Edinburgh Book Fringe - Elaine Henry interview
The owner of Word Power Books answers five questions
This article is from 2010.
Why did you set up the Edinburgh Book Fringe in the first place?
To give local writers, small publishers and writers outwith the mainstream the sort of voice or platform they wouldn’t get access to during the festival period.
Can you describe the ethos of the festival in one sentence?
All the events are free – it’s important for us that everything’s accessible, and that there’s a spirit of exchanging information, so we give plenty of time to discussion as well.
Who have been some of the most memorable writers you’ve had on over the past 14 years?
We had Mark Thomas come and speak about his book on the arms trade – that was great fun, because in the spirit of the Fringe he mixed humour and politics. And we’ve had Tom Leonard many times. He’s always great, and is opening the festival this year.
Which other writers are you looking forward to this year?
I’ve never heard Blake Morrison, who’s reading with Kai Miller. The comedians Stewart Lee and Richard Herring are both appearing, although not together. Coincidentally they’ve both got books out this year. It’s important to have the laughter, too – Ewan McVicar is running an event on Scottish political songs and promising ‘singing, laughter and much merriment’. I always look forward to the political discussions – we’ve got John Holloway coming from Mexico to talk about his book Crack Capitalism.
What do you hope to do with the Book Fringe in the future?
Well, we’re limited in terms of space while we hold it at the bookshop, but that has its advantages – it creates a specially intimate atmosphere for writers to engage to with their readers in – they’re only ten inches away, and seem to feel far more able to ask questions. Really, we’re already doing exactly what we want to. We’re keeping it small. Small is beautiful.
Edinburgh Book Fringe, Word Power Books, Wed 11–Wed 25 Aug www.word-power.co.uk