I’m a little disappointed I haven’t been invited to appear at this year’s Cambridge Literary Festival (Winter Edition) – I’d have thought by now the blog would have firmly established my reputation, either as a nature writer, a moralist, or as a sort of zeitgeist litmus machine.
But no. I only found out about the festival because it was briefly turned to the top of the compost heap that is Twitter. And I suppose that part of me is relieved. I have never attended a literary festival, but I think I must imagine correctly that they are by turns dull and insufferable – writers talking about their own work is usually like hearing athletes or footballers reflect on their performance: wholly beside the point.
There are, as always, exceptions. Here for instance is the extraordinary poet and scholar Anne Carson, being interviewed at just such a festival more than a decade ago.
Anne Carson, so far as I know, will not be attending.
Some others will, however – among them Clive James, Nick Hornby, Ali Smith, Helen Macdonald, Robert Macfarlane and, um, Claire Balding. They may very well be as entertaining and original as Anne Carson. They may not. Unfortunately, there really is only one way to find out.
The Cambridge Literary Festival will be held next weekend, on 30th November. Find details (and enthusiasm) here.