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


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 +
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
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.

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:

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:

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...

+ “FLIRT” or “LOVER”
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!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Free events at this year's festival

We've always had a range of free events at the Book Festival, but this year we've given you even more to choose from. Programme Manager Roland talks us through your myriad penny free possibilities:

And here's those daily options in writing: Ten At Ten, a short ten minute reading at 10am in our Writer's Retreat; StoryShop, a chance to hear some new, local writers reading at 4pm in our bookshop; Amnesty International Imprisoned Writers where we pay tribute to persecuted writers from around the world; Unbound, a mini festival within a festival where we invite writers to try out new approaches to writing; and last, but not least, our specially commissioned short stories on the theme of Elsewhere.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Book Competition Answer

Two weeks ago, we asked Book Festival ebulletin readers how many books we keep here on the office shelves...

The above is just a slice of our mighty collection! We received many guesses, from 35 to 35,000: and the real number is 1,482. From Alberto Manguel's unique All Men Are Liars to Nora Chassler's riveting Miss Thing, we in the Charlotte Square offices are very lucky to have this treasure trove of books within reach (or, at least, within reach of the taller members of staff we call upon for the top shelves!).

Congratulations to our competition winner, who has won Garth Nix's Lord Sunday and John Harris's Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll, with two tickets to each of these brilliant events.

Sign up to the Edinburgh International Book Festival ebulletin for regular email updates about Book Festival activities, offers, recommendations for events and books, literary news, and competitions like the above.

Site Build Day 9

Next week is the last week of the site build, and Charlotte Square gardens is looking more and more familiar to Book Festival regulars...

Roland shares some international gems

For a taster of some of the fantastic international authors appearing at this year's festival, listen to Programme Manager Roland Gulliver's pick of some hidden gems:

And just in case you missed them, or for some reason you can't listen just yet, here's the writers he mentions: Canadian authors Emma Donoghue and Lisa Moore, who have both been long-listed for this year's Man Booker Prize, as well as fellow Canadian Annabel Lyon, whose debut novel, "The Golden Mean", features Athenian philosopher, biologist and seeker of contentment, Aristotle. Roland is also very excited about pairing up Scotland's own Alan Bissett with Lars Husum, whose "My Friend Jesus Christ" is Roland's favourite book cover of the year. And last, but by no means least, he shoots the breeze on James Miller and Olga Slavnikova's event featuring two very different visions of the near future.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Site Build Day 8

The 75,816 books (now 86,179!) reported by Booksales Officer Tracey the other day is such an impressive number that we couldn't help but share a visual representation of it. Here are the jungle of boxes for our on-site bookshops, full of books ready to be stacked, shelved, bought and enjoyed, as presented by (from left to right) Nick, Lewis, Warehouse Manager Graham, Ken, Pat and Book Festival Director Nick:

Meanwhile, in Charlotte Square gardens, a forklift truck goes about its business (lifting forks), and rows of welcoming seats line our tents:

And now -- captured by Technical Manager Craig -- for something mysterious...