Literary festivals as cultural destinations: the case of the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival

David Throsby*, Paul Crosby, Jan Zwar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Working paper


Literary festivals have emerged as a key component of development strategies in the global south. The unique cultural, social, and commercial aspects of these events can contribute to the promotion of sustainable cultural and economic development, and can assist in destination branding for the locations where they are held. This paper presents an evaluation of these impacts for a specific case study, the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF), held annually in Bali, Indonesia. Surveys of festival attendees and local businesses were conducted, along with interviews of writers appearing at the festival. The findings suggest that the UWRF successfully provides a platform upon which international attendees and writers can engage with Indonesian culture. The festival is also found to generate a modest positive economic impact. For many attendees, the UWRF is a ‘destination’ festival to which visitors return year after year. Overall, this paper supports the proposition that literary festivals in the global south can make a distinctive contribution to cultural and economic development as well as to the visibility of a literary destination.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Literary festivals
  • Destination events
  • Cultural development
  • Tourism motivation
  • Festival impact
  • Economic development


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