Award-winning journalist James Meek to speak at Edinburgh Book Festival

This article is from 2012

James Meek - Why book festivals matter

Photo: Sarah Lee

Meek will speak on his upcoming novel and the importance of book festivals

James Meek’s upcoming novel, The Heart Broke In, is billed as ‘a seductive drama full of scandal, dilemmas, love and sacrifice’. Coupled with his previous form, the acclaimed The People’s Act of Love and We Are Now Beginning Our Descent, the Charlotte Square Gardens audience is in for a treat with this special launch event.

Meek’s thoughtful and diverse journalism – including writing from Iraq and about Guantanamo Bay – has won a number of awards, including Britain’s Foreign Reporter of the Year. As a student he took an important lesson from James Kelman’s short story ‘Not Not While The Giro’, that, ‘great writing wasn’t something happening long ago or far away but right here, right now.’

Why exactly are book festivals important? One wonders if they reinforce that ‘right here’ moment, the immediacy of being in contact with one’s readers. ‘Being invited is nice for a writer because it makes them feel wanted and important.’ However, Meek seems pleasantly surprised by readers’ interest in meeting fiction writers. ‘You’d have lots of questions for a writer of non-fiction, and you’d want to listen to a poet as you’d listen to a musician, but novelists? There should be at least one event where the audience consists of 100 novelists and there are three people on stage who have never written anything but have read hundreds of novels. The novelists would have to listen to them being interviewed, and would get to ask them questions afterwards.’

Meek fans would argue that an hour spent meeting the man behind such powerful prose, with a new book out to boot, will be an hour well spent.

27 Aug, 6.30pm, £10 (£8).

James Meek: Affairs Of The Heart

Bec is a malaria researcher trying to deflect the attentions of a powerful newspaper editor, while her brother’s indiscretions are finally catching up on him. James Meek’s The Heart Broke In is a seductive drama full of scandal, dilemmas, love and sacrifice and is certain to cement a reputation already rising after The…

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