Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Day 4

Another packed day of discoveries at the Book Festival. Here are a few...

Andy Coogan is Edinburgh hero Chris Hoy's great uncle - and was an Olympic torchbearer this year! You can watch Andy in action on YouTube, and see him in person at the Book Festival on the 25th in his event with Graham Ogilvy.

The press tent here at the Book Festival is always full of people tapping away on state-of-the-art equipment; but today we also had something not so state-of-the-art. Rob of RobAroundBooks brought in a typewriter! Those of us who'd never used a typewriter before were keen to show that we were... well, not very good at it.

Despite being a bad liar, Clive Stafford Smith (whose event has been one of my absolute favourites so far) can beat a lie detector (polygraph test). At the beginning of the test, you're asked basic, easy questions, such as your mother's maiden name. Clive was taught that to cheat the test all you have to do is think the most erotic thoughts you can when asked these basic questions. Though he didn't find this very easy to do while thinking about his mother's maiden name.

Book cover designer Jamie Keenan has shared some of his secrets. Sometimes he'll just scribble the title of the book in a funky sort of way, et voilà! An excellent book cover design.

Today I made a point of going along to some of the daily free events offered by the Book Festival.

First there's Ten at Ten in the Writers' Retreat, which features a ten-minute reading (at 10AM) from one of the Book Festival authors. Check the screen in the Entrance Tent to find out who's reading that morning.

The City of Literature Trust's Story Shop is a chance to hear new writers share their talent from 4PM in the Guardian Speigeltent. Story Shop contributors from previous years have gone onwards and upwards, so see them now and boast about it in years to come.

The Amnesty International Imprisoned Writers series is a significant string to the Book Festival bow, with its events from 17.30 to 16.45. Each day in Peppers Theatre the Amnesty event features favourite authors reading from the works of writers persecuted simply for being who they are. Tickets are free, and you can pick them up from the Box Office on the day.

Unbound enjoys its "anything goes" reputation, from poetry to music, from storytelling to stand-up comedy. It takes place in the grand Guardian Spiegeltent, and whether an event is haunting and sumptuous or laugh-out-loud funny, it's bound to be unique. Take a look at The Skinny website for the Unbound programme. Events are on from 9PM each night.

If you're after a great day at the Book Festival without worrying about price, the above lot is your answer. Open the day with a Ten at Ten reading, discover new writers in the afternoon's Story Shop, followed by some moral discourse courtesy of Amnesty International, bring a picnic to enjoy in the sprawling green Gardens, and end with an entertaining night in the atmospheric Speigeltent.

As for the kids, there are fun, hands-on activities in the RBS Story Box at any time between 11AM and 4.30PM, and, if you book in advance, enjoyable half-hour events at 10AM in the Story Box.

And the price for all this? Zilch.

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