An introduction to our festival
We are very excited to be designing and developing LittFestEauze 2020. A literary festival is a regular gathering of writers and readers, typically on an annual basis in a chosen town. It usually features a variety of presentations and readings by authors, as well as other events, over a period of 2-3 days, with the main aims of promoting the authors' books and sharing a love of literature and writing. There are many literary festivals held around the world and in 2020 we are launching a new one in South West France.
In 2020, the historic town of Eauze in the Gers will host to the first bilingual literary festival to be staged in Gascony. The event will bring together established and aspiring writers, established and new readers to share and develop their passion for books and poetry and exchange cultural experiences through language and the written word.
Taking place over two days, LittFestEauze will feature work by French and English authors (and students if we can get them to participate).
The programme will be made up of a range of readings, debates, author interviews and workshops in an informal atmosphere among the cafes, bars and restaurants. Visitors to the event will be able to take advantage of the gastronomic, cultural, artistic and architectural heritage offered by the beautiful city of Eauze.
Reading and writing may be solitary occupations and yet interaction is welcomed to expand the learning through discussion and debate. Reading a book through from our own perceptions, based on our own beliefs and values is an enjoyable experience and yet it can be much more enlightening what the author actually intended, and what other readers have taken from the experience. Add to this the complexity of reading the same book in two or more languages with the accompanying cultural nuances and we start to enjoy a truly holistic journey.
We are in great company. Literary festivals in France are growing in popularity. The first annual Parisot Literary Festival was held in 2013 with well-known authors including Amanda Hodgkinson (22 Britannia Road), Martin Walker (the Bruno detective series set in the Dordogne) and Daniel Crozes, a French author whose books set in the Aveyron have a huge following. In 2018 the 6th Festilitt, will take place in October and it is now an established landmark in the literary calendar. In addition to the writer sessions, it includes a massive second-hand book sale, a dinner with the authors and an art exhibition with specially-commissioned paintings inspired by the books.
Our other neighbouring literary festival is in Charroux. Now in its third year the Charroux festival also showcases both French and English authors. In 2017 there was a range of novelists and authors of non-fiction who all live in France, at least part-time, as well as the historical novelist Barbara Erskine and the literary agent and biographer Andrew Lownie.
Further afield in the UK we must not forget one of the original festivals. The Hay Festival of Literature & Arts is held annually in Hay-on-Wye, Powys, Wales, for ten days from May to June. Devised by Norman and Peter Florence in 1988, the festival was described by Bill Clinton in 2001 as "The Woodstock of the mind". Tony Benn said: "In my mind it's replaced Christmas". Peter Florence continues to be director of the Festival.
The famous Literary Festival at the University of East Anglia has been going since 1991 and has seen countless bestselling authors giving talks and lectures. In 2018 it ran from the 5th February to the 2nd April, featuring authors such as Margaret Atwood who wrote The Handmaid’s Tale, Susan Hill The Woman in Black and Alastair Campbell who wrote The Blair Years: Extracts From the Alastair Campbell Diaries. This University produced the MA in Creative Writing which is renown worldwide and produces many best-selling authors.
This is the start of our regular blog which will keep you up to date with our progress, feature French and English writers and book reviews and other morsels of information to wet your appetite for the actual event.