Literary confessions and festival contradiction
Nicholas Laughlin on the contradictions of running a literature festival

Nicholas Laughlin is programme director of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, Trinidad and Tobago’s annual literature festival. For this month’s ILS Connections theme, ‘Literature, Live’, he discusses the contradictions of running a literature festival.

A provocation? How about, instead, a confession: I’m not sure I like literature festivals.Never mind I help run one — the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, here in Trinidad and Tobago, the biggest literature festival in the Anglophone Caribbean. Never mind the uncountable hours I spend putting together an annual five-day programme, dealing with something like a hundred writers, speakers, and performers, devising them into readings and discussion panels, sorting out their various logistics, drafting programme copy and press releases, introducing writers to audiences, escorting them on and off stages — not to mention fetching them cups of tea or replacement pens, calling for taxis, making phone calls about misplaced passports, rearranging chairs, and the numerous other small tasks that allow the show to go on.


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