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Monday, 27 May, 2002, 10:41 GMT 11:41 UK
Writers boycott literary festival
Germaine Greer
Greer objects to Nestle's Third World marketing policy
Top authors have withdrawn from the Hay-on-Wye literature festival in protest over Nestle's sponsorship of the event.

Feminist writer Germaine Greer and Booker Prize nominee Jim Crace object to the food giant's marketing of powdered baby milk to the developing world.


Nestle is trying to look caring and sharing but I don't think it predicted the flak it would get

Germain Greer, Writer
It is the first time the Nestle Smarties Book Prize has backed the 10-day festival, which begins on Friday.

There are 97 other sponsors of the event, which attracts thousands of visitors to the small Welsh market town.

Greer said she was not leading a boycott, but could not participate in any event which displayed a Nestle banner.

"There's no clean money out there but there are some things I stick to and this is one of them," she told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"Nestle is trying to look caring and sharing but I don't think it predicted the flak it would get."

Festival speech

Crace, who wrote the acclaimed novel Being Dead, pulled out after learning of Greer's decision to boycott the event.

He said he had originally planned to criticise Nestle during a festival speech.

Organiser Peter Florence said he did not expect Nestle's sponsorship to affect attendance at the small Welsh border town's annual event.
Nestle sign outside Swiss headquarters
Nestle said its practices are in line with WHO code

He described the writers' decisions as "a personal matter".

"I've discussed it with both of them and I know them well and in Germaine's case I understand her position in it," he said.

"I regret that Germaine won't be there and I'll miss her, but we disagree on our understanding of the situation."

A Nestle spokeswoman said the authors' concerns were "years out of date", and that the firm's baby formula marketing policy was in line with World Health Organisation code.

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales's Sue Charles
"There's a row brewing over one of the sponsors"
See also:

25 May 01 | Entertainment
26 May 00 | Business
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