Friday, 17 September 2010

Fantastic writers, everywhere! And a big orange box.

Just wanted to remind you of (and flaunt) two of this year’s biggest and best Book Festival developments: the Elsewhere project and the Readers’ First Book Award.

Our Elsewhere: New Writing Commissions page is growing by the day, filling with fascinating, entertaining and mad contributions from leading writers. So far we have:

A Flash of Blue Light by Michel Faber
Because it’s a Wednesday by A L Kennedy
Chicago by Allan Radcliffe
Sassuolo by Eleanor Thom

Vanishing Point by Louise Welsh
The Future According to Luke by James Robertson

Puerto Galera by Jason Donald
Surtsey by Doug Johnstone
We Are All Waiting by Denise Mina
From My Vow by Jen Hadfield
The art of elsewhere by Ali Smith
Bain de Soleil
by David Vann
Not Scotland by Anne Donovan
Horror Story by Kirstin Innes
Apparently by Karen Campbell
Los San Patricios by Roddy Doyle
Elsewhere, Far From Here by Alberto Manguel
Be Here Now by Miguel Syjuco
Sullivan's Ashes by Alan Warner

After Drink You Can Turn Earth Up Side Down by Rodge Glass
Paper Boat Paper Bird by David Almond
Red Wolves in the Mist by Elizabeth Laird
Welcome to Flaxland by Andy Stanton
Another Country by Margo Lanagan

And there’s even more to come, so stay tuned. A good way to do that is to follow our handy New Writing feed. And if you missed our Elsewhere events at the Book Festival - or just want to revist them - keep an eye on our Media Gallery; we'll be uploading videos in October.

In the meantime, you’ve still got the rest of this month to vote for debut fiction in our Readers’ First Book Award. Fun, frenzy, adventure, danger, darkness, intellect, insight and speculation – the nominated books have it all. Vote for your favourite and be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of every single one of those spectacular new works.

This is a good time to explain, as I promised, why Book Festival staff ended up in a big orange box. Well! If you joined us last month in Charlotte Square gardens you may have noticed aforementioned box… and it had so many Readers’ Award votes in it that we had to get someone in there to fish them out!

Poker-faced professionalism.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

New audio recordings

Were there Book Festival events in August that you wanted to attend but couldn't? Or did you go to an event that you'd love to revisit? Either way, our Media Gallery is the place to be. We've uploaded dozens of hour-long audio recordings of events from this year's programme, including Simon Callow, Seamus Heaney and A S Byatt. Our most recent uploads are:

Andrew O’Hagan: the unforgettable tale of Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and a dog called Maf.
David Vann & Willy Vlautin: two writers with riveting, unique accounts of father-son relationships
Reggie Nadelson in conversation with Ian Rankin: two crime writers discuss one brilliantly believable detective
Philippe Sands: a gripping discussion of war crimes
Joyce Carol Oates: listen to one of the greatest living American writers
Tom McCarthy: major new voice in British literature discusses his second novel
Marina Endicott & Lisa Moore: two remarkable writers discuss life and death
Emma Donoghue & Fiona Shaw: two unique writers as they look at love and trauma through a child’s eyes
Sophia Jansson: celebrating 65 years of the Moomins
Roddy Doyle: join the audience of Roddy Doyle’s popular and fun event

Enjoy them, and don't forget to check back for more.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Booktrust Teenage Prize 2010

There are not enough awards featuring books for teenage readers out there, but here’s a fantastic one: the Booktrust Teenage Prize. And the 2010 shortlist has just been announced! The Enemy by Charlie Higson, Halo by Zizou Corder, Nobody’s Girl by Sarra Manning, Out of Shadows by Jason Wallace, Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick and Unhooking the Moon by Gregory Hughes.

Half of this talented bunch joined us at the Book Festival this month, a source of great entertainment and inspiration for our substantial teenage audiences. We wish the inspiring Sarra Manning, the otherworldly Marcus Sedgwick and the gifted Gregory Hughes the best of luck.

The winner of the Booktrust Teenage Prize 2010 will be announced on 1 November.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Booker Prize shortlisters were here!

Did you see the fantastic Emma Donoghue, Howard Jacobson, Andrea Levy and Tom McCarthy at the Book Festival last month? If you didn’t, head over to our Media Gallery and keep a keen lookout for audio recordings of their events. And if you did see them in August you can now proudly claim – as of today – that you saw Booker Prize shortlisters in action.

Today the shortlist for the 2010 Man Booker Prize was announced – Peter Carey for Parrot and Olivier in America, Emma Donoghue for Room, Damon Galgut for In a Strange Room, Howard Jacobson for The Finkler Question, Andrea Levy for The Long Song, and Tom McCarthy for C.

We’re thrilled that we had the honour of welcoming 4 of the 6 shortlisters – and 10 of the 13 longlisters – to Charlotte Square gardens in sunny August, and we at the Book Festival wish them an energetic congrats!

The winner of the 2010 Man Booker Prize for Fiction will be announced on Tuesday 12 October.

Monday, 6 September 2010

We asked you to help us write a story...

...and you did! We had some brilliant contributions to our story wall in the Activity Corner, where our young guests where invited to jointly create a story line by line.

Below are some extracts of the stories we recieved - perhaps one day we'll see a few of these contributors appear as authors at a Book Festival in the future!

Justin the Octopus

Once upon a time there was an octopus called Justin. He was eating his yummy breakfast, seaweed on toast. He went to play with his friends, Starfish and Boaty Boat the boat. They were very excited because they were going on their swimming lessons. They had lots of fun and games, then went to the seafood restaurant for lunch. After lunch they went diving to the bottom of the sea then they swam back to the top to their house. At home they played Monopoly. Justin was a terrible cheat. He always hid money in one of his many tentacles. He got told off, big time, and had to do some extra swimming lessons. Justin decided to gamble. He was cheating in Vegas for the last time. He was deported to France. Justin decided that he was a bad boy. He mended his ways, then he went back to the sea bed and started a new life. The End?

Actually it wasn’t! Justin went back to Starfish and Boaty and asked if they wanted to get some Jelly and Ice Cream for a special treat! But then came the fisherman and scooped up Justin and put him on the ship with no water…and he got sold to a restaurant as octopus and chips so that was the end of his life! (At the end of the meal, they found jelly and ice cream in his tummy!)

But…when Justin was at the table, it was someone’s birthday. So they had a birthday cake. Justin (who wasn’t completely dead at this point) saw the cake, made a quick wish and blew out the candles! The birthday girl started crying and demanded that the candles be relit. But it was too late! Justin had already stolen her wish! Do you know what Justin’s wish was? He wished that he had seven more lives!

He jumped off the plate and went to find Starfish and Boaty Boat. Boaty Boat and Starfish were in France having a swimming race. Justin realised that he had a mildly inoffensive voice and started a brilliant new music career under the new superstar name of Justin Bieber. He learnt to predict World Cup results and was bought by the Spanish. Sadly he was made into paella as he was deemed a weapon of mass destruction. Fortunately he had another six lives...

The Sparkly Man

The branches swayed and the ground shook as something thundered towards them. “What is that?” whispered Alex in terror. “It’s a sparkly person!” cried Bob in fright. “Let’s run away before he sparkles too much and we pass out!”
“Don’t be silly,” said Penny. “Boys are such cowardly custards.”
But sure enough, a sparkly man burst out through the trees. But he was a friendly sparkly man and so he invited them to a sword fight for Snorth Narnia in New Zealand. However, on the way, they were interrupted by some boys doing the Haka, then others blowing vuvu zelas, some girls singing their personal version of “California Girls”, some boys who were scared by the Wallace and Gromit and Darth Vader theme tunes, some more-than-slightly-scary boys, some Outnumbered fans, some girls who were champions (but left soon), and some generally epic girls. They all charged at them while singing “Waving Flag.” Dennis the Menace knocked off a tall man’s hat but the man pulled out a clipboard with questions and just laughed. And then the great battle for Snorth Narnia began. Their teamwork and love for each other brought them together and they defeated the sparkly man and his sidekick, Justin the Octopus (who had run out of lives).

The End.

The Princess and the Pig

Once upon a time in a land far, far away…there lived a princess in a castle. One day she was walking in the wood when she saw a green pig. The pig popped up and said…”Why am I green?” “Because I ate too many peas. The peas looked so green and buttery and delicious, I just had to gobble them up.” The Princess said firmly, “Stop eating peas! Eat strawberries instead!” So the pig ate lots of strawberries and turned red!

Then she said, “Eat grapes instead!” So the pig ate grapes instead and turned purple! There there was a huge explosion! And he turned green, red and purple! He was very fat!

The princess correctly diagnosed the pig as having no PIGment of his own and suggested he only eat pink things like shrimp. “It works for the flamingos,” she said. And then the pig ate some shrimp and turned pink. He then ran away to eat some more peas and strawberries and grapes and turned every colour of the rainbow and died (because the princess wanted bacon for tea).Then the mafia arrived and killed the princess. The godfather stole the pig and ate it, but suffered heart failure and died. After the princess finished the story she went to the Edinburgh Book Festival where she met…

The End.

Thomas the Tank Engine

The train pulled out of the station. Thomas had no idea of the adventure he was about to go on…

Thomas chugged off. He sped through the countryside until all of a sudden he saw something on the track in front of him. He saw a humongous dinosaur. He stopped right away. He thought it was fake but when he went through it he nearly got gobbled up. He saw a tunnel ahead when he went in he lost a carriage…it was the one with the humans in it! He came out of the tunnel and he was at the edge of a cliff!

Thomas fell off the cliff. Thomas fell out and jumped in the water, The giant dinosaur ran and nearly bit Thomas in half! He had a cut where the dino had bit him. Fish in the water began to bite him- they were meat-eaters!

Thomas swam with the fish, who were still chasing him. He chugged slowly across the bottom. He was just beginning to think he was safe from the dinosaur when a huge foot came crashing down! It belonged to the dinosaur! Steam began to come out of his funnel and he got up a bit of speed…

The End.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Day 19 of 18

Yesterday was RBS Schools Gala Day: the very last day of the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The gardens were full of balloons and bunting, the blue sky was full of sunlight, and the kids themselves were full of… good behaviour, surprisingly!

When the final happy class of tiny Book Festival fans left the gardens, the site was closed for 2010, and it was time to break out the ice cream. One more exciting August of literary dedication over with; and what an August it’s been.

Audiences at the Book Festival were captivated by…

  • Over 750 Book Festival participants from 50 countries
  • Nobel Laureates Joseph Stiglitz, Amartya Sen and Seamus Heaney
  • Poets Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and Keorapetse ‘Willie’ Kgositsile from South Africa
  • 10 of the 13 authors long-listed for the 2010 Man Booker Prize
  • Exclusive pre-publication readings from Seamus Heaney, Will Self and Michael Frayn
  • The first appearance in Edinburgh of A S Byatt,
  • The delivery of the Donald Dewar Memorial Lecture by ex-Chancellor Alistair Darling
  • Launches of memoirs from Candia McWilliam, Vidal Sassoon and Nicholas Parsons
  • Unbound, our innovate and electrifying ‘mini-festival’
  • The unique debut authors up for our Readers’ First Book Award
  • A variety of stimulating themes, including our absorbing Elsewhere theme
  • Sell out events and record signing queues for children’s writers Robert Muchamore, Cressida Cowell and Julia Donaldson
  • The closing of the public programme with a moving tribute to recently-deceased Scottish Makar Edwin Morgan

Staff at the Book Festival…

To sum up, one of our lovely sponsors reported to us that as she left Charlotte Square gardens on the final day of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, she overheard somebody say wistfully: “twelve whole months to wait”.


Wrapped Up

The final prize in our txt2win competition, an Edinburgh International Book Festival goodie bag, has been won by a lucky Bookfest Flirt.

Thanks to everyone who entered! We'll stay in touch via email.

See you again next year!

Monday, 30 August 2010

"It's that poetry again"


From Li Po, to Battlestar Gallactica, from two trees to evidence against intelligent design (his back and male genitals), Don Paterson was in sterling form on a wide variety of topics at his reading this morning. Introduced by Nick Barley, director and fan of guest poetry selector Paterson, Don started his hour long set with the lovely 'Two Trees', of Don Miguel's idea to fuse a lemon and an orange tree together, and of how those trees were split asunder. 'And trees are all this poem is about.' he ends, though it took writer and friend Will Fiennes to dissect the meaning for him, as sometimes the meaning isn't apparent to the poet till after. As with the series of elegies written after the death of his good friend the poet Michael Donaghy, as if his sub-conscious were forcing him to address his passing. He read another for the passing of Peter Porter - in a session which found itself ruminating upon death and ageing and change - glad Faber managed to complete Porter's Selected Works just in time to bike it over on the day he died. "Managed to get a smile out of him".

The whole reading was built of these meandering glimpses of insight - to a poem, to a poet, to a friend, a son, to the process - making it a hugely entertaining and revealing session. He dipped into a few aphorisms, causing much hilarity with 'Aphorism, a brief waste of time. Poetry a complete waste of time. Novel a monumental waste of time', explaining that the aphorism invites bitchiness, often about other aphorists. He wheeled back to read from the multi-award winning Landing Light, poems for his twin sons - a balanced number for each, re that contractual obligation that is the problem with twins. Told of receiving an email from Amazon, suggesting he'd like to pre-order a forthcoming book on Shakespeare's Sonnets, not yet written by himself. The paperback cover of Rain, a Rebus novella lookalike? "Here's hoping." An epithalamium for friends rewritten featuring aliens, having been inspired by the box set of Battlestar Gallactica (I refused to watch this show, so my better half's glee at Don's approbation was exaggerated). A translation of Li Po, remarking on his friend Du Fu's failed health, skinny as a nail, wan as the moon, saying 'it's that poetry again'.

So it was that poetry again, to which we turn, as Nick Barley said in his intro, to hear our experiences articulated. Stellar stuff.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Ab-duck-tion!!!



Book Festival staff - always eager for volunteers!

We were wandering along, minding our own business, when suddenly we noticed an intruder in our midst!! Here comedian and radio presenter Fred Macaulay alerts us to (the very lovely and very welcome) Kate Silverton, from BBC Radio 5 Live, who were broadcasting live from Charlotte Square gardens this morning, masquarading as one of our own!

Let's hope she's keen to man the Box Office and do some ticket-selling.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Curdle your coffee


Death, madness, suicide and cats. Dying ones. Robin Robertson's Wake up to Words session in the Highland Park Spiegeltent was, as he said himself, likely to curdle the delicious free coffee. Fellow poet, guest selector and friend Don Paterson introduced with as many flourishing words as he dared - among which the lovely 'Robin's poems translate the world into sound' - we were told the format of the event was that 'Robin will read and then he will stop.' No questions, just an hour of poetry. Heaven.

However, Robertson's poetry often revels in a vision of hell. That poor cat, his moment in the sun teed off with 'I'll read one about cats. Normally I say I don't like cats and 6 or 7 people leave the room. So I'll not do that this time.' In 'Cat, Failing', the cat is dying, with the 'shame/ of being found out'. Robertson's dreams - "another uncomfortable dream for you" - transmuted into poetry, of sexual encounters with hairy-chested witches, among other nightmares. He read one he'd written for Sean O'Brien, that he revealed - drily - O'Brien had deemed obscene. He mixed old and new; 'Donegal', a tender one for his daughter from his first collection, then a long, new sequence on Strindberg, who Robertson admires, "less for his work and more for the catastrophe of his life."

In attempting to find something cheerier, he plumped "far from it!" with a poem about a chest haemorrhage, written in haste before his friend the novelist Alan Warner (as it happened, in the same booth with us) could use the real-life episode in his next book. "It [the chest] was all open. Did you get that? Wouldn't want to send you away dissatisfied." He did read a little funny called 'The Tweed' about giving Hugh MacDiarmid a back rub, before finishing with the exquisite 'At Roane Head'; with such staggering musicality and Robertson's wonderful, sonorous voice, this was an hour filled with amazed fixed grimaces and curdled coffee, but also those fizzy head moments poetry can bring; a sensation I'm led to understand the music world calls an eargasm.

Friday, 27 August 2010

The Adventures of Petunia

Petunia. A lovely name for a lovely... trolley.

She was born in the Valley and rescued from a garden centre that had so callously deemed her “surplus to requirements”. A shadow of her former glory, Petunia left for the city to seek her fortune. Upon arrival in Scotland’s bustling capital, she was nursed back to health, spray painted gold, strewn with flowers, and welcomed with open arms into the Sponsorship Team at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

There she thrived. She carried all manner of wonderous things, from wine (with which she filled herself heartily) to newspapers – and even the occasional Site Manager...

At the end of each day Petunia was parked for a well-earned rest. But this happy-go-lucky existence was not to last. One evening Petunia parked herself for the night and awoke to find herself...

... clamped!!

We explained to the dear Sponsorship trolley that anything staying still for too long at the Book Festival will eventually get clamped. Anything and anyone.

So really, Petunia shouldn't feel too bad.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Activity Corner



This is our storage container that keeps safe all of the exciting materials that we use at our free crafts area at the back of the Children’s Bookshop, as well as all the paper, pens and sticky-glittery goodness that stocks our RBS Workshop Tent.

A few weeks ago – before our beautiful venues where established, before hundreds of authors graced us with their presence, and before thousands of visitors descended into Charlotte Square – this is what our children’s activity corner looked like. Not much activity going on there, and decidedly uncorner-like. We unpack the storage container at the start of every festival, and after much fetching, carrying and arranging, the activity corner is ready for: activities!



Unfortunately, ‘activities’ just doesn’t quite convey the masterpieces that emerge from behind the bookshelves. Every day our master-crafts-staff come up with an exciting project based around the themes and the events featured daily on the children’s programme. We’ve had under the sea creatures, where you can write a message and send it across the waves in a bottle, and we’ve had a day in the jungle with Elmer the elephant when you could make your own elephant ears and trunk or impressively regal lion mane. Or you might fancy colouring in one of the characters from your favourite book who you might have seen at the Book Festival, like the Mr Men or the Fat Controller. You can also write a line of our story on our story wall, made up by the hundreds of visitors who gave us so many great storylines that we had to create another page!


As you can see, we like to adorn the walls with the brilliant artwork created by our young visitors, who range in age from tiny tots still grappling with their first crayon to children up to the age of 11, who come along with fully fledged ideas about what masterpieces they would like to create.



The activities are co-ordinated by our resident artistic experts, Laura and Helen, as well as their crafty crew of Front of House helpers Tess, Larry, Jennifer and Hannah (and some other members of staff have been known to pop over to acquire some Maisy mouse ears or a rather fetching pirate eye patch). They bring loads of enthusiasm and a seemingly never ending supply of pritt stick for every child they work with, and have never once complained about getting glitter in their hair or a multitude of paper cuts from folding sugar paper.

If you’re at the Book Festival during the day, do stop by and say hello – we’d be more than happy to provide you with some glitter glue if you tell us what you have in mind, as we love to hear your ideas!

PS You might even get your face-painted too. But only if you've been good.

Win-Win Situation

We're delighted to announce that the second winner of our txt2win competition for a pair of tickets to the Unbound Grand Finale 7pm on 30 August is Andrew Frayn. Congratulations Andrew!

The competition continues until 30 August, with more Edinburgh International Book Festival goodies to be won.

You can enter as often as you wish.

Simply text BOOKFEST +
FLIRT or LOVER +
YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
to 60777

and receive Edinburgh International Book Festival info and offers.

Standard network charges apply.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Weird and wonderful photoshoots at the Book Festival

The 2010 Book Festival has just passed the halfway point, and already we've welcomed hundreds of weird, wonderful, eclectic, multi-talented authors. So when it comes to photoshoots, do you really expect them to just smile and wave? Here is a behind-the-scenes look at some of our photoshoots. From Alan Moore peering ominously from behind the wilderness of his hair to Jeanette Winterson throwing oranges at the photographers!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Protestors in Joseph Stiglitz event

Yesterday Joseph Stiglitz delivered a thought-provoking but marvellously accessible event that will be remembered for a variety of reasons. Including one very unexpected one...

Sneaking around the back of the RBS Main Theatre -- our largest venue -- was a group of climate camp protestors; they gatecrashed the event and one young protestor even made it on to stage! Given the Nobel Prize-winning economist's open-minded nature, this was perhaps not the most fitting event for the pro-environment crew to claim as protesting territory, and Stiglitz reacted with magnificent light-heartedness before a combination of prompt security guards and an enthusiastic audience removed the protestors, who were really quite amiable about it!

It was an exciting moment in an exciting event, and one that perturbed neither chair Ruth Wishart nor Joseph Stiglitz himself, who was described by one audience member as “the unflappable”!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Book Festival atmosphere

It seems we're not the only ones having a whale of a time in Charlotte Square gardens - we're proud and delighted to find that Book Festival appreciation is spreading far and wide!

Lisa Dempster, one of our friends from the Melbourne Writers' Festival, offers a brilliant peek at the Book Festival Author's Yurt in her blog. "Happy memories here" she reflects, and we can relate to that.

Dominic Cavendish has also been enjoying the Book Festival, and in the Telegraph asks with flattering enthusiasm: why isn’t more of a fuss made about the Edinburgh International Book Festival?

But here's some fuss! David Shenk, who joined us earlier this week for his insightful and intriguing events about the effect of environment on intellect, wrote a very encouraging article about us in The Atlantic entitled "How to Run a Book Festival".

"You'd choose a beautiful, ancient city with a spectacular summer climate [...] You'd invite a wide range of authors [...] You'd create a great bookstore [...] You'd call it the Edinburgh International Book Festival".

It’s a pleasure reading such kind words, and it encourages us all the more to enjoy this very catchy Book Festival atmosphere.

Friday, 20 August 2010

And the first txt2win winner is...


We’re delighted to announce that the first winner of our txt2win competition for a pair of tickets to the Unbound Grand Finale 7pm on 30 August is Emily Montgomery. Congratulations Emily!

The competition continues next week, with another pair of tickets to the Unbound Grand Finale and Book Fest goodies to be won.

You can enter as often as you wish.

Simply text
BOOKFEST
+ FLIRT or LOVER
+ YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
to 60777

and receive Edinburgh International Book Festival info & offers.

Standard network charges apply.

Poetry Unbound



Lorraine Mariner, John Hegley, Tim Turnbull and the fine jazz machinations of Ewen Maclean, Tom Pickles and Callum McIntyre; the rouged embrace that is the Highland Park Spiegeltent gave a splendid welcome to last night's poetical Unbound stylings, a night where poetry didn't have to rhyme. Where poetry concerned imaginary friends called Jessica Elton, potatoes, spectacles, bungalows and a man with two heads.

Lorraine ('unholy alliance of Dorothy Parker, Stevie Smith and Frank O'Hara') kicked things off with a lovely set in which she read from her two collections Bye For Now (The Rialto) and Furniture (Picador). She read about love and imagined love, about not committing to just one chair in the staff room, about learning how to write predictive text.

John Hegley came next. Wielding his customary ukulele, he sang of Eddie who doesn't like furniture and did a rap about guillemots and hamsters. He plucked a willing audience member from the (pleasingly huge number of) folk in attendance to assist him in a French to English translation from his book The Adventures Monsieur Robinet and he had the audience join him in song for his closing number, the always-fabulous 'Luton Bungalow'.

After a wee breakette, and a few choice #UnboundEd stories (join in @edbookfest on Twitter) one of Scotland's three leading poetry moustaches Mr Tim Turnbull took the floor, fresh from his own gig at the Banshee Labyrinth across town. He told Tales of Terror of a two-headed man, read pithy musings upon our current administration and more. And we ended with Latin jazz from the extremely smooth Ewen Maclean on guitar, Tom Pickles on flute and Callum McIntyre on djembe.

With the sad news of Edwin Morgan's death, this was a perfect evening to do as Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy suggested we might, and take a pause to 'think of him with love and gratitude', to remember his immensity, his innovation, his poetry. So we charged our glasses and raised a toast. and what was the toast? schiehallion! schiehallion! schiehallion! (from EM's own 'Canedolia', 'an off-concrete Scotch fantasia'.)

This event at Unbound was presented by the Scottish Poetry Library. You can borrow the books of the poets above from us. Unbound is on until the Monday 30 August, is free and offers an array of treats every single evening (and I haven't even mentioned the complimentary Highland Park whisky cocktails or the cut-price sandwiches that do the rounds at midnight). We suggest you get yourselves to the Spiegeltent for 9pm as a matter of some urgency.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

We got ducks.

I don't know if you know, but here at the Edinburgh International Book Festival we have our very own team of rubber ducks (this year complete with tiny lanyards and name badges -- so you know they're legit Book Festival ducks). We haven't had much need for them so far this year, what with the glorious golden weather we've been having, so they've been paddling away happily in a bowl of water. They're here to delight passing little ones.

... or whoever else might happen to see them...

ESRC Genomics Forum comp: "improving the human"

Our very marvellous sponsors, the ESRC Genomics Forum, have just launched a new poetry prize for 2010. In partnership with the Scottish Poetry Library, the free-to-enter competition calls for poetic answers to profound questions.

Poems must be of fifty lines or less on the subject of "improving the human"; a theme that poses all manner of questions that have perplexed for centuries.

Grab the opportunity to submit poetic and intriguing answers to these questions and be in with the chance of winning Genomics' exciting new competition. The deadline for entries is National Poetry Day: 7 October 2010. Visit the Genomics Forum website for submission details.

Good luck!

Sad Loss of Scottish Makar Edwin Morgan

Yesterday we enjoyed the Edwin Morgan International Poetry Competition, and today we hear with great regret that the Scottish Makar for whom the competition was named - Edwin Morgan himself - has passed away. Morgan had turned 90 this year, and will remain widely recognised as one of the most significant poets of the 21st century.

Nick Barley, our Director, has paid tribute to the legendary writer:

“As well as being one of the greatest British poets of the last 50 years, Morgan was also the last link to a great generation of Scottish writers than included Sorley MacLean, Norman MacCaig and Hugh MacDiarmid. His work transcended genres, was constantly challenging and inspiring, and encapsulated all that is great about Scottish poetry and writing. His influence will continue to be felt for years to come as his words echo in the work of so many contemporary writers.

“Praise for Morgan was, as always, warm and generous last night, and little did we know that this sad news would follow so soon after.”

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Book Festival authors on the BBC Conversation Zone


BBC Radio Scotland's Conversation Zone this week aired an Edinburgh International Book Festival Special. Listen here for over twenty vibrant conversations with Book Festival authors, from Iain Banks to Mary Contini

Roddy Doyle speaks engagingly about his intriguing new novel, The Dead Republic. He will be joining us on Thursday 26 August for two events - in one he will be discussing his contribution to our Elsewhere project, and in his children's event he will be running a fantastic, energetic event that's perfect for families.

Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, can also be heard in an enjoyable audio chapter. She speaks about her new novel, Blueeyedboy, which she will discuss in more depth during her Book Festival event on Friday 27 August.

Joanne and Roddy are just two of many brilliant Book Festival authors who have contributed to the Conversation Zone's delicious Book Fest Special.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

A terrific trio!

Three previous Edinburgh International Book Festival Directors were in our Author's Yurt today! This is Catherine Lockerbie, Faith Liddell and Jenny Brown, happily welcomed back to Charlotte Square gardens:

Our Open University event

On Sunday 22 August we'll be hosting the Book Festival Open University event. On Sunday morning the Party Pavilion will be open to all, free of charge, for OU information, opportunities and course sign-ups. Drop by at any time between 10.30 and 16.00.

Everyone’s invited along to this one-off Book Festival event. Chat to OU staff about new developments, enjoy complimentary refreshments in OU’s café area, and take full advantage of this excellent opportunity to get updated about Scotland’s valuable and successful Open University, which has been a great supporter of the Book Festival for eight years running.

The Book Fest and the Filmhouse team up to great effect

The Book Festival is all over the place! We're delighted to direct you towards Space & Light Revisited and In the Wake of the Flood, two events in association with the Book Festival, at the Filmhouse Cinema, home of the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Space & Light Revisited will be showing on Sunday 22 August at 15:30. In 1972 Murray Grigor created a nearly wordless 20-minute film in tribute to St Peter’s Seminary, an incredible structure located in Cardross and described as a "building of world significance". The Filmhouse will project the original film simultaneously alongside Grigor’s own remake.

On Saturday 21 at 17.00 there's In the Wake of the Flood. It's a remarkable film which follows the story of Margaret Atwood's extraordinary worldwide book tour. The film also looks at the ever-increasing international successes of literary festivals such as Edinburgh’s.

See you at the Filmhouse!

James Robertson reading from his latest novel

We met James Robertson yesterday just after he attended John Glenday's poetry event and persuaded him to read a short fragment from his excellent new novel "And The Land Lay Still" and muse upon the power of poetry.
Listen!

Monday, 16 August 2010

'I love you as I love the Hatchetfish'... John Glenday


This morning, we partook of coffee, croissant and an hour in the splendid company of John Glenday at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. This event is part of the strand we assisted Don Paterson in programming, and the afore-mentioned was on hand to introduce the event and lob a few well aimed questions John’s way at the end.

Don admitted it was ‘a relief to be able to stop talking about John as poetry’s best kept secret’, in light of his recent brilliantly received collection Grain(Picador), 14 years after Undark (1995) which succeeded his first, The Apple Ghost (1989) (both Peterloo). Don, John’s editor at Picador, spoke warmly of John, saying his fastidiousness is legendary, and laughed about emails bearing the subject line ‘Glenday writes new poem shocker!’. He commended the skill and imaginative daring that went into these poems that were ‘so well-made’.

John read mostly from Grain, though sprinkled a few oldies from his previous collections in there (‘finding an old poem in the middle of the reading like one of those old tired jokes from a Christmas cracker’, though certainly not for the audience). He read the delightful ‘Tin’, a love poem, inspired by the fact that “the can opener was invented/ forty-eight years after the tin can”. He read about Orkney in ‘A Westray Prayer’, about giving things a name, about ugly fishes – because ‘ugly fishes have more depth’ – "I love you as I love the Hatchetfish,/ the Allmouth, the Angler". He spoke about a self-confessed lack of imagination, it being a "terrible burden for a poet because it means you actually have to start looking at things." Then he read us the fruits of his lookings – those ‘overlooked saints’ of ‘St Orage’, ‘St Eadfast and St Alwart’, "St Agger of the drunken brawling praise", life seen backwards in ‘A Fairy Tale’ his parents re-seen in his poetry. On the topic of his parents he said, ‘My mother put the words in the poem, my father put the silences. She’s the clockwork. He’s the spring.’ We are glad that in ‘the matter of life and death’ that it was to not let anyone know that you are writing poetry in Monifieth in 1963, that John prevailed.

You can hear more from John on the Scottish Poetry Library podcast.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

StoryShop Day 1 - Pippa Goldschmidt


Celebrating the short story and its compact beauty, each year Edinburgh City of Literature programme a series of free readings of ‘micro stories’ and flash fiction read in the Bookshop at 4pm. Yesterday, we welcomed Pippa Goldschmidt, the writer in residence at the Genomics Forum, who dazzled us with her compact tales that fuse science and family history. Listen to her read from one her stories below:
Listen!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Opening day

We're up, we're running, and we're having a fantastic time.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival opened this morning with excitement, energy, and -- perhaps surprisingly! -- golden sunshine. The Soweto Gospel Choir welcomed droves of eager literature fans into Charlotte Square gardens, and after this terrifically successful first day we can look forward to continuing what promises to be an electrifying August.

Enjoy A Night In The Gutter on us

With a throbbing heart and bated breath (can the two co-exist?!) we’re all eagerly anticipating Unbound, our series of experimental performance evenings from 9pm in the Highland Park Spiegeltent. Glasgow-based Gutter magazine kicks us off on Sunday 15 August with A Night in the Gutter: McSex, all on the theme of Scottish erotic writing, and dubbed the “smuttiest” night of them all by Gutter editor Adrian Searle.

Chaired by Colin Begg and Adrian Searle and featuring erotica luminaries Michel Faber, Ewan Morrison and Zoë Strachan and five outstanding writers and performance artists, Cheryl Follon, Allan Radcliffe, Helen Sedgwick, Gamma Ray Dali and Lauren Nicoll, prepare to be enraptured by readings from Scottish erotica past and present, engaged in discussion as to whether a tradition of Scottish erotic writing exists at all, and serenaded by Scotland’s answer to Tom Waits, Grant Campbell.

McSex Poll - still time to vote!
The results of Gutter's public poll to find the nation’s favourite erotic Scottish writer will be announced on the night. Get your vote in before 4pm on Sunday and you could win a bottle of champagne!

All Unbound events are free and drop-in, except for the extended Unbound Grand Finale, 7pm-11pm on 30 August, £10 (£8). Due to licensing laws Unbound is only open to over 18s.
Full details of each night’s line-up are available on our website or at: http://www.edbookfest.co.uk/documents/Skinny_Supplement_Unbound.pdf

Look forward to seeing you there!

txt2win a pair of tickets to the Unbound Grand Finale

Are you an Edinburgh International Book Festival FLIRT or LOVER?




To get you in the mood, we’re running our own mini txt2win poll to find out
if you’re a LOVER and been to a ticketed event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival before or a FLIRT and this year will be your first time...

Text “BOOKFEST”
+ “FLIRT” or “LOVER”
+ YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
to 60777
and receive Edinburgh International Book Festival info & offers.

Standard network charges apply.

All entrants will be put forward to a prize draw to win a pair of tickets to the Unbound Grand Finale at 7pm on 30 August as well as Edinburgh International Book Festival goodies.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Site Build Day 16

This is the last day of the build; and a beautiful day for it too.


Okay, so that's us! Time to have a Book Festival.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Site Build Day 14

The site is right on track, looking grand and green as it nears its completion. Only a few more days until it opens!


And now for something mysterious...


Mind you, the mystery can be solved with this:

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Are Friends Electric?

On Sunday 15th August, I'll be chairing an event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. I'm Peggy from the Scottish Poetry Library; we assisted Don Paterson in programming the poetry strand, and I blogged book festival events from this here very blog last year. The event is called Are Friends Electric? and the blurb runs thus:

Biologists have claimed we can only deal with a certain number of close friendships. Facebook’s 400 million active users average 130 friends each. Twitter averages 50 million tweets a day. With this much information and this many people, are we emotionally and personally connected, or just sharing information? Join Jason Bradbury, Gadget Show host and one of the world’s most influential Twitterati, and Mariann Hardey, social media researcher and blogger extraordinaire, for interactive chat.

Supported by ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum, in association with The Skinny, this event is an exciting chance to discuss and debate the impact of social media. Here at the SPL, in the last few years, we have whole heartedly embraced the social media developments available to us, so perhaps we are biased about the positive results it can have; we’re able to bring people and poetry together on a global scale, and that has to be a good thing! We're therefore delighted that the book festival has joined Twitter (@edbookfest), so we can keep up with the latest news, enter competitions for books and tickets and chat to fellow book lovers about book festival events!

But what do you think. Are friends electric? Do you feel that you have more than one online persona? Can you really be friends with someone you’ve only met online? We’d love to have your feedback before the event, electric friends!

Join in on Twitter: please make sure you speak to us by using the hashtag #Electricfriends. Or comment below...

Site Build Day 13



And now for something mysterious...

Yes, from pews to potential modern art installations -- Charlotte Square gardens has it all.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Site Build Day 12

The walkways have appeared and are looking very aesthetically pleasing as they wind their way through the trees. They're also incredibly useful for providing a handy circuit around Charlotte Square gardens: all the better for taking photographs in geographical order. Gone are the days when I was taking site photos from the bushes (which never happened anyway).


The Highland Park Spiegeltent is also looking particularly impressive as it heads towards completion. As presented by our masterful Site Manager Robin!