Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Much Ado About Oxford - Row over Speakers' Pay

I didn't realise speakers at the Oxford Literary Festival were not paid until Philip Pullman's shock announcement on Twitter. The author of the "His Dark Materials" trilogy caused a stir on 13th January this year when he resigned  as patron of the festival. He felt it conflicted with his role as president for the Society of Authors campaigning for authors' fairer wages. It's a campaign that specifically targets festivals that do not pay authors for their participation. In true predictable fashion his resignation got some media attention shining a spotlight on a contentious issue. The idea is simple enough; someone appears at your event then you pay for their time, but is it that simple where literary festivals are concerned? Let's see.