Reviews & features: Book Festival

413 reviews

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Letters Home

27 Aug 20143 stars

Four snapshot stories of exile at 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival

Consisting of four short scenes and an unnecessary epilogue set 'backstage' where the actors turn back into civilians, Letters Home is surprisingly slight for a two hour flagship production at the Book Festival. Only Grid Iron's own Ben Harrison deals…

Interview: Rachel McCrum and Jenny Lindsay talk poetry at the Edinburgh Festivals 2014

15 Aug 2014

Poets are popping up all over the capital this august, including Luke Wright and Hollie McNish

Between the crowds, the queues, the small-hours bedtimes and the daytime drinking, moments of poetic transcendence don’t necessarily come high on the August-in-Edinburgh agenda. But those familiar with Edinburgh’s dynamic live literature and spoken word…

Top five books to revisit at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014

18 Aug 2014

Works by George Eliot, William S Burroughs, EM Forster, Mervyn Peak and Jane Austen reappraised

Middlemarch, George Eliot (1874) Set in the fictitious Midlands town of Middlemarch, Eliot’s complex novel has multiple plots with a sprawling cast of characters, with themes including the status of marriage, idealism, and religion. Rebecca Mead…

Walking Dead comic artist Charlie Adlard set for 2014 Edinburgh Book Festival events

17 Aug 2014

Artist also appears with Robbie Morrison to discuss WWI graphic novel White Death

Born in Shrewsbury in 1966, comic artist Charlie Adlard first arrived on the UK scene with work for 2000AD’s enduring monthly anthology spin-off the Judge Dredd Megazine, and has continued to work for publishers Rebellion on series in both publications…

Peter Ross on his new book Daunderlust ahead of 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival

17 Aug 2014

Scottish journalist talks about his storytelling style and hidden spots in Scotland

Five words to describe your storytelling style. Rather than high-five myself, I'll quote the reviews of my book: ‘Funny’; ‘Beautiful’; ‘Full of heart’. None of those were written by my mum, the landlord of my local, or anyone else who has cause to be…

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Highlights from 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival: Fri 22 – Mon 25 Aug

17 Aug 2014

Martin Amis, Gruff Rhys, Haruki Murakami and Peter Ross among guests at Charlotte Square

Friday sees a joint event with two of the literature’s bright young things, Ned Beauman and Clemens J Setz discussing their recent work. Beauman will be speaking about Glow, his follow-up to 2012’s Booker Prize-longlisted The Teleportation Accident, and…

Chaos Walking author Patrick Ness set for 2014 Edinburgh Book Festival appearance

15 Aug 2014

Key writer in British young adult fiction scene discusses new novel More Than This

Chaos Walking author and Book Festival favourite Patrick Ness will soon deliver the first Siobhan Dowd Trust Memorial Lecture. He tells Paul Gallagher why truth in storytelling is more important than ever. Patrick Ness is one of the shining lights of…

Dystopian graphic novel IDP 2043 events set for 2014 Edinburgh Book Festival

15 Aug 2014

Collaborative work featuring contributions from Irvine Welsh, Denise Mina and Pat Mills

Charlotte Square went mad for comics last year – so much so, they’ve collaborated with Freight Books on a new graphic novel. David Pollock finds out more.

This weekend at the 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival: Fri 15–Sun 17 Aug

15 Aug 2014

Highlights include Julian Cope, Katy Brand, Gordon Brown and Maggie O'Farrell

Friday’s highlights include Julian Cope, one of contemporary music’s most interesting chaps – as well as one of the busiest, judging by his output as a musician, author, historian, antiquarian, cultural commentator, and now, novelist. He'll be talking…

Sweet Potato and Callaloo: Voices from the Caribbean Diaspora

15 Aug 20145 stars

Project exploring Scotland's role in slave trade, featuring Dorothea Smartt and Millicent AA Graham

Fresh from their appearances at The Empire Cafe, a remarkable project exploring Glasgow and Scotland's under-acknowledged role in the transatlantic slave trade, come four poets from the Caribbean Diaspora. Warmly introduced by Scottish poet Jackie Kay…

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Profile: Mike Carey set for two appearances at 2014 Edinburgh Book Festival

15 Aug 2014

Comic writer to discuss recent novels The Unwritten and The Girl With All the Gifts

Liverpool-born, Oxford-educated Mike Carey was a teacher for fifteen years before he broke into comics, but since then his workrate has been prolific across a wide range of titles, from underground, creator-owned efforts to some of the ‘Big Two’s…

Five things we learned about George R R Martin

15 Aug 2014

Unusual facts about Games of Thrones author revealed at 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival

He's heavily influenced by Scottish history. A number of Scotland's historical events have moulded elements of Game of Thrones, with the infamous Red Wedding scene inspired by the Glencoe Massacre. Beyond events, he admits that The Wall was inspired by…

Interview: Journalist Sid Lowe on Spanish football ahead of 2014 Edinburgh Book Festival appearance

14 Aug 2014

Author of Fear and Loathing in La Liga, which explored rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid

It’s not often that a book about football comes along which blurs the lines between a story of the beautiful game, political intrigue and historical epic, but Sid Lowe has done exactly that this year with Fear and Loathing in La Liga. Telling the story…

Haruki Murakami - Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage

14 Aug 20143 stars

Welcome addition for fans, but one that never quite reaches the heights it could do

There aren't many writers whose novel launches can be classed as an event, but Haruki Murakami is one of the few who fit the category. When Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage, his 13th novel, launched in Japan last year it sold a…

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014 interview: Ned Beauman

14 Aug 2014

Th award-winning author of Boxer, Beetle and The Teleportation Accident discusses his latest, Glow

Ned Beauman is sticking it to the man. Not in the literal sense of waving two fingers at those who have found his latest novel Glow not as good as his previous two offerings, Boxer, Beetle and The Teleportation Accident, but more in emphasising – in his…

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Scott Pilgrim writer Bryan Lee O'Malley to attend Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014

14 Aug 2014

The graphic novelist attends the fest to discuss his new project, Seconds

Canadian comics artist Bryan Lee O’Malley is the writer and illustrator of the bestselling Scott Pilgrim series, a six-volume epic that established him as a master at combining intimate, personal characterisation with fantastical storytelling on a huge…

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014 interview: Kevin Eldon

14 Aug 2014

The comedian, actor and writer discusses his biography of eerily similar poet Paul Hamilton

‘It's all a bit subjective isn't it, poetry?’ asks Kevin Eldon, comedian and well-known face around cult television comedy shows like Big Train and Brass Eye. ‘Well, everything is really. Subjective. Even that opinion.’ He’s discussing the poetry of his…

Profile: Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series

14 Aug 2014

The author appears at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014

Diana Gabaldon is the Arizona-based author of the Outlander books series, a historical-fantasy-time travel mash-up of epic proportions begun in 1991. Now into its eighth instalment, it’s amassed global sales of over 20 million copies and she’s appearing…

Legendary New York spoken word night The Moth coming to Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014

14 Aug 2014

The live true storytelling event will feature Omid Djalili, Andrew Solomon and Lynn Ferguson

A literary phenomenon in its New York home for many years now, The Moth’s fame is extending rapidly overseas, partly through the open mic StorySLAMs in approaching 20 international cities that it uses to gather stories. Making its second ever appearance…

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014 interview: Lynne Segal on ageing and feminism

14 Aug 2014

‘It’s women who are aged faster by culture and discarded sooner as undesirable'

’I don’t feel old,’ was the most common response author, academic and long-time socialist-feminist Lynne Segal would receive when researching her new book Out of Time: The Pleasures and Perils of Ageing. She describes this as ‘temporal vertigo’, noting…

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Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014 interview: Natalie Haynes on her debut novel

14 Aug 2014

The comedian turned author promises The Amber Fury is 'not funny. I wouldn’t want to mislead anyone'

‘It had to be set in Edinburgh,’ says stand-up comedian turned author, Natalie Haynes, about her debut novel, The Amber Fury, a story of grief, interwoven with the Greek tragedies, published earlier this year. ‘It sets the right tone for a thriller.

Kirsty Logan: author of ‘quirky, vivid, lush, wild and magical' fairytales

14 Aug 2014

The Scottish author is set to appear at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014

What a difference a year makes. Last year, Kirsty Logan was living in Glasgow, publishing the occasional short story and poem online and in literary magazines, and she’d just been appointed books editor at The List. Fast forward 12 months and a bit, and…

Take Five interview: Glasgow author Kirsty Logan

14 Aug 2014

The fairytale creator is due to appear at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014

Five words to describe your storytelling style Quirky, vivid, lush, wild, magical. Four authors who we should really know about, but probably don't (yet) Emily Mackie. Elaine di Rollo. Dawn West. Caroline Bird. Three themes you find yourself…

Interview: Mary Talbot on writing about Suffragette movement ahead of 2014 Edinburgh Book Festival event

12 Aug 2014

Graphic novel Sally Heathcoate: Suffragette explores militant campaign to give women in the vote

Sally Heathcoate: Suffragette is the follow-up to Mary and Bryan Talbot's Costa Award winning graphic novel The Dotter of Her Father's Eyes. Created in collaboration with Edinburgh-based illustrator Kate Charlesworth, it explores the militant campaign…

Iain MacWhirter: After the Referendum - Sat 9 Aug 2014

12 Aug 20144 stars

Clear-sighted analysis of Scottish independence referendum from experienced political journalist

'What would happen if Putin invaded an independent Scotland?' asks one tweedy doomsayer of Iain MacWhirter. 'You can't be serious,' the political journalist laughs, 'Are you a Yes campaign plant?' That apocalyptic warning aside, this event, chaired by…