Kathryn Hughes

Festival Frolics

Time was when writers were expected to write, and not much else. The particularly confident or clubbable might appear on the occasional BBC radio show, but mostly it was considered infra dig to tart yourself around like a travelling salesman offering a nice line in printer cartridges or ladies’ underwear.

How different it is now. Over the next four months any market town which can run to a marquee and a patch of off-street parking will be mounting a ‘literary festival’ at which you, as a writer with a book just out, will be expected to do a turn. Your publicist expects it, your agent says it will do your ‘brand’ the world of good. You tell anyone who will listen that you happen to know that Alan Bennett confines himself only to the major gigs – Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Hay. The looks you get back tell you that, frankly, Alan Bennett’s options and yours have little in common.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Whom did Picasso label a 'bristly pig'? Read Rosalind P Blakesley's review of The Collector by Natalya Semenova to… ,
    • Alexandra Gajda on Anna Beer's new biography, Patriot or Traitor: The Life and Death of Sir Walter Ralegh ,
    • Mark Lawson reviews @jonathancoe's Middle England - The Rotters' Club for our Brexit age. ,
    • 'Behind every book that is published lies ... a haunted landscape, populated by the ghosts of things written and ex… ,
    • 'We once more live in a great age of dragon invention' Here's Tom Shippey on Martin Arnold's The Dragon ,
    • RT : Man at the q&a part of the book panel: Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't s… ,
    • Here's @epkaufm's Whiteshift, reviewed in this month's magazine by ,