LongPen technology brings Mailer and Munro to Edinburgh

This article is from 2007.

Left to right - Ben Okri, Norman Mailer, Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro

A novel approach

LongPen technology brings Mailer and Munro to Edinburgh

With the announcement of its programme for August 2007 an intriguing new chapter has opened for the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The Charlotte Square-based festival, which has grown year on year since humble beginnings in 1983, boasts some 700 events this year, featuring more than 600 authors from around 35 countries.

As ever, the programme is a veritable roll call of the most compelling names in literature, from Scottish favourites Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith, Liz Lochhead and James Kelman to international literary superstars such as Ben Okri, Clive James, Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol Oates and Alan Bennett. There are also eagerly anticipated appearances by scientist and author of The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins as well as Newsnight interrogator Jeremy Paxman and former UK foreign secretary Douglas Hurd. Meanwhile, novelist Alan Warner, author of The Worms Can Carry Me To Heaven appears in a special event supported by The List, in conversation with broadcaster Janice Forsyth.

However, the most eye-catching author events are two in which the writers themselves will be appearing long distance. Legendary American man of letters Norman Mailer will be discussing his life and work with Scottish author Andrew O'Hagan on Sunday 12 August via live link-up from his home in the states. The renowned Canadian short story writer Alice Munro appears in a similar event on Wednesday 15 August in conversation with Margaret Atwood. Both will sign a limited number of books using Atwood's remarkable LongPen invention.

As ever, running alongside the regular programme are a number of debates and writing workshops as well as the children's book festival which this year features such perennial favourites Jacqueline Wilson, Nick Sharratt, Nick Butterworth and Julie Bertagna.

Advance tickets for the festival, which are often snapped up at a dizzying rate, can be purchased online from www.edbookfest.co.uk, by phoning 0845 373 5888 or in person from the capital's George Street branch of Waterstone's.


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