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Monday 13 May

Dr Helen Taylor

Literary Festivals and Book Prizes

4.00pm to 5.00pm

Fowey Town Hall, £8

The ways writers promote and sell their books, and the whole promotional and marketing industry around them, depend, to some extent, on the growing body of literary festivals and book prizes. There is fierce competition among publishers to get their writers’ profiles and works into readers’ minds, and to sell books to keep the whole business going. And while literary festivals seem joyous, uncommercial events (Bill Clinton called Hay Literary Festival the ‘Woodstock of the mind’), and book prizes a bit of excitement for culture vultures (‘posh bingo’ in Julian Barnes’s words), both are a vital part of contemporary cultural industries. This illustrated talk will trace the history of British literary festivals and international book awards, and discuss why and how they matter to different kinds of reader and writer. Helen’s book, Why Women Read Fiction: The Stories of Our Lives, will be published later in the year. Helen Taylor has curated and chaired at many literature festivals. Most recently she directed the first two Liverpool Literary Festivals.

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