I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Burdekin Writers Festival, and I came away thrilled by the experience. It really is one of the nation’s most enjoyable festivals. The events are well organised, the topics interesting, and the crowds interested. Writers are made to feel welcome, and there is hospitality galore. It’s a privilege to be invited to one of the nation’s most productive and resilient regions, and I’d come again in a heartbeat. Also: the food! Oh my goodness, the food – the paella, the salami, the cheese, the olives, the handmade sweet treats – it’s all so good.
Regarding the larger festivals: it’s quite true that they have become hopelessly infected by politically correctness, meaning its one event after another about Donald Trump! There is only so much anyone can listen to, without wanting to scratch their own face. It’s become harder to go and have a good conversation. People are terribly worried about saying the wrong thing. And they are way too big! You don’t really get the chance to have proper conversations with people because it’s like a trade show. They invite so many guests and it all becomes a blur. The small ones are a chance to really connect with readers, and other writers, in new and inspiring settings. I think most writers now feel the big ones have lost their way.