Letters Live

Letters Live

Letters Live is an interesting UK venture which celebrates literary letters. Over the past few years it has organised keynote events in major venues (like the Albert Hall in London) at least once and sometimes more than once a year. It describes itself as “A celebration of the enduring power of literary correspondence. We organise live events where remarkable letters are read by a diverse array of outstanding performers”. These performers are luminaries of the UK performing arts and include such people as Benedict Cumberbatch and Olivia Colman, and are people known more widely than just Britain. And the letters involved are by and large extraordinary letters, letters by people with great facility with the pen, or pencil, or typewriter or…

This is interesting and commendable. Activities which spread the word about the interest that letters have are to be welcomed. However, as readers will note, Letters Live exists at the opposite end of the spectrum to the Whites Writing Whiteness project. Whites Writing Whiteness is concerned with tens of thousands of letters which embody the mundane and everyday rather than literary excellence; they are not written by people with much facility in writing but instead to get things done; they are not read or performed by anybody apart from a reader reading; and we readers are not “outstanding performers” but fairly ordinary folk going about the business of being interested in ordinary everyday letters.

A small PS: The Letters Live website is a focused one and very good; clearly thought as well as money has gone into it. One of its commendable features is that it has an archive of past events. Enjoy!

Access Letters Live HERE.

Last updated:  10 March 2022


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