Mavis Cheek on the origins of the Marlborough Literary Festival
It’s twenty-five years since my first novel was published by The Bodley Head and in that time the world of publishing has changed beyond all recognition. Small publishers have been gobbled up by big financial houses; the Booker-McConnell has become the Man Booker and the prize money raised from £21,000 to £50,000; we have a prize for women only – the Orange (soon to be something else) valued at £30,000; publishers seem to be in meltdown over the arrival of e-books and the kindle and more and more authors are doing the unthinkable and self-publishing with some success. My own particular bugbear is the rise of celebrity publishing which has pushed many a fine author off or to the bottom of a publisher’s list. This last is one of the reasons we started our Festival for Literature in Marlborough, so that we could return to recognising and celebrating and supporting real writers writing really good writing – you will not find celebrities, politicians, television cooks and gardeners, comedians, sportspeople in our Festival – unless they are excellent writers. In a world where mass media prevails, it is easy to overlook the value of well-written words in all their forms. We undertook to redress that balance here in Marlborough and if the success of the enterprise is anything to go by, it continues to be something the reading public wants, too.
This wonderful market town has many fine literary connections already – Siegfried Sassoon, John Betjeman, Bruce Chatwin – and of course, William Golding whom we are very proud to single out each year with our Golding Author. It would be nice to think that the Festival will still be here in twenty-five years time and that it will still reflect the quality in authorship we have managed to sustain in its first three years.
Mavis Cheek, September 2012
Support and Volunteers
The Committee of the Marlborough LitFest would like to thank the following for their very generous support:
- William Golding Limited
- Peter Page
- Susie Fisher
- The Merchant’s House
- Marlborough College
- St John’s School
- Marlborough Library
- Marlborough News Online
- Pound Arts
- The White Horse Bookshop
- Reflex Productions
- Evolution Plants
- Gazette and Herald
Photography Ben Phillips Photography
Graphic Design Aly Storey – Pink House Studio
Print Thoroughbred Design & Print
Website Design Ghost
The White Horse Bookshop sells LitFest tickets and helps promote our authors. Please support your local bookshop.
We could not run Marlborough LitFest without the help of many volunteers, who work so hard both in the run up to and during the festival. The Marlborough LitFest Committee would like to thank them all enormously for their hard work and dedication to the LitFest.
If you would be interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact us at email@example.com