Laura Parker takes your hand and leads you through a weekend at a literary festival.
- What is a literary festival?
It’s a series of events where authors talk about their books. You can come and listen, join in discussions, and ask questions (if you want to). You can meet your favourite writers, discover new ones, and be with people who share your interests. It’s usually a brilliant, friendly, inclusive space. At the nicest literary festivals, like, for example, ChipLitFest, there will genuinely be something for everyone. Our children’s programme brings in brilliant storytellers and illustrators who can ignite a lifelong passion for reading and writing. One of ChipLitFest’s aims is to encourage a love of books.
- Literary, literature, what’s the difference?
Don’t be put off by these terms. It’s just another way of saying books! We like to say LitFest, too, but only because it’s shorter.
- Do I need to read the books in advance?
No – many books will have only just been published and there is no expectation that you will have read them beforehand. A literary festival is a great way to learn about a recent book or encounter an author you are not familiar with. You may find a new favourite writer!
- What’s the format for each session?
It varies. Often there will be an interviewer who will ask the author (or authors, sometimes we bring two or more together) about their work, their approach to writing and what inspired them. Usually an author will read a short section or two of their work. Some prefer to talk direct to the audience, lecture-style, or use slides. The audience will always get a chance to ask questions.
- Is there participation?
Only if you want to! Some of our most popular sessions involve food and drink writers who demonstrate their craft and hand out samples. We also offer writers’ workshops which definitely are interactive – you need to bring your ideas and be ready for discussion and inspiration with some wonderful writers who are happy to share their craft and generous with their top tips, so you can become a better writer yourself. There is one workshop with agent Yasmin Kane, Creativity, that isn't only about getting your novel written, it's about tapping into your creative potential, something you might apply to many aspects of your life.
- Is it all about fiction? I’m more of a facts person, will there be anything for me?
At least two-thirds of our sessions are non-fiction, ranging from biographies and memoirs to nature writing, science, music, art and poetry. Many of our authors are experts in their fields and you can learn so much from them.
- I don’t read many books, why would I want to come?
You might still want to meet or share space with a broadcaster (for example BBC Radio 4’s Justin Webb and Jim Al-Khalili) or a TV personality (such as The Fast Show’s Charlie Higson). You might want to be entertained with amusing anecdotes, or learn something new. Lots of our sessions are like listening to a fascinating podcast: Shimrit Janes and Paul Miller draw on patterns from the natural world to improve and enhance the workplace; Jack Meaning and Rupal Patel from the Bank of England hope to demystify economics in Can't We Just Print More Money? You might want to do something that supports reading and literacy in local schools. Maybe you just want to come in out of the rain. You are very welcome to join us.
- Is it expensive?
Tickets start at £2.50 for children’s shows. Adult tickets range from £5-£12, and some sessions are free. Workshops start from £18.
- Can I buy books there?
Yes, our wonderful local bookshop, Jaffé & Neale, has pop-up stores at key venues and its main store is open throughout the weekend. Authors will stay behind after every session to sign books and that’s a great time to chat to them and ask the question you were too shy to ask in the room.
- Why should I come to ChipLitFest?
You will be part of a celebration of books taking place in the heart of our vibrant, characterful and friendly Cotswold town. You will join lots of other people with a wide range of interests. Many people make a weekend of it and stay in some of the welcoming local pubs and self-catering accommodation, also taking in nearby attractions and exploring local shops and places to eat and drink.
Come join us! ChipLitFest runs from 21-24 April 2022. www.chiplitfest.com