Edinburgh International Book Festival 2011 line up highlights

This article is from 2011

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2011 programme

Grant Morrison, Will Self, Ingrid Betancourt and Jo Nesbø among highlights

A selection of international authors, a bunch of Scottish novelists, an array of top non-fiction scribes, a host of children’s writers and a series of exciting innovations: yes, it’s just another Edinburgh International Book Festival programme. A cliché it may be, but there really is something for virtually everyone at this year’s event which runs from 13 to 29 August.

Difficult to know where to begin, though the excellent opening day’s schedule is as good a place as any. Alasdair Gray is given the proud task of officially opening proceedings while a thrilling live performance of his Fleck brings the curtain down, featuring starring roles for Will Self, Alan Bissett, Ian Rankin and AL Kennedy, all of which is in partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland.

Among the host of homegrown talents appearing at Charlotte Square Gardens will be Kevin MacNeil, Ali Smith, Alan Warner and Grant Morrison while North America is splendidly represented by TC Boyle, Robert Coover, Sapphire and Ben Mezrich. There is a host of impressive debut authors including Sunjeev Sahota, Mary Horlock, Adam Levin and Rebecca Hunt while international authors Sjón, Andrzej Stasiuk, Jo Nesbø and Chan Koonchung are coming our way.

In the Children’s programme, authors such as Julia Donaldson, Jacqueline Wilson and Eoin Colfer are accompanied there by iconic characters such as Tarzan, Horrid Henry and Peter Rabbit, while the world of sport is represented by former Wales and Celtic footballer John Hartson, cricket commentator Jonathan ’Aggers’ Agnew and controversial cycling star David Millar.

The world of journalism and politics has thrown up some intriguing events from the likes of former hostage Ingrid Betancourt, scourge of the establishment Heather Brooke, terrorism analyst Peter Taylor and Jon Ronson, the man who can spot a psychopath at 50 paces.

Adam Levin

The Instructions was a massive hit in the US last year and is sure to strike a chord here. It’s the story of 10 year old Gurion Maccabee, a lover, fighter, scholar, and truly spectacular talker who can’t stop being expelled from Jewish day schools as his search for righteousness sparks an unstoppable rebellion.

Alan Warner

With a new novel due out next year, the Obanite gets our juices flowing with an early reading and a discussion on how he goes about creating his work.

Alasdair Gray

An event with the writer of landmark works such as Lanark and Poor Things is exciting enough, but the Book Festival has cranked up the fever to 11 with another excellent first. In 2007 Gray wrote Fleck, an adaptation of Goethe's Faust and the closing event of this year's Book Festival features the first public reading of…

Alasdair Gray's Fleck

After a sell-yer-granny-for-a-ticket debut at Edinburgh International Book Festival last year, Alasdair Gray's modern adaptation of Faust gets another outing courtesy of Margins Book and Music Festival, with an equally starry cast including Alan Bissett, Allan Wilson, Zoe Strachan, Louise Welsh, Chiew Siah-Tei, Rodge…

Ali Smith

If there's any justice in the world, another Booker nomination will be whizzing its way towards the Inverness-born author for There but for the, a typically rich and insightful affair.

Andrzej Stasiuk

Andrzej Stasiuk's writing has been hailed by Irvine Welsh as 'scalpel-like and evocative' and his last novel, Nine, confirmed him as one of the most important living writers in Europe. We are honoured to welcome him to Edinburgh to discuss his NIKE Award-winning collection of travel narratives, On the Road to Babadag…

Ben Mezrich

Inspired by the true story of a bizarre heist, Sex on the Moon revolves around the planned theft of rocks from the Apollo missions. Given that his last book was turned into the Oscar-friendly The Social Network, a surefire hit awaits.

Chan Koonchung

Is it possible to live in China today, and to raise an eyebrow about the country's political ambitions? Chan Koonchung, resident in Beijing for a decade, has done precisely that with his political fable The Fat Years. A portrait of China in 2013, when capitalism in the West has self-destructed, this novel paints a vivid…

David Millar

Born in Malta and raised in Hong Kong, this Scottish cyclist and Tour de France stage winner is banned for life from appearing in the Olympic Games after a doping scandal in 2004. But he has refused to stay bitter and is looking ahead to competing in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Millar reflects on his career with…

Eoin Colfer

Join author of Artemis Fowl series Eoin Colfer as he talks fairies, centaurs, genius teenage school boys, friendships, and a lot of other nonsense – a wonderfully diverting way to pass the time!

Grant Morrison

The Glasgow comics legend has put his own creative pen down for a bit to analyse the history of the superhero with Supergods, which looks at the icons as well as some of the forgotten characters.

Heather Brooke

Having put the MPs to the sword over their expenses, this intrepid journalist turns her attention towards the brave new world of web campaigning and the WikiLeaks phenomenon.

Horrid Henry with Francesca Simon

You may not want Horrid Henry as your son or brother but how much fun would it be to have him in class? Francesca Simon describes his latest adventures and misadventures with all his friends and accomplices, from hapless Weepy William and Perfect Peter to Inky Ian and – of course! – Henry himself.

Ingrid Betancourt with Kirsty Wark

When Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt went on the campaign trail in 2002, she could not have imagined that it would end in a kidnapping and six year incarceration at the hands of guerrilla forces. Even Silence Has an End is the tale of her jungle ordeal which included beatings by her captors, mutual…

Jacqueline Wilson

Jacqueline always wanted to be a writer and wrote her first ‘novel’ when she was only 9. Since those early days she’s gone on to write over forty books, won many prestigious awards and created iconic characters such as Tracey Beaker. Her latest novel is Lily Alone. Come and hear all! Please note: the book signing after…

Jo Nesbø

The Nordic crime explosion shows no sign of abating and everyone seems to be searching for the next Stieg or Henning. Across the 600 plus pages in The Leopard, Norway’s Nesbø is looking set on continuing to mine this golden seam. In the depths of winter, the bodies of two young women are found, both with inexplicable…

John Hartson

The explosively talented Welsh footballer John Hartson enjoyed success with Arsenal and West Ham before becoming a striker for Celtic, where he scored more than 100 goals in a glorious five year period. But following his retirement in 2008 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and was rushed to hospital. Hartson's…

Jonathan Agnew

In 1991, cricket commentator Agnew was involved in a slice of broadcasting history with an innuendo-fuelled remark about Ian Botham. His throwaway line during a Test Match Special had his radio colleague Brian Johnston dissolving into an unstoppable giggle-fit. Thanks, Johnners is Agnew’s affectionate tribute to his old…

Julia Donaldson & Lydia Monks

Children’s Laureate, Julia Donaldson and illustrator Lydia Monks have collaborated on a number of fantastic picture books such as What the Ladybird Heard, The Princess and the Wizard and Sharing a Shell. Come and meet some of your favourite characters and join in with songs, stories and drawing.

Mary Horlock & Paul Wilson

Former curator of the Turner Prize, Mary Horlock has crafted an artful debut novel about the trials of growing up and the repressed histories we all harbour. The Book of Lies is set in 1980s Guernsey and narrated by a 15 year old murderer whose family lived through the German Occupation, and which has bequeathed untold…

Peter Rabbit and Friends

Peter Rabbit is one of Beatrix Potter’s best loved characters. His adventures in Mr McGregor’s garden are beloved by generations of readers. So come along, join in with the stories and games and have all sorts of rabbity fun.

Peter Taylor

For almost 40 years, Peter Taylor has been reporting for the BBC from the frontline of terrorist activity, and in Talking to Terrorists he reveals just what it was like to come face to face with Irish Republicans and Islamic jihadis. Avoiding quick-fix solutions and knee-jerk reactions, Taylor considers the number of…

Rebecca Hunt & Cornelius Medvei

It is often said that those with depression can gain solace from their relationships with animals. Winston Churchill referred to his bouts of depression as his 'black dog', and in Rebecca Hunt's story the dog is made flesh in the form of a massive black hound with the power of speech. Cornelius Medvei's Caroline is a…

Richard T Kelly & Kevin MacNeil

If gothic fiction is usually associated with the 19th century, then two British authors have brought the genre bang up to date. Richard T Kelly's novel The Possessions of Doctor Forrest and Kevin MacNeil's A Method Actor's Guide to Jekyll and Hyde use the classic gothic rejection of rationality to craft contemporary…

Robert Coover

The reissue of his early novels as Penguin Classics this year underlines his status as a giant of American literary postmodernism. Stories like Spanking the Maid, Gerald's Party and Pricksongs and Descants show that a mordant – and morbid – humour are part of his genius. One former student described Coover as 'the most…

Sapphire with Bidisha

After a literary silence of 14 years, the author and performance poet returns with The Kid, the story of an orphan reaching manhood. Bidisha interviews the author whose first book was turned into the Oscar-winning Precious.

Sunjeev Sahota & Naomi Wood

Born in Sheffield to Pakistani parents, Imtiaz is considering blowing himself and many others to smithereens. With wit and compassion, Sahota takes us through Imtiaz’s story in Ours Are the Streets to explore how he could have reached this point. Wood’s The Godless Boys is an equally unflinching fictional account of a…

Susan Fletcher & Sjón

In the 17th century, fear of witchcraft reached unprecedented levels and tens of thousands of people were executed. Susan Fletcher's brilliant novel Corrag tells the story of witchcraft in 1692 at the time of the massacre of Glencoe, while acclaimed Icelandic author Sjón’s new novel, From the Mouth of the Whale, recounts…

T C Boyle

When the Killing's Done is the new novel by one of the USA's finest contemporary writers. The story follows a National Park scientist and her bid to destroy a colony of human-introduced rats in order to avoid extinction of the indigenous bird colony. But first she must get past a rat-loving environmental activist who will…

Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy

Andy Briggs is officially rebooting Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy in time for the icon’s 100th birthday next year. The world’s first eco-warrior now returns as a 21st century legend for a new audience. Join Andy on his journey to become a writer and then travel through the Congo jungle in an interactive presentation with a…