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Exploring the post-pandemic landscape of Scottish Literary Festivals

Where Do We Go From Here?

The entrance to Edinburgh International Book Festival

By Lee Randall, Funded by Creative Scotland

Scotland’s Book & Literature Festivals have an international reputation for excellence and provide year-round opportunities for readers to meet their favourite authors and discover new voices. They also play a key role in networking authors, publishers, literary agents and programmer, run specialised programmes for schools and other partners, and are the starting point for our next generations of writers to be inspired, connected and welcomed. When the COVID-19 crisis hit in 2020, these festivals had to pivot to digital and adapt their ways of working at speed, finding new ways to reach audiences, support authors and retain sponsors.

This engaging and comprehensive report from freelance Programmer and Interviewer, Lee Randall, captures the significant shift to digital bookish activity in Scotland and further afield as 2020’s lockdown of Festival season stretched on; the lessons learned, the opportunities discovered and those left by the wayside. She interviews a wide range of stakeholders from programmers to technicians, from authors to publicists, and with her customary dry wit she picks out the important questions as the sector begins to look to a future lifting of social-distancing restrictions and a likely hybrid future.

Originally commissioned as part of the re-establishment of the Scottish Book Festivals Network, this report is essential reading for anyone involved in digital delivery of events, author promotion, and audience development. It covers thorny issues such as monetisation, accessibility, audience development and digital burnout through a mixture of research-informed writing, expert interviews and real-life case-studies.

Download the report