Festivals about books and the joy of reading

Yesterday I attended the Griffith Readers’ Festival, where I spoke about my work and gave a reading of the opening scene from Shades of Farthrow, my upcoming novel. I am pleased to say this was received very well by all those in attendance, and I enjoyed my time there immensely.

This was a rewarding and positive experience, with some interesting people in attendance, both authors and publishing types. I would like to take this opportunity to humbly thank the organisers of the festival for giving me that opportunity to speak before this group. If there are festivals about books, reading or writing in your area, please support them!

We need all the events we can get, to keep the interest in books, reading books, and the people who write them thriving in our communities. Literacy is a privilege that we can not allow to be squandered. There are places where literacy is tragically low and those people would cherish any opportunity, yet in the wealthier parts of the world, we often allow literacy to be wasted on ignorance and on a disconnection to the intellectual stimulation that reading provides.

We should not allow literature and literacy to be so devalued as it is by the teaming throngs who say “tell me when it’s a movie, I don’t read books”. We must strive to support the world of literature, and help it to become perceived as “cool”. We should not be content to allow people to continue saying “reading is just for kids” or “reading is boring.” If reading is boring, you’re doing it wrong! If we all do our bit to support those brave and dedicated individuals who struggle to bring this kind of event to life, our world will be a better place for it.

The occasional book goes viral, and regardless of what you think of those books, at least they are increasing the number of active readers in our society. Hopefully some of them will realise, as each fad passes, that they are enjoying reading for the sake of the joy it brings, and not just as another fad to be a part of. Even if you loath the Harry Potter books, or the Twilight series, you must admit that they achieved this for millions of young people, and countless adults as well. The recent 50 shades phenomenon might do this in time also, in which case, bravo!

Promote reading, promote books, support your local book store and support the writers in your area, as well as those all around the world. They are creating, out of love for the written word, vast worlds for your imagination to explore. Join them in their journeys, and follow with your imagination as their characters come to life through your reading of them. With so much fun to be had, it’s sad to be missing out on your share of the joy isn’t it? That would be like sitting in the back of the bar sleeping while your biggest idol dances on the pool table. So if you know somebody who refuses to read although capable of it, ask them this: Do you really know what you are missing out on? And please, drag them along to the next book related festival in your area, they just might begin to see what all the fuss is about.

Till next time,