Gary Younge visits the Edinburgh Book Festival

This article is from 2010

Gary Younge visits the Edinburgh Book Festival

Exploring issues of identity across this mad world

Returning to Edinburgh holds bittersweet memories for Gary Younge. He was in the city as a student in the late 80s, studying Russian and French at Heriot-Watt and was awestruck by the geography of his new surroundings. ‘Having grown up in Stevenage where there’s not much to look at, I remember walking across the North Bridge and seeing Arthur’s Seat and thinking, “fuck, there’s a huge hill in the middle of this city”. It was kind of stunning to me.’ Less endearing a memory is being chased down Lothian Road by thugs with baseball bats in what he describes as ‘my most terrifying racist incident’.

The genteel surroundings of Charlotte Square Gardens should ensure he returns to his current base in New York with warmer reflections of the city, once The Guardian and New Statesman journalist has conducted his two events. Younge’s solo appearance will cover Who Are We And Should it Matter in the 21st Century? which covers issues of identity across the globe from those who insist that Barack Obama is merely America’s latest white president to the European legislators who are going to extraordinary lengths to ban items of clothing worn by a miniscule percentage of their population. ‘Identity is a complicated subject where you can end up chasing your tail but I think it is especially relevant now because of globalisation with people retreating more into their tribes.’

15 Aug, 3.30pm (solo event), 7pm (The End of the American Dream?), £10 (£8).

Gary Younge

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