Festival defends programme

TWO East Budleigh women claim Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival organisers have overlooked local talent.

TWO East Budleigh women claim Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival organisers have overlooked local talent.

Published author Rosemary Smith, of Brookfield Road, and Kathy Moyle, of Collins Park, believe local authors have been sidelined in favour of more profitable names.

Rosemary Smith, who deliberately shies away from publicity, said local authors have been left out in the cold - adding the decision not to allow local authors to meet their readers left her feeling 'hurt'.

Mrs Smith said: "I think it would have been appropriate to link local authors with this festival.

"How nice it would have been to meet each other and for our many readers in the vicinity to have met us.

"My question to the festival committee would be 'are we not worthy to be part of this local event?"

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East Budleigh resident Mrs Moyle said: "I feel upset about it, for the hurt the local authors must feel at being sidelined.

"It is lovely that Budleigh is putting on this literary festival, but what a great pity the programme couldn't have included an event of meeting your local authors.

"This is very sad, when we are so lucky to have authors living with us in this area."

Festival chairman Susan Ward said the fledgling event was concentrating on three areas this year - writers with wide appeal, those who had national and international appeal and to organise sessions for children.

She said the festival was 'delighted' major names such as Michael Morpurgo, Virginia Ironside, Simon Brett, HRF Keating and Val McDermid were appearing.

She said 'extremely successful' ticket sales suggested the committee had made the correct decisions.

Mrs Ward said: "When we were approached by a local writers' group who wanted to organise workshops for local writers, we were only too pleased to help.

"We are using Salem Chapel for that and the workshops and poetry readings form a significant part of our fringe work.

"We have been approached also by many publishers, authors and agents.

"We were concerned not to walk before we could run and, to most of these offers, we have said 'thank you very much and we will bear you in mind for next year'.

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