Put It In Writing Virtual Book Festival – Introduction #books #reading #writing

I Love Book Festivals

I’ve attended many book festivals here in Scotland over the years. My first one was the Edinburgh International Book Festival (EIBF) back in the 1990s and it’s one I’ve revisited several times since. And having just received the fabulous programme for this year’s EIBF I can’t wait to make a return visit in August. At the other end of the scale in the sense of festival size and budget is the Skye Book Festival held on the Scottish island of Skye which I have attended both as a visitor and as a guest author and is another favourite of mine. And there have been several others all around the country that I’ve loved visiting.

You Can’t Please All of the People

However, recently I was disappointed when the 2019 programme for one of those other festivals was announced and I couldn’t find a single event I wanted to attend. I guess this was mostly due to the fact that there were very few fiction writers on the bill (less than ten percent of the total) and they were from the literary end of the spectrum. The line-up consisted mainly of well known people from television and journalism and yes, some of them have written fiction and some would be attending to talk about their novels. But many of the events weren’t even about books.

Now I should say, I have nothing against an actor, comedian or journalist writing a book – fiction or otherwise – I’ve read and enjoyed many such books. I also get that for book festivals to survive the economics dictate that getting well-known folks from any walk of life to take part helps sell tickets. But for there not to be a single writer of genre fiction – bestseller or otherwise – included in the line up seemed really odd – especially as this festival has always included them in the past.

So in amongst the yoga, live music, celebrities and topical debates I couldn’t find any book events that were just about a good book and its writer. But it’s a thriving book festival and long may it continue. Due to personal taste I won’t be going this time but there’s always next year…

Welcome to my Virtual Book Festival

But all of the above got me thinking. Dangerous I know! And I found myself wondering – if I was organising a book festival that I’d want to go to – who and what would I include? And then I thought I could organise my own book festival – a virtual one here on the blog. So that’s what I plan to do.

Dream Team Line Up

Authors from across the genres will make up most of programme but I also want to include industry professionals like editors and designers, as well as representatives from author organisations, the book-blogging community and book-centred social media groups.

Festival Format

All of the above folks will have their own events/posts where they’ll speak about their work – the books they’ve either written, reviewed,or helped to produce – or the support they offer to authors. And the best thing for visitors is you won’t need a ticket and you can visit whenever it suits you. Events will begin to appear here soon and the festival spots will run until September. So watch this space…

Over to you

What do you think of real-world book festivals? Do you attend any? Do you have a favourite? What do they get right? Feel free to comment below.


15 thoughts on “Put It In Writing Virtual Book Festival – Introduction #books #reading #writing

  1. I enjoy book/writers festivals and attended quite a few of them in Canada. Now living in Spain, I miss them. A Book festival on the Ilse of Skye would be amazing, I think. The Surrey International Writers Conference in BC, Canada is by far the best I have ever attended with excellent workshops and guest speakers. I attended the Winchester Festival last year which was quite good as well. I find these give me the motivation to continue as well as learning new skills and meeting other authors. A virtual book festival is a good idea too.

  2. An excellent idea, Anne – and couldn’t agree more with your observations about the content at some (particularly larger) festivals, as I often can’t find any talks I have a particular urge to attend either. As chance would have it, I’m doing a talk at the small but beautifully run Northwich Lit Fest tonight – a number of favourite authors also attending, and a great example of how to get things absolutely right.

  3. I recently volunteered and attended an inaugural Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Writing Festival in Edinburgh that was created as many festivals don’t cover these genres. Very good weekend.

    • Interesting, Joanne. It’s strange that these 3 very popular genres ( along with romance) don’t feature more at the main festivals. Here’s hoping your new festival keeps going.

  4. […] Hello and welcome to the first item in the Put It In Writing Virtual Book Festival programme which is scheduled to run throughout July and August bringing you interviews with authors, book bloggers and publishing professionals as well as book extracts and, writing related features. You can read more about the thinking behind this festival here. […]

  5. What a fabulous idea – just sorry I didn’t get to know about this earlier. I suspect I know which festival you found had a disappointing programme. It’s likely the same one that disappointed me this year and last year. Great to have walking tours and events for children but this was meant to be a literary festival so I expected literature (not an unreasonable expectation). Instead there were loads of people talking about the environment and Brexit. I’m told that this festival no longer pays for authors to attend which might have affected the programme….

    • Quite a few book festivals seem to be going that way now. I understand they are expensive to run but if authors can’t be afforded and tv celebrities and politicians can (which seems odd) then don’t call it a book festival. Anyway, thanks for visiting and commenting. Do drop in again 🙂

Leave a Reply