When She’s Right, She’s Right

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from a lovely woman named Megan who is connected with the upcoming Wisconsin Book Festival. (I love hearing from readers and new fans.)

Thanks so much for providing a comprehensive list of literary festivals around the US and around the world.  I would like to place a link to your lists on the Wisconsin Book Festival website but I noticed when I was setting up the international link that you have your International Festivals divided by alphabet into Africa-England, France-Wales.  The problem is that Africa is not a country, like England, France, or Wales, and you don’t list any of the other continents that way (Asia, for example, doesn’t get its own listing).  Thanks for hearing me out and thanks again for creating such a great resource.

I do know the difference between a continent and a country, but in setting up BiblioBuffet I made a few decisions that go against . . . would I call it common sense or accuracy? A bit of both, I guess. I made the decision to use this particular continent rather than the country because there were so few festivals. (I also made the decision to use “A” in “A Reading Life” (Nicki Leone’s column title) ahead of “BibliOpinions”—a technically incorrect editorial decision because I did not want a guest column to come ahead of a regular one on the home page—and I can live with it. It is not an error, but a deliberate choice that puts my reason for its choice ahead of Strunk & White’s. In this case.

So it also was with the decision to use “Africa.” However, Megan’s comments made me re-think that, and I decided she was right. Other countries had only one festival so why shouldn’t African countries get the same consideration? Well, now they have. Our International Book Festivals pages are divided into Australia-England and France-Zimbabwe.

I agree with Megan “that Africa and the countries in Africa are misrepresented and lumped together so often, I think it’s important to be careful about it.” And I hereby apologize to South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe. They now have their own listings.

In addition, I have updated most of the festival dates (a few even went back to 2009) to reflect the newest information. It took hours yesterday, and I am still not finished. I need to finish the dates, remove defunct festivals, add new ones, and then check every link to be sure it is still live. I hope to finish this afternoon.

If any of you know of a festival I am missing, please let me know. I would like this resource to be useful. And to that end I will be updating as I go. It’s tough because it takes a lot of time—but it’s worth it to know that it can be a reliable source of information for all book lovers. Thanks to Megan for caring. And I promise there will be no September 32 ever again. I still blush at the thought I never caught that.

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