Society & Culture
A new chapter for literary festivals
International literary festivals in China in February and March are growing in number, size and the range of authors, and the diverse cultures they come from.
Performance poetry and gourmand feasts are being added to up the entertainment quotient. Quizzes, translation slams and cabarets celebrate the glory of the written word and extend its ambit.
The first Capital M Festival started on Feb 26, adding to the kitty of five thriving annual literary do's in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Sichuan's provincial capital Chengdu and Jiangsu's Suzhou city.
So, why have another show in Beijing, where the Bookworm International Literary Festival (BILF) - now in its fifth year and firmly ensconced on the world map of noted international literary festivals - is hosting 74 authors from 19 countries and more than 100 events?
"There's always room for more than one literary festival in cities the size of Beijing and Shanghai," says Tina Kanagaratnam, organizer-in-chief of the M Literary Festival, which started nine years ago in Shanghai.
"We are getting 30 of the 85 authors coming to our Shanghai festival to go to Beijing to take part in 15 events."
This might create a tough choice for literary festival junkies - and there are quite a few, judging by the pace at which tickets sold out to events featuring authors Bi Feiyu (Moon Opera, Three Sisters) and Peter Hessler (River Town, Country Driving).