At a time when the Society of Authors and various big name writers are campaigning to get fees for those who perform at literary festivals in the UK, it’s interesting to read Mark McCrum’s Fest. Set at the Mold-on-Wold Literary Festival, the book has a broad cast of authors, critics and other literary hangers-on – but no publishers. The few mentions that are made of publishing don’t show any great respect for the profession. No doubt if they had appeared, they would be bumped off unceremoniously in this complicated who-dun-it.
Given that the book is published under McCrum’s own Prospero Press imprint, perhaps there is a broader lesson for publishers who don’t support their writers in efforts to get suitable fees for public appearances. The murders at Mold-on-Wold don’t seem to hurt attendance figures, so perhaps publishers should take note and support their authors before it’s too late.
Mark McCrum, Fest, 2014