2011 Jay Chiat Awards Winners
Melbourne Writers Festival | "Democratizing Literature"
"The poems to come are for you and me and not for most people."
When the avant-garde US poet EE Cummings wrote these words as an introduction to his collection of poems, he was reinforcing the elitist, supercilious view that writers and their writings have long held of Joe Blow. A view that maintains good literature is the domain of privileged knowledge and qualified sensibilities. What would the imbecile on the street know?
When we began to contend with the objective of getting more people through the gates we quickly realized that Melbourne Writers Festival unwittingly was also a victim to the high barriers to entry that writers and their exalted literature had created.
Qualitative research with both inner city and suburban dwellers revealed that the festival needed to overcome severe image and attitude shortcomings, if it were to get in more people through the door.
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