Chuck Palahniuk’s novels are not to everyone’s taste but this statement of his is pretty universal:
“The first step – especially for  people with energy and drive and talent, but not money – the first step to controlling your world is to control your culture. To model and demonstrate the kind of world you demand to live in. To write the books. Make the music. Shoot the films. Paint the art.”
WORDfest is a voluntary festival organisation that came about because those of us that worked in the bookshop, the library and with locals arts projects knew that there are lots of people in Crawley who love to read, write, listen to music and attend performances and exhibitions. We wanted to develop WORDfest because creativity creates community and because, well, why not? Crawley’s population is not far off that of Chichester, West Sussex’s cultural city and although it might be something one would more readily associate more with Brighton or Chichester that’s no reason not to have something similar here, in fact it’s an excellent reason to do so, the arts are about pushing at and bending expectations after all. Crawley is a diverse place with room for all kinds of people and interests and what we’ve begun, this festival that is gradually growing, is reflective of our town.
This year out of necessity, we’ve had to scale back the traditional literary festival fayre of author talks, as the closure of Waterstones County Mall, where some of us used to work has made connecting with publishers more difficult. But our evaluation of last year’s festival suggested that the best attended and enjoyed events were those that featured local talent, were more informal and of a participatory nature: panel discussions, workshops, children’s activities, bookswap, the open mic and the quiz. This was a great finding as it says a great deal about our community, that we like to get stuck in, have fun, create and share. And this is what we are building on, with many talented writers, artists and performers coming along to tell us about their work and inspire others.
We work with the library service, the council, local community organisations and businesses to bring this programme of events into being, it’s a lot of hard work, but very rewarding. This year we will also be starting to run a regular Open Mic event among other things in addition to our annual programme in March. We hope you enjoy WORDfest 2014.
The WORDfest Committee