Joanna Trollope hopes to remind people that “books are where all the great ideas are” while Will Self has said he will “strip naked and strike a few attitudes” if the audience demands it as the third Plymouth International Book Festival gets underway this week.
A glorious blend of global bestsellers and up and coming talent – also including former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion, ex-BBC correspondent Kate Adie, Man Booker Prize judge Sarah Churchwell, Costa Prize winner Nathan Filer and crime writer Sarah Hillary – will be heading to the South West from October 17-25.
And ahead of their visits, many of the authors have been sharing their opinions on the importance of books and literature in the digital generation, and saying what audiences in Plymouth can expect when they come to see them.
The festival is organised through a partnership of Peninsula Arts at Plymouth University, Literature Works and Plymouth City Council, with funding and support from Arts Council England, and will feature more than 40 events at venues across the city.
Joanna Trollope, writer of 17 bestselling novels, will launch the festival on Friday and said she believes the festival has an important role to play in igniting public passion about the written word:
“In this digital age, I believe books and literature are more important than ever. A screen doesn’t feed the imagination or expand the mind in the way that something on a page (paper or electronic) does. Technology is another way of reading or acquiring knowledge, but it is not as enriching to the heart and mind as works which demand more from the reader in the first place.”
“I see it [appearing at festivals] as an essential part of the writer’s life, but writers – paradoxically – have always had their suspicions about the written word, and cleaved to oral communication instead. So I see a certain justness in presenting my work this way. However, I’m not prescriptive. I don’t mind what people take away from the event. My core principle always remains the same: I just want to be misunderstood.”