Harrogate International Festivals has stood by its author exclusion clause, saying the exclusivity option only applies to 5% of its authors.
On Friday, The Bookseller reported that Harrogate’s special guest authors are required to appear exclusively at Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival and not as a special guest at other crime fiction festivals taking place in the same calendar year. The requirement was branded “predatory” by crime fiction event CrimeFest.
Now, Harrogate has clarified its stance saying: “While 95% of authors who take part in the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Festival are not subject to an exclusivity option, for our special guests we make this request at invitation stage to ensure that our offering for both authors and visitors is protected, and this is something which is carefully discussed and considered on an individual basis in conjunction with each author. As a not-for-profit arts charity, rather than a convention or commercial venture, Harrogate International Festivals relies heavily on ticket sales to deliver our year-round literacy development programmes, and our curated offering therefore must be as distinctive as possible, ensuring authors and guests alike enjoy the best possible experience.”
The statement added Harrogate’s policy is to “offer authors fees and accommodation, and to support smaller publishers in taking part—something which some other events do not provide".
It also said: “We always welcome feedback on our festival offerings and continually work to review our practices in consultation with publishers, authors, and the wider industry, to ensure that our festival experience meets the expectations of all parties involved.”
The full programme for The 2020 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival will be revealed next year.