Monday, 20 August 2012

Day 10

A hefty array of discoveries today, made in events and around the Book Festival.

One of Chika Unigwe's favourite songs as a child was 'Let's Talk About Sex' by Salt n Pepa, but she was so nervous of the forbidden word “sex” that she replaced it with the word “bread” when she was singing along. “Let's talk about bread, baby”!

Have you spotted any filming in the events? Well, those lovely folk have their work cut out. Today there were two cameras, a sound recordist and a director in the RBS Main Theatre – and that's not counting the other, separate crew in there. As for the now-notorious Writers' Conference live stream, those cameras roam. And the talented people behind them have to make judgment calls on what reactions to pick out of the audience. I promised that I would pull some exuberant responsive expressions for next time.

Musician Nile Rodgers was a huge star at the Book Festival yesterday, and, as it turns out, he was as moved as we were. In the run-up to his time at the Book Festival he penned an inspired blog post which, among other things, shared his love of being called an “author”, and afterward the famous New Yorker said that “Edinburgh is a remarkable place. I'll never forget this experience.”

When Jeanette Winterson was seven years old, her adoptive mother read 'Jane Eyre' to her. Much later, Jeanette realised that her mother had been making up huge chunks of the story as she went along, having Jane marry St John Rivers and go away to do missionary work with him.

As you'll see from roaming around Charlotte Square Gardens, portrait photographer Chris Close gets his subjects to do some excellent things. The first week of the Book Festival was (of course) infused with Olympic fever, so he had plenty of authors doing Usain Bolt and Mo Farah's poses – including Michael Palin and Menzies Campbell...! But the highlight of this week was, perhaps, Steve Cole (left). Otherwise known as spiderman in a kilt.

The Writers' Conference is reaching and effecting more and more people – mainly thanks to the live videos and the participation on Twitter – but today it embraced a very practical move. When Junot Díaz (left) brought up the topic of Latino literature being banned in Arizona schools, there was an outcry from the writers present, and within minutes the idea was given to put together a statement from the writers present and use it to condemn the law. Tomorrow's Writers' Conference will see the statement shared, confirmed and signed.

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