If we’re honest, the phrase “literary festival” can sound a bit, well, pompous.
It can conjure up visions of a high-end wine merchant or a fancy frock shop where we don’t know what to choose, are not sure how to behave and feel sure we’ll fall foul of any number of unspoken “rules”. It’s a vision reinforced by some of our better established fellow festivals, where the (still) largely London-based publishing world decamps for a few days before bolting back to their leafy suburbs. Those literary festivals, we might think, they’re not really for me.
That’s a view we’ve always wanted to challenge at Monty Lit Fest.
We believe that literary festivals are not just for the publishing elite, established authors or even avid readers. They should be of – and for – their local communities, catering for everyone from the book-a-month-er to the holiday reader or the people who just want an entertaining day out with their friends or their kids.
We want to give people in Wales and the Borders the chance to explore the written word, to connect with authors, to give them the chance to find out more. That’s the spirit behind our “something for everyone” programming philosophy. This year, for example, alongside the more traditional literary festival fare, you’ll find a Late Lounge music night; a Saturday night quiz and a literary cricket tea. We want people to feel that literary festivals are for all of us.
We also want to be a real part of our local communities, rooted in what matters there and reflecting each’s own unique spirit.
As we count down to our first in-person Festival for three years, this is also a good time to say thank you to the very many individuals and organisations who have supported us along the way:
- our funders and sponsors who have enabled us to come back with a bang;
- the local community in Montgomery who have embraced the Festival so warmly, from the community groups who will provide refreshments at the Town Hall over the weekend to the organisers of the book-themed art exhibition and the cricket club who are sharing their 175th anniversary year with us – and more;
- our Festival bookshops, Booka and The Montgomery Bookshop – and all the other booksellers across our region who do so much to enhance our lives;
- everyone who has bought a ticket, will buy a ticket or will just turn up on the day;
- our committee of volunteers who have worked so tirelessly to plan the event;
- and last, but certainly not least, to our authors, who have placed their faith in our small but perfectly formed, friendly Festival.
We salute you all.