Pullman resigns as Oxford Literary Festival patron over refusal to pay authors
In the UK, author Philip Pullman has announced his resignation as Oxford Literary Festival patron over its refusal to pay speakers, reports the Bookseller. Pullman told the Bookseller it was ‘awkward’ for him to continue as festival patron while also serving as president of the Society of Authors, which has been campaigning for authors to be paid at festivals. Pullman said that in contrast to the festival’s early days as a small-scale, informal event, in recent years ‘it’s become much larger and grander, putting on an air of being “prestigious” and “exclusive” and flourishing its large array of corporate sponsors’. ‘It seems contradictory to me to lay on lavish “black tie dinners” and at the same time claim that it can’t afford to pay speakers,’ said Pullman. The author also criticised the festival’s demand that authors should not speak on the same subject or do signings within 30 days or 40 miles of the festival. ‘That’s equivalent to saying “we’re not paying you, and we’re not letting you get paid anywhere else either”,’ said Pullman. A spokesperson for Oxford Literary Festival said that it could not run a festival ‘as large and diverse as Oxford’s’ if it changed its policy on paying authors to speak.