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On the Fossil Free Books ControversyToby Litt

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A couple of days ago, our editor Toby Litt published a poem on his Substack, A Writer’s Diary. It was a response to criticisms of the Fossil Free Books campaign.

Since then, the controversy over Fossil Free Books has become even more divisive.

Many but definitely not all of the members of Writers Rebel supported the campaign from the beginning – while acknowledging the financial difficulties that might be faced by the festivals who have cut ties with Baillie Gifford.

We’ve decided to republish Toby’s poem here, in solidarity with Fossil Free Books. Please feel free to share it.


I signed both the Fossil Free Books statement and the more recent open letter to the investment company Baillie Gifford.

And so I was glad to see that the Hay Festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival — both of which I’ve spoken at — were ending their funding partnerships with Baillie Gifford.

Writers, journalists, editors, illustrators, publishers, and festival and book workers had tried to make a small difference.

Since then, I have listened to the heartfelt and sometimes angry criticisms of the campaign, and of its possible negative effects.

This… is what I have to say in response.

(You’ll see, it didn’t come out as prose.)




Festival Overture by Toby Litt