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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Of Another City's Writers' Festival

I'm finishing breakfast and listening to Books And Arts Daily on Radio National. Some of the interviews have been with participants in this year's Berlin Reads program, connected with the International Literature Festival. Check out this link, go on. In case you don't, there's a page about an event known as Berlin Reads in which anyone and everyone's invited to apply to read aloud from a favourite book in a favourite spot. One woman read from Henry Fielding. Another reader, a librarian at Humboldt University, chose to read poems by one of the Humboldt brothers near a statue of the pair, in Bookburning Square, where the Nazis burned books in the 1930s. How wonderful! ( The choice of spot, not the bookburning!)

And what a fabulous idea! Everyone can take part in the Writers' Festival and share their love of books. You do have to apply, so the organisers know what's happening, can clear it with the council and presumably make sure it doesn't get nasty. But it works. It worked so well last year in Berlin that they're doing it again.

So, what do you think, oh, my readers? Wouldn't it be a terrific thing to do in our hometowns at the next writers' festival? Melbourne Writers' Festival, I invite you to consider it. A Fed Square/State Library event or people could negotiate other venues if they thought anyone would stop to listen.


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