The Chipping Norton Literary Festival is hands-down my favourite lit fest of the year. It’s only been running for three years but it’s the friendliest, most innovative, most inspiring celebration of books that I’ve come across.
I ran a freelance journalism workshop the first year and was so hooked by the festival’s buzzing atmosphere that I’ve been back every year since. I’ve heard everyone from Nicci French (pictured), Mark Billingham and Val McDermid to Lionel Shriver, India Knight, Jill Mansell, Carole Blake and Veronica Henry speak and learned loads along the way.
And this week ChipLitFest showed that it’s definitely ahead of the lit fest pack. While some literary festivals pay a fixed fee to authors and others pay nothing at all, the ChipLitFest team has hit on an exciting new way to address the issue.
At an ultra-stylish party at The Ivy in London last night festival director Clare Mackintosh (whose own debut novel is out in the autumn) announced that from 2015 onwards any profits made by ChipLitFest will be split equally between all the authors involved.
Based on the 2014 figures this would mean all authors being paid between £100 and £150 for appearing at the festival. Not a huge sum, admittedly, but considering that the Authors’ Licensing & Collection Society (ALCS) says that the typical annual income for a professional author in 2013 was £11,000, more than £5,000 below what’s considered to be ”a socially acceptable standard of living,” it’s very welcome. I’m not surprised that writers are giving the initiative high fives all round.
“A literary festival is far greater than the sum of its parts and it’s important to us that each and every author is rewarded for their contribution,” said Clare Mackintosh.
“We want authors to feel invested in ChipLitFest and we love it when we see authors promoting each other’s events and sharing details of the festival with their own audiences. What better way to reward them for their effort than to split our profits with them?”
Three cheers for ChipLitFest!
PS. The 2015 ChipLitFest takes place from April 23 to April 26.