First of all – a confession. Before I started this book blog at the back end of 2016 and, despite having lived not far away for over twenty years, 2017 was the first year I became aware that there was such a thing as Henley Literary Festival. I know, call myself a book lover? Luckily, I did learn of it in time to attend a couple of events, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. You can read my reviews of Rachel Joyce talking about her book The Music Shop here and Anne O’Brien, author of The Shadow Queen, and Rory Clements, author of Corpus, talking about historical fiction here.
I plan to attend a lot more events during this year’s Henley Literary Festival which runs from 29th September to 7th October 2018. Already there have been some exciting announcements about authors who will be appearing, including Sir Michael Morpurgo, Justin Myers, GQ columnist and author of The Last Romeo, and Sharlene Teo, author of Ponti.
To make up for my oversight, I thought I’d help others to do what I’ve failed to do over the years by suggesting ten ways you can support your local Literary Festival.
- Follow the Festival on social media and subscribe to the Festival newsletter, if they have one.
- Share news about the Festival on your own social media and tell your friends about it.
- If your local Literary Festival runs such a scheme, become a Friend of the Festival, as I have for Henley Literary Festival. It may give you access to priority booking, special events or discounted tickets.
- If time and other commitments allow, consider becoming a volunteer at the Festival.
- A rather obvious one, this – attend as many Festival events as time and pocket will allow!
- Review events you attend on your blog and share them on social media.
- Buy a book by one or more of the authors appearing at the Festival. Get your book signed if you get the opportunity!
- Share reviews of books by the visiting authors on your blog.
- Support Festival partners and sponsors. For example, The Bell Bookshop is the bookselling partner of the Henley Literary Festival. Hmm, I wonder how I can support them…?
- If you’re a blogger, create a blog page devoted to the Festival where you can add links to event reviews, book reviews, etc. (I’ll be doing this soon.)
Of course, supporting the town or city where your Literary Festival takes place can be just as valuable. It’s a good excuse to search out bookshops, as I did when I went to Henley, and find yourself a new favourite coffee shop, pub or restaurant for refueling stops between events.
Literary festivals are brilliant cultural events, bringing together authors and book lovers, introducing new readers to the world of books and giving a boost to local communities. Be sure to support yours!