Blurbify recently reported that ARU MA Publishing Course Leader, Dr Leah Tether, had published an article in the publishing journal, Logos, on medieval and digital reading cultures. Here she brings us up-to-date on the article’s impact in the literary world, following an invite to participate in the European Literature Days (ELiT) 2014 festival in Spitz-an-der-Donau, Austria.
I was totally delighted to hear that one of the ELiT 2014 organisers, Ruediger Wischenbart, had read my article and felt that its subject matter would be of interest to the delegates attending this year’s festival. Without really knowing how a non-academic audience would receive my very academic take on the return of reading culture in a digital age to something more akin to that of the medieval period, I travelled to Austria on 24th October 2014 to see if I could prompt a discussion.
Following a brief run-down of my key thoughts on the topic, I was excited to see an immediate engagement from the crowd, clearly drawn in by my imagery of medieval readers writing and doodling in margins (for more of this, I can strongly recommend Erik Kwakkel’s popular blog, medievalfragments). A lively discussion ensued where authors, journalists and publishers alike debated whether a more social, interactive model for reading was where literature was headed.
Satisfied that I’d contributed at least something of use to this fascinating and stimulating festival, I sat back to enjoy the other contributions over the weekend. Readings from fabulous European authors such as the award-winning Marica Bodrozic and the charismatic Andrej Kurkow were followed by engaging interviews led by the likes of British multi-media journalist, Rosie Goldsmith.
Meanwhile, imaginative events such as readings accompanied by the tasting of local wines from the Wachau region in which Spitz is located and showings of public art on the ferry across the Danube turned this festival into a real feast for the senses.
To be in such esteemed company was an honour, and I made many new friends from across Europe. As an academic, it is always exciting to know that your research has a wider remit than just informing the academic community, and I’m so pleased to have been a part of this special event.
N.B. The Huffington Post writer and critic, Lucy Popescu, also offered her insights on the ELiT festival, giving particular attention to Leah’s lecture! Read more about it here.