Reviews & features: Books

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5 Questions: Helen Oyeyemi

6 Aug 2009

Give us five words to describe White is for Witching? Quaint, little, antique, quince, spoon. Which authors should be more famous than they are now? Jesse Ball, the consistently amazing Chicago-based poet and novelist. Samedi the Deafness and…

Word Power Book Fringe

6 Aug 2009

Helen FitzGerald (reading Fri 14 Aug) is just one of the great lineup of local and international authors on at our favourite local book shop Word Power’s Book Fringe this year. Other readers include Tom Leonard (Fri 21 Aug), Allan Massie (Thu 13 Aug)…

Words and Pictures

4 Aug 2009

David Peace and Garrison Keillor celebrate fiction and adaptation

Writers David Peace and Garrison Keillor will both be making an appearance at this short season celebrating fiction and adaptation. Peace will be talking about The Red Riding Trilogy and Keillor will be talking about A Prairie Home Companion. There…

Rising Son - David Peace does Japan

13 Jul 2009

British crime writer to discuss his quartet of latest novels

Although generally viewed as one of the most crime-free countries in the developed world, when Japan does crime, its felons certainly step up to the mark. In their back catalogue is the notorious cannibal (is there any other kind?) Issei Sagawa who…

All the world’s a stage

15 Sep 2008

Merchant City Festival (25-28 Sep) Located in the heart of old Glasgow, this event locates a programme of film, theatre, comedy, visual arts, street theatre, live music, food and fashion within an area of real…

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Beyond the Book Fest

4 Sep 2008

Following their success this summer, The Edinburgh International Book Festival will present a special autumn event with award-winning Australian author David Malouf. Winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, his book Remembering Babylon was shortlisted…

Telling stories while we can at The Edinburgh Book Festival

26 Aug 2008

Alan Bissett's festival blog

Today's theme is stories! The ones we tell about ourselves, our past, our bodies. What prompted this was The Fooligan at the Pleasance, a one-man show from the Arches' artist in residence, Al Seed. Al waddles onto the stage, an obese, grotesque medieval…

Bryan Talbot

21 Aug 2008

Graphic detail in the finest strips

Bryan Talbot is a bit of a legend in the UK comics industry. He’s provided art for the likes of 2000AD, Sandman and Batman but you can still see the influence of underground comix artists such as Robert Crumb and Gilbert Shelton even in his most…

Simon Armitage

21 Aug 2008

Pop poet turns wordy rock star

Simon Armitage is a very modern poet, as happy to ruminate over Arctic Monkeys’ lyrics as he is to translate 14th century romantic poetry. During the 15 years since he handed in his notice as a probation officer to concentrate fully on his writing, he’s…

5 Questions - Irvine Welsh

21 Aug 2008

Give us five words to describe Crime? Crime is an existential thriller. Which authors should be more famous than they are now? I used to say Ron Butlin, but I think that’s changing now. I think Doug Johnstone will soon be very famous. If I have…

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Festival Books - Mark Watson

21 Aug 2008

Eco-friendly, my dear Watson

According to Mark Watson, saving the planet would, at the very least, ‘look pretty smart on all our CVs’. With an already sterling comedy résumé, Watson takes on environmentalism in his latest book, Crap at the Environment, which through the author’s…

Festival Books - Rosemary Goring

21 Aug 2008

The history woman

Rosemary Goring tells Doug Johnstone about finding the voices or ordinary people. There’s been a resurgence of interest in Scottish history among ordinary punters, a trend Scotland: The Autobiography taps into brilliantly. Edited by Rosemary Goring, a…

Andrew Sean Greer

21 Aug 2008

No one can stop his California dreaming

With his recent impressive run in the literary world, it’s hard to imagine Andrew Sean Greer ever feeling edgy about his work. Since the release of critically acclaimed debut The Path Of Minor Planets in 2001, the San Francisco-based scribe has come up…

Kei Miller

21 Aug 2008

Jamaican voice aching to be heard

In a famous sketch by Bill Hicks, the great comedian is stumped by the question, ‘What are you reading for?’ The enquiry – and its correlative, ‘What are you writing for?’ – are deceptively simple. For Kei Miller, the Jamaican-born poet, novelist and…

Sadie Jones

21 Aug 2008

Orange nominee who won’t stick to the script

‘Not a bad start,’ comes Londoner Sadie Jones’ modest response when she’s reminded of the remarkable success of her debut novel The Outcast – a nominee for the Orange Prize for Fiction and one of 2008’s best sellers to date. ‘I’m just in a constant…

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Gordon Burn

21 Aug 2008

Upsetting the traditionalists with novelised news

‘I hate plots. Soon as I know that a film or a book or TV show has a plot, my brain can’t cope with it. If I’m watching a film and I don’t know or have forgotten what the storyline is and I’m supposed to work out who this or that person is, I just fall…

Top 5 - Tories

21 Aug 2008

Rick Wakeman He might be a cast member of the Grumpy Old Men but simply mention the word ‘conservative’ and the Yes man lights up. He even performed a gig in 2004 to raise funds for the party. Rock’n’roll eh? 22 Aug, 6.30pm, £9 (£7). Ffion Hague The…

Kids events

21 Aug 2008

Getting arty and yucky, all in the same week

If you suffer from Crayola on the carpet and finger-painted furniture, The Big Picture Event (24 Aug) should be the destination of choice for your little ‘uns. Chairman and Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen leads an exquisite event of drawing and…

Hardeep Sing Kohli

21 Aug 2008

As multi-tasking multi-media cultural polymaths go, writer, cook, broadcaster, columnist and all-round top bloke Hardeep Singh Kohli is pretty much up there in the can do stakes. Taking a short interlude from waxing lyrical in the papers or throwing in…

Nam Le beams into Book Festival

21 Aug 2008

Vietnamese-born celebrated Australian writer, Nam Le is set to be beamed in live from the Melbourne Writers Festival, as part of an addition to the Edinburgh International Book Festival line-up. Le will talk about his debut collection of short stories…

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Medium of the masses joins debate at Edinburgh Book Festival

20 Aug 2008

Alan Bissett's Festival Blog

17th August This morning I went to see Stella Duffy, Rodge Glass and Will Sutcliffe at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, promoting their new novels. Each reading was an assured affair, Duffy's in particular. Author discussion afterwards was…

Speaking in tongues at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

18 Aug 2008

Alan Bissett's festival blog

Thurs 14th Aug This morning I was on at the Edinburgh International Book Festival with Des Dillon and Anne Donovan, two of Scotland’s ace-est writers and who, like me, have a name mainly for writing in Scots urban dialect. We met in the Author’s Yurt…

The horror, the horror… of the Edinburgh International Book Festival

15 Aug 2008

Alan Bissett's festival blog

Ah the Edinburgh International Book Festival! My home from home! My August social life! The Author's Yurt! The free tea/coffee/wine/beer/finger food! The celebs! The horror. The horror. Man, I love the Book Festival. As its director, Catherine…

Chuck Palahniuk - Snuff love

14 Aug 2008

Chuck Palahniuk tells such stark tales that people faint at his readings. Doug Johnstone crosses his legs, girds his loins and chats to the guru of gore

Lisa Appignanesi - Express yourself

14 Aug 2008

Kate Gould finds Lisa Appignanesi on good form as she discusses the history of health and the future of censorship