Alternative literary festival conceived 'on back of an envelope'

Oxford Mail: CHOICE: Dan Holloway outside the Albion Beatnik bookstore in Jericho Buy this photo » CHOICE: Dan Holloway outside the Albion Beatnik bookstore in Jericho

YOU can’t really be a respectable festival unless you’ve got an underground alternative running at the same time.

While the great and the good have been at the Oxford Literary Festival, the Not The Oxford Literary Festival has also had a successful run over the past week, according to the organisers.

It was set up in 2010 as a platform for undiscovered talent and an alternative to mainstream line-ups, which writer and co-founder Dan Holloway said “have the same people saying the same things” each year.

Mr Holloway, 41, said: “It’s basically a chance to show off what the mainstream festivals wouldn’t touch with a barge pole – literature that wouldn’t get a look-in.

“The Not The Oxford Literary Festival will certainly go on to bigger and better things next year. We’ll be looking at more internet literature and getting more acts from Oxford. But I think we’ve got the right variety of acts.

“People absolutely love what they see here. We get such a different crowd event to event.

“I’d really like to see more of these kinds of festivals attached to bigger festivals, so that people have a wider choice.”

Mr Holloway said he was delighted to secure the “reclusive” poet Adelle Stripe on this year’s bill.

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He added: “Adelle Stripe is my absolute favourite poet. She’s fairly reclusive and lives on a farm in Yorkshire, so it was great to convince her to come to Oxford.”

Mr Holloway met the owner of Albion Beatnik book store, Dennis Harrison, in 2009 when he asked him to stock his novel, Songs From The Other Side. The festival was then conceived “on the back of an envelope”.

He added: “Dennis and I had been looking through the Oxford Literary Festival programme and we realised we were fairly fed up with seeing the same faces. We scribbled some ideas on the back of an envelope.

“There’s a lot of undiscovered, exciting literature out there, especially on the internet, where the writing is unedited, raw and honest.”

For 2013, the festival diversified and offered a wider range of events, from folk performance poetry to internet poetry.

Mr Holloway said the Brutalism poetry showcased last night is “punk music for poetry. It’s the first movement to have started through social media.”

Adelle, along with renowned musician and author Tony O’Neill and writer Ben Myers, started releasing poetry through the social media site, Myspace, in 2006.

Last night Adelle performed her third poetry collection, Dark Corners of the Land.

Other poets on the night included local writers Anna Hobson and Lucy Ayrton.

Comments (1)

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11:00pm Sat 23 Mar 13

Myron Blatz says...

On the back of an envelope? Should do well, then!
On the back of an envelope? Should do well, then! Myron Blatz

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