Tuesday, 28 April 2009

30 Book Festivals - Nordic guest authors last year

In May 2008, The Times (or Times of London as Americans sometimes call it) kindly listed the 30 best book festivals in the British Isles, all on one page. This was a very useful service.

However, Nordophiles were probably less enthusiastic, given the small number of Nordic authors invited to speak at the various festivals. It is to be remembered that when Britons cross the North Sea in a northerly or easterly direction, the first countries you encounter include Iceland, the Faroes, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Rumours that the Nordic countries are really located nearer to New Zealand than to Britain are sadly inaccurate.

Try to identify the names of Nordic authors on the various, albeit abbreviated, guest lists for last year's book festivals. I fear that if you had just published your celebrity "auto"biography, ghost-written by a journo, had no connection with fiction or poetry, and especially if you had appeared regularly on telly - but are English-speaking - you stood a vastly greater chance of being invited to one of the British and Irish book festivals last year than any serious novelist or poet from the Nordic countries.

Let's hope things improve this year, despite the recession.

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