THE BOOK will fend off challenges from new technology and remain at the core of our culture in the new millennium, Chris Smith, Secretary of State for Culture, will tell the Dartington Literature Festival this week.
In a speech which the many assembled writers should find reassuring, the minister will reaffirm the role of the book in the face of the emergence of new electronic media.
Last week he stressed that while public libraries should put resources into information technology, they had to continue to support the central role of the book. Readers had the right to demand print in book form, said Mr Smith, who lists literature among his recreations in Who's Who. His speech (at 3.15pm on Tuesday 13 July in the Great Hall), on the arts in the new millennium, is expected to include an announcement on an Arts Council initiative on literature. Along with Chris Smith, a colourful cast of poets, novelists, journalists, politicians, scientists, actors, comedians, biographers and artists are assembling for the eighth Ways With Words Literature Festival. The Independent on Sunday is once again delighted to be supporting the Festival. The programme of themed days is already proving to be popular. Today is Philosophy and Religion day, with two sessions from the controversialist A N Wilson. He discusses with Karen Armstrong whether God has a future, and later in the day he analyses the enigmatic figure of Jesus with Richard Ingrams. …