Literary festivals are like any other festivals really. It’s a group of people who get together to celebrate similar interests. Instead of food or dance or heritage, it's books. There can be anywhere from a couple hundred people to thousands in attendance depending on the venue and popularity of the festival. Attendees can be anyone who works in the publishing industry, published novelists and poets, aspiring writers looking to meet their mentors, and of course lots and lots of voracious readers.
Usually each festival develops a new theme each year that will incorporate some aspect of the community. Festivals are by no means a money making venture in themselves but they do help bring money to surrounding businesses. Day long activities include readings or presentations by authors, writing classes, book signings, publisher displays highlighting their latest (or popular) releases. If the venue is incredibly large there will be musical entertainment, shows and lots of distractions for children, in an attempt to lure parents into the fold. And of course there is food and beverages offered either in stand alone tents or tuck shops.
The costs of attending a literary festival are impacted by whether you are attending one in your own town or elsewhere; but admission could be free or as much as $50 for the whole day or duration of the festival. Often they offer passes that will allow you to attend events for the complete duration of the festival (usually a weekend). Some festivals can last as long as ten days.
Literary festivals occur throughout the world and as I mentioned some are small and some are incredibly prominent. Check with your local library to see if there are any in your area that you might have been previously oblivious to. Luckily with the insurgence of information and marketing on the Internet you can do a simple search for "literary festivals" and your town or state and probably come up with something to mark your calendars with. It's a wonderful time to get out in the fresh air and learn about new authors and their books. And maybe have some cotton candy.
M. E. Wood lives in Eastern Ontario, Canada. If you are going to find this eclectic reader and writer anywhere it is probably at her computer. For more information visit her official website.
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