Marlborough Lit Fest moves to reassure public after author slams Oxford for fleecing writers
Marlborough Literature Festival has moved to assure its fanbase that authors are paid for attending the event.
The statement was issued after best-selling author Philip Pullman very publicly quit his patronage of the Oxford Literary Festival for not paying authors for public appearances.
The award-winning author of the His Dark Materials trilogy made the announcement on Twitter on Wednesday, saying that “because of the Oxford Literary Festival’s attitude to paying speakers (they don’t) I can’t remain as a patron any longer. I’ve resigned”.
Mr Pullman said his position as patron of the festival “sat rather awkwardly” with his role as president of the Society of Authors, which has been campaigning for authors to receive fair payment at literary festivals.
Jan Williamson, chairman of Marlborough LitFest, told Marlborough News Online: “We've always paid our authors right from the beginning. We believe we should as we're asking them to do a job and they may need to prepare and take time away from writing.
“We also pay our chairs and interviewers for the same reason. It's important to us as a literary festival because we value our authors and it’s not fair to ask them to do it for nothing.
“No one on the LitFest Committee is paid and we rely on volunteers to help us during the festival. About 50 percent of our income is from sponsors and Friends of the Festival. The rest is money from ticket sales. We're a charity and we manage our money carefully,” she added.
This year’s Marlborough Literature Festival takes place from September 30 to October 2. For more information, log on to www.marlboroughlitfest.o
Meanwhile, legendary thriller writer Gerald Seymour will be speaking at Marlborough Town Hall this month to promote his new book, No Mortal Thing.
It is 40 years since his first novel, Harry's Game – the story of the assassination of a British cabinet minister by an IRA gunman, and an undercover agent’s quest to track down the killer – was published.
The event is organised by White Horse Book Shop, which has picked No Mortal Thing as its Book of the Month.
The event takes place on Wednesday, January 27 from 7pm. Attendance costs £8, £4 of which is redeemable against a copy of the book.
Tickets are available from the shop, or online at www.whitehorsebooks.co.uk