Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Book Festival Ticket Sales Now Open!

So Bookfest lovers, where are we? . . .

Successful press launch? . . . tick. Successful first day of sales? . . . tick. Huge new programme full of amazing events? . . . tick. Gorgeous hot summer weather? . . . tick (fingers crossed the weather’s this good during the festival itself!) So now we just have to wait until August . . . bring it on!

It was a busy and exciting weekend. On Saturday morning we all arrived into work bright and early. Now we were feeling a tiny little bit sorry for ourselves at having had to get up so early for work on a Saturday morning, but then we found out that some people had started queuing for tickets at 4.00 am (!), so the feeling disappeared very quickly.

Having said that, things weren’t too bad for those Bookfest aficionados: once inside the EICC itself, there were plenty of chairs, a snack bar, screens to tell you which events were selling out, and even toys and drawing stuff for younger children to help stem boredom levels.

Lots of customers had the best idea, though, and brought their novels in with them to read so they could have a leisurely (dare I say pleasurable?) wait; you could almost say it was like an extension of their usual Saturday morning rest on the conservatory armchair with the weekend Newspapers or their book. Plus there were friendly people to chat to and a ‘booky’ kind of buzz in the air. Later on people were able to watch Wimbledon which was ace (seriously, a pun wasn’t intended there).

One of the festival team – Children & Education Programme Director – Sara Grady asked some of the customers, while they were waiting, about the books they were reading at the moment. To listen click on the link below:


Back at Bookfest HQ in Charlotte Square, things were running just as smoothly. Staff members were getting excited about which events were selling out first and a general book recommendation chat which began some weeks ago between Bookfest staff about the books which are to feature in the festival, has gathered passion and momentum.

We’re slowly working our way through the range of new books on the office shelves which have all been hot off the press and we’re all passing on tips and book reviews and teasers to each other. The one that got the biggest reaction this weekend was Karl Marlantes’s astonishing novel Matterhorn – read by one of the press team on the train to London. Apparently this book, set during the Vietnam War and which took Vietnam War survivor Marlantes thirty years to write, is utterly incredible. The problem is that this revelation led to a scramble and we’re all fighting over the office copies now. There are still tickets available for his event, by the way, on 14 August at 20:00 so be quick to book your seat and get your hands on one of this year’s most sensational and highly praised American text.

We will keep you posted on other key recommendations over the coming weeks.

Monday, 21 June 2010

The programme unveiled

Philip Pullman, Ian Rankin, James Robertson, Nicholas Parsons, Candia McWilliam… Fay Weldon, Lydia Davis, Jo Shapcott, Vidal Sassoon, Seamus Heaney… DBC Pierre, Roy Hattersley, Joseph Stiglitz, Lionel Shriver, Joyce Carol Oates… Carol Ann Duffy, Garth Nix, Louise Rennison, Tohby Riddle… and that’s just the beginning.

In other words: we are in for a treat.

The 2010 Book Festival programme launched on Thursday, and as names and themes appearing this year were announced, I watched people nearby excitedly leaf through their programmes to circle events, gradually transforming their brochures into Kandinsky paintings.

Among the many enthusiastic responses to the launch, The Scotsman has called it “a thrilling new chapter” and the Evening News called it “at the cutting edge”. And we agree with them both – but then, we would, wouldn’t we?

If you still don’t know what goodies are pouring out of the pages of the brochure, download it straight from the homepage of our website and get tucked in.

Lots of people are already getting excited about ticket sales starting on Saturday; it’s going to be a pretty busy day to get hold of tickets. On your marks, get set…

… and that’s going to be a long pause, because I’m not shouting “go!” until Saturday.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Programme launch tomorrow!

Tomorrow our programme is launched. It's our Apollo 11. Okay so that's probably an exaggeration, but we're really excited; partly because it's going to paint a clear picture of how brilliant August is going to be, and partly because it means that we in the Book Festival team can finally ramble shamelessly to everyone about the names appearing.

There's some names so big you'll be able to see them from space (that'd be Apollo 11 again), and some lesser known names that are genuinely equally exciting. The Book Festival is so much about promoting debut authors, because we know in the future that you'll be able to see them from space too.

Our "Elsewhere" theme (see previous post!) isn't the only one running through the 2010 programme. We've got numerous others to look out for, all innovative and intriguing, and all worth delving into when you've got the programme, which you'll be able to snag straight from our website if you don't get a hard copy.

We hope you like it!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010


So where, exactly, is "Elsewhere"? The many answers to that question are extremely fascinating and ridiculously entertaining, and we can prove it -- the Book Festival has this year commissioned fifty authors to write short stories or essays on the theme of Elsewhere. You'll be able to read them on our website -- the first is being uploaded on Thursday 17th June, and more will arrive throughout the rest of the year. To keep updated, follow us on Twitter and sign up to our ebulletin via our website home page.

Give the hugely diverse subject of Elsewhere to a talented author and you're bound to get something worth reading, but even we couldn't have predicted how imaginative -- and frankly insane -- some of these stories are. "Elsewhere" has been portrayed as everything from a holiday in Rome to a tetraplegic trapped in a hospital bed. Oh, and there's also a tale of your everyday alien abduction.

Serves us right. "Elsewhere" is such a fun theme to play with; what writer could resist?

Among those writers, by the way, are Michel Faber, Roddy Doyle, Alan Warner, Louise Welsh, James Robertson, Amy Bloom, and many more. We're itching to share these with you on the website.

And elsewhere, the 2010 Edinburgh International Book Festival itself is sitting expectantly on the horizon...