Now in its 11th year, the Aldeburgh Literary Festival is going from strength to strength, even as the future for independent booksellers becomes increasingly bleak, especially after the closure last year of Bookthrift, one of Aldeburgh’s two remaining bookshops.
This year’s festival aims to remind booklovers of the delights of the small independent bookshop, with prominent support for Aldeburgh’s last remaining bookseller, the Aldeburgh Bookshop.
Mary James, who both promotes the festival and runs the bookshop, hopes that star names such as Roddy Doyle, Ian Hislop and Alistair Darling will kickstart a reading renaissance for the town and remind people of what sets small bookshops apart from impersonal internet outlets.
Ms James told the BBC: “There’s a huge buzz in the town and it’s very good for the shops and restaurants and the hotels are full and I hope it’s a great asset.”
“When we bought the bookshop in 2000, everyone said we must be mad because the internet was completely taking over, but we’re still here 11 years later, so we have to carry on with our heads firmly in the sand.”