of the aspects addressed during literary festivals align with the cultural participation structure. Therefore, they tend to focus on broader issues such as promoting upcoming writers especially those of colour.
Role of Technology
Technology has played a crucial role in promoting the contemporary book culture in these festivals. Readers and authors have a chance of opting for attending the literary events physically or the online-based ones. The digital savvy aspect has been promoted through a big social media presence, well-designed websites, livestreams, and podcasts. The idea of cross-media attracts varying opinions among researchers, writers, and readers. However, whether you opt to attend the festival or participate online, they both have convenience and affordability based on your preference. Some of the popular online literary festivals include ‘Digital Writers’ Festival’ and the ‘Twitter Fiction Festival’.
The ideology of literary festival and contemporary book culture is still evolving. Authors, readers, and researchers are learning that it cuts beyond the social and cultural platforms. The aim is to promote the reading culture and creating awareness on the primary issues while embracing our inequalities in cultural participation and opinions irrespective of the medium used.