What are lit fests for?

What indeed.

It’s a question we posed in a blog about Monty Lit Fest that appeared recently on the website of the publishing world’s trade magazine, The Bookseller. You can read what we wanted to say to the publishing world here. But, as we near our sixth annual Monty Lit Fest, it does no harm to keep mulling it over and sharing what we think.

We absolutely stick by our main message that small, regional lit fests like ours play a vital role by bringing together authors, publishers and booksellers with readers who might otherwise miss out. At our heart, we’re about celebrating the written word, promoting reading and making real the sense that books really can be life-enhancing for everyone.

But there are many more reasons why we want our communities to gather together for the second weekend in June every year. And high on this list is the idea that we want to inspire people.

We all know what it feels like when we read something that connects or resonates with us, and we want to play a part in inspiring people to find and enjoy new literary worlds. That’s why our programming ranges widely, including all sorts of fiction and non-fiction that tells stories, entertains and informs. It’s about opening up the wide world of books. This year, for example, we’ll hear from Edward Brooke-Hitching, whose beautifully illustrated and crafted books have created a genre all of their own. 

But it’s not just about reading. We want to inspire the aspiring writers among us too. 

Sometimes, this is about listening to authors about their writing journeys. Most authors do not emerge fully formed clutching a bestselling book. It can take many years of craft and perseverence to prevail and there is no single route to publishing success. One of our top fiction authors this year, Lissa Evans, worked as a TV and radio comedy producer on shows such as Room 101 and Father Ted before she published her first novel.  It’ll be fascinating to hear her inspirational story. 

We also want to support writers with our writing workshops. This year, we’ll be in the presence of comedy gold as Ian Brown and Sioned Wiliam lead our session on How to Write a Sit-Com, sharing their experience and tips on how to craft this perennially important and influential comedy vehicle. Spaces are limited (20 people maximum), so grab your notebook or laptop and book your tickets now.

Who knows: maybe something at this year’s Monty Lit Fest will inspire you with your very own light bulb moment.