This article is from 2008


Ripping up the stuffy literary world

‘People think live readings are supposed to be 20-minute monotones about the “quality of light on the mountains” and unfortunately they often are,’ says Alan Bissett, master of ceremonies for a stagefull of Dan Rhodes (pictured), Patience Agbabi and Luke Wright. ‘But if you’re a writer, you have to treat it the same way as a rock’n’roll gig and rip up the place.’

The authors will be doing just that in Charlotte Square Gardens under the jubilant auspices of Bookslam, the literary London club night and brainchild of Ben Watt and Patrick Neate. Bookslam is a sexy, writhing melange of readings, live music and DJ sets, and has hosted acts diverse as Zadie Smith, Jonathan Safran Foer, Jon Ronson and Kate Nash.

Not sure what to expect of its first foray up north? Dan Rhodes isn’t either, but is happy to be taking part. ‘They’ve told me there’ll be a bar, which is always a bonus,’ he says. ‘I’m surprised the Book Festival has invited me back after the incident with the pumpkin and the Action Man . . . It’ll be a good night.’

Be rapt as Patience Agbabi brings the stage to the page with pace and poise, bathe in the melodious wit of Dan Rhodes then have alternative laureate Luke Wright tilt your windmills in all the right directions. Featuring booze and acoustic interludes from Roddy Woomble, with added funk, soul and hip hop, Bookslam will light up your mountains in a whole different way.

15 Aug, 6.15pm, £9 (£7).


Alan Bissett hosts an event designed to rip up the literary word with readers Dan Rhodes, Patience Abgagi and Luke Wright. 'Part of the Edinburgh International Book Festival'.