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Patterns of Attendance and Experience

  • Millicent Weber
Chapter
Part of the New Directions in Book History book series (NDBH)

Abstract

This chapter employs empirical data collected onsite at five literary festivals in Australia and the United Kingdom to develop and test the conceptual framework proposed in Chap.  2. In doing so, this chapter identifies and explores the ways in which literary festivals enable different forms of engagement with literary culture and communities, and audience members’ personal experiences and interpretations of this engagement. The data collected demonstrates that audience members at literary festivals are active and reflective. They are highly, often professionally, engaged with literary culture, and demonstrate critical thinking in the ways in which they select, attend, consider, discuss, and respond to the cultural and social opportunities that literary festivals offer. Festivals provide audience members with the space to negotiate diverse perspectives, and offer a starting point for exploration of broader issues and trends. Individuals use festivals to participate in social, connecting, and affirming practices which may be categorised as ‘middlebrow’ or vernacular. Equally, however, audience members demonstrate analytical engagement with content, which can be seen as a more scholarly and critical practice. Fundamentally, literary festivals operate as spaces in which attendees can individually and collectively negotiate and interpret different conceptions of ‘literary’ culture in a public and embodied fashion.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Millicent Weber
    • 1
  1. 1.Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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