Home » Two New Moves by Literary Festivals

The world abounds with literary festivals. Usually the festivals follow a fairly typical format: choose-the-location-and-they-will-come. With the result being many festivals in many places.

But there are two festivals which are writing to a different beat, so to speak, both in the name of forward progress:

Palfest: Palestinian Festival of Literature. Since 2008 Palestine has held this annual festival to present Palestinian authors and their literature. Yet seemingly since time immortal Palestine has also been a hotbed of unrest, behind the Green Line as it were, with Israel’s military presence limiting Palestinian freedom of travel. For example, roadblocks created by Israeli security authorities make travel between towns and cities long and often onerous. Given such a situation, how exactly can a Palestinian Lit Fest expect a good turnout? Talk about a marketing challenge. It wasn’t about to wonder. Instead, the form of this litfest is as a kind of roadshow; more traveling circus than anything. The writers chosen for the festival take to the roads themselves, journeying en masse from city to city. They bring the festival to the audience, as it were, instead of the other way around. Certainly a creative solution to some very real festival roadblocks.

The Edinburgh Fringe & International Book Festival: Begun in 1947 as a way to throw of post-WWII gloom, this giant festival in the Scottish capitol includes artistic performance of every type, along with an internationally-renowned book festival. This year the founders of the book festival have taken things one step further: with the formation of a Word Alliance network, which, when complete, the founders hope will include participation from a wide array of international book festivals from Scotland, China, the U.S., South America, Africa, Germany, Canada, Australia and India. It’s a combined-forces kind of effort, bringing together directors of these book festivals to connect the literature of these countries, positively affecting the relationship of all authors and their audiences.

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