Further Edinburgh Book Festival highlights 2010
This article is from 2010.
In addition to events featuring Will Self, Heather Brooke and youth fiction-writers Tohby Riddle, John Green, Meg Rosoff, Cathy Cassidy there are plenty more highlights in the Edinburgh Book Festival programme.
One of this year’s fresh innovations by new director Nick Barley is to give the festival’s previous dead time in the late evening a shot in the arm with a nightly explosion of music, storytelling and improvised literary entertainment. A series of authors will present their work in different, exciting ways and among those strutting their stuff during the two-hour finale to each day’s literariness are Willy Vlautin, Simone Felice and Christopher Brookmyre.
Special events from Scotland’s underground scene will be held by The Golden Hour, DisComBoBuLate and Irregular, while indie magazines McSweeney’s, Gutter and Five Dials get their chance to make a mark.
The final night of the Book Festival is a four-hour spectacular with a special line-up to be announced. ‘A large dose of the unknown’ is expected.
15–29 Aug, 9pm, free; 30 Aug, 7pm, £10 (£8).
The kids’ strand to the festival gets off to a flyer with this visit from Aussie writer Nix who is in town to chat about the final segment to his series, The Keys to the Kingdom.
14 Aug, 10am, £4.
The Scottish writer who is one of the few to have found themselves upon a Booker shortlist (in 1999 with Our Fathers) delivered a humdinger of a tale this year with The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe, which concerned the viewpoint of a Hollywood pooch.
15 Aug, 11.30am, £10 (£8).
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of her classic debut Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, the popular northern writer looks back on those heady days as her literary career took off in spectacular fashion with a tale of family, faith and forbidden love.
16 Aug, 11.30am, £10 (£8).
There will be few attendees in Charlotte Square Gardens with a more troubled background than Lilin. In Siberian Education he recalls his ‘upbringing’ as part of a Mafia-like organisation in Transnistria and can show us the scars to prove it.
19 Aug, 6pm, £7 (£5).
Best known for her Orange prizewinning Small Island, which was recently given the BBC adaptation treatment, Levy’s latest work is The Long Song, the story of a slave girl living on a sugar plantation in Jamaica of the 1930s.
21 Aug, 11.30am, £10 (£8).
The Anna Politkovskaya Event
The still as yet unsolved assassination of the campaigning journalist Anna Politkovskaya represented not just a disaster for free speech in Russia but flagged up the threat to all investigative writers across the globe. The Book Festival pays homage with an appearance by translator Arch Tait and BBC Russian Service journo Masha Karp.
22 Aug, 5pm, £10 (£8).
The Elsewhere project consists of 50 writers who have been commissioned to pen a short story or essay on that broad theme. The likes of Roddy Doyle, Ali Smith and Alasdair Gray have also played their part in the collection which is available online.
One of the UK’s most promising verse-writers retraces his steps across the landscape of the United Kingdom for a book which follows up the successful BBC4 series, A Poet’s Guide to Britain.
21 Aug, 4pm, £10 (£8).
She may have made her name with the Tracy Beaker stories, but there’s more to the former Children’s Laureate than tales from the Dumping Ground. In these two events she will chat about many of her other characters and how she got the inspiration to create them.
21 & 22 Aug, 10am, £4.
One of the nation’s aspiring greats, this Malvern-raised scribe seems to get better with each passing novel. This year’s affair is The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet set in late 18th century Japan.
22 Aug, 11.30am, £10 (£8).
One of the Book Festival’s four Nobel laureates makes a rare appearance on these shores as part of Don Paterson’s poetry strand. His forthcoming collection, Human Chain, tackles family, history and speech.
24 Aug, 6.30pm, £10 (£8).
You might only know this guy from those iconic haircare adverts, but Vidal Sassoon has had a truly amazing life away from conditioners. You might not be aware that he fought the fascists in 1930s London and later joined the Israeli Army. But did you know an anagram of his name is Avoids Salons?
27 Aug, 6.30pm, £10 (£8).
Having completed the final part of his Last Roundup trilogy with The Dead Republic, we can only guess at what new territories await the Dublin writer’s superlative authorial voice. In this event, he will discuss his unlikely hero Henry Smart.
26 Aug, 11.30am, £10 (£8), 4.30pm, £4.
The photographer who has witnessed atrocities and traumas by the bucketload has settled down in Somerset and taken some wonderful landscape pictures in his own inimitable style. Here, he discusses his work in the calmer spots across the world.
29 Aug, 8pm, £10 (£8).
All events at Charlotte Square Gardens
Small Island, Andrea Levy’s last novel was voted the ‘best of the best’ novels ever to win the Orange Prize, and her new book The Long Song is so good it may even surpass that achievement. It tells the story of an exuberant, ebullient woman, July, and her life on a Jamaican plantation in the years before the abolition of…
What secrets lay between two of the greatest film icons of the 20th century? Who better to ask than Maf, the dog given to Marilyn Monroe by Frank Sinatra in 1960, and the narrator of Andrew O’Hagan’s new novel? The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog has already been called an international classic, full of philosophy…
Bill Clegg in Conversation with Andrew O'Hagan
For many years Bill Clegg was a highly respected literary agent in New York, but behind the scenes he was falling into a life of heroin addiction and deception. In this event Clegg has agreed to share the unforgettable tale of coming to terms with his shattered life – as well as a debilitating childhood health condition…
If there’s a constellation of British writers who will define the shape of literature in the next thirty years, then David Mitchell is its brightest star. The inventive structure of his Booker-nominated Cloud Atlas prompted comparisons with Italo Calvino and Paul Auster, while his new book, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob…
One the world’s greatest living war photographers, Don McCullin has spent recent years travelling to remote locations far away from today’s battlefields. In this event he charts a journey through the ancient Roman ruins of Baalbek in Lebanon and Palmyra in Syria, across North Africa to Morocco, Algeria and Libya. McCullin…
We open with a bang this year: an exclusive visit from one our Antipodean friends, the engaging Australian fantasy writer Garth Nix. Hear all about his gripping The Keys to the Kingdom series, and about the last book: will Arthur Penhaligon find the secret of his own identity without getting (too) damaged? Come and find…
This is the perfect occasion to meet much-loved bestselling author as she talks about some of her exciting creations. How does she come up with her great characters? Discover more and seize the chance to ask some questions.
Please note: the book signing after this event will be limited to a selected number of ticket…
Jeanette Winterson’s debut novel was published in 1985, its publication heralding
the arrival of a striking new voice in British fiction. Gloriously frank about its
lesbian and feminist themes, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit insisted that such
concerns were of relevance to a wide general audience. Twenty five years…
Italy has spent this year debating the extraordinary claims of a shocking bestseller. Written by Nicolai Lilin, Siberian Education is a snapshot of a group of families from the Russian criminal underworld who were deported to Transnistria in central Europe, where they continued their violent activities. Lilin asks us to…
Owen Sheers: A Poet's Guide to Britain
As part of a documentary series for BBC Four, Owen Sheers travelled across Britain from Dover to Orkney to explore six unforgettable landscape poems. In a new book Sheers expands upon the theme, bringing together a collection of poems by writers from Keats and Wordsworth to Alice Oswald and Jen Hadfield. In doing so, he…
Urgent, funny and often deeply moving, Booker Prize-winner Roddy Doyle has won the hearts of millions of readers. In his new novel, The Dead Republic, Doyle returns to his unruly hero Henry Smart to chart a portrait of Ireland in the 20th century. Henry finds himself an unlikely Hollywood hero before returning to Ireland…
Russell Celyn Jones & Owen Sheers
The eleven medieval Welsh folk tales published under the title The Mabinogion have given rise to timeless figures such as Arthur and Merlin. Noted Welsh authors Russell Celyn Jones and Owen Sheers have written the first two novels in a project to reimagine these classic stories for the 21st century.
A rare chance to hear the great Irish poet Seamus Heaney read from his forthcoming and exquisite collection, Human Chain. Book very early to avoid disappointment.
In association with the Scottish Poetry Library
AN AUDIENCE WITH THE NOBEL PRIZE-WINNING POET
The Anna Politkovskaya event: Masha Karp & Arch Tait
When Anna Politikovskaya was assassinated in October 2006, writers from around the world vowed that this courageous campaigner for human rights should not have died in vain. The Book Festival aims to remember Politkovskaya’s work every year, and for 2010 we welcome Arch Tait, who has translated the journalist’s key books…
The James Tait Black Memorial Prize
This prestigious literary prize is the oldest in Britain and past recipients have included D H Lawrence, Graham Greene, E M Forster and Antonia Fraser. This year’s shortlist includes Anita Brookner, A S Byatt, Kazuo Ishiguro, Reif Larson and Hilary Mantel in the fiction category, as well as a strong shortlist for…
Vidal Sassoon’s life has gone from an impoverished childhood in East London to household name status. But those who connect him solely with modernist hair care might be surprised to learn that he battled the fascists in Britain and fought in the army of the fledgling state of Israel. His memoir, Vidal, is set to be an…