For a number of years now literary festivals have been going from strength to strength. In Australia in 2012 for example, there were over 30 literature festivals, and the 2015 edition of the Sydney Writers’ Festival attracted an audience of 97,700 people in over 300 events.
The audience for literary festivals has widened since the European literary salons of the 17th and 18thcenturies, arguably an antecedent of the literary festival. Now large teams of programmers reach out to increasingly diverse publics. Part of that broadening includes international line-ups, with most middle-to-large literary festivals inviting a combination of local and international authors.
This international programming (often with well-known authors) serves the function of attracting audiences who wouldn’t otherwise be able to hear these authors speak. But it also creates an environment that encourages debates about common global issues as well as challenges found in specific cultural contexts.
In this article I profile some of the literary festivals making waves in Asia and Europe. You can read the whole article on ASEF Culture360.