In Paper: an Elegy, Ian Sansom celebrates and explores paper – its vulnerability, durability, and essence. What do reading a book, smoking a cigarette, throwing confetti, and voting in an election have in common? The answer, of course, is paper. Paper serves nearly every function of our lives – it is the technology with which we have made sense of the world. Yet, while the age of paper seems to be ending, there are some uses of it that seem unlikely to change. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without wrapped presents. Without paper, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy our daily dose of cereal. Nor tea, as we’d have no tea bags. We wouldn’t be able to enjoy the weekly indulgence of a lottery ticket. Or buy a ticket for a train journey. Or indeed buy a cup of takeaway coffee.
In a festival celebrating the written word and the printed book, this is an apt event sure to be enjoyed by all.