…the Word Alliance, provides an international umbrella organization for leading international literature festivals. The aim of alliance is to lobby for new sources of funding, as well as forge relationships with people in charge of festivals globally. It brings together Jaipur, Etonnants Voyageurs, the Melbourne Writer’s Festival,PEN World Voices, Toronto’s Harbourfront Festival, the Bookworm International Literary Festival in Beijing and others into the fold.
By establishing the organization, which bestows a kind of “badge of trust” on the events, it might assist, in particular, with attracting government funding. Given the explosion of literary festivals worldwide, Barley said the Alliance is a way “to respond to having so many festivals…we realized that this alliance could do something really important. It has an international outlook and a passion for authors from different cultures. At Edinburgh we always wanted to bring authors from everywhere but it was getting more and more difficult to get them over.”
It is a strategic partnership that aims to support and showcase writers and their work, enabling writers to be present at partner festivals whether in Beijing, Berlin or Brittany.
“The idea is that we’ll have a dozen festivals around the world, we would like to represent the major languages. We try to have meetings in the language of the festival. It’s primarily a vehicle to make better literary festivals, to provide help for them to improve — there is the professional side to it, helping marketing teams — how to deal with social media for example. Every festival has its priorities.