Bemusing to the participating writer, the international literary festival must present a gripping spectacle to the observing anthropologist. Some writers treat it as a brute Darwinian struggle for survival, and to many participants, the festival is an opportunity for status adjustment and display. There are the local heroes with an international fame, returning like rock stars, arms aloft. But there are, too, the local writers whom not even Melbourne is quite sure about. They have a habit of packing their recitations with nine acolytes bearing pre-prepared questions; they audaciously make a point of disagreeing with larger reputations as publicly as possible.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
In The Independent, Philip Hensher considers the nature of international literary festivals in general and the Melbourne Writers' Festival in particular: