First Book Award: top speakers at the 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival

This article is from 2014

First Book Award: top speakers at the 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival

Emma Healey

Unmissable events featuring prize-nominated debut authors at Charlotte Square Gardens

As ever, this year’s First Book Award features an exciting but slightly overwhelming plethora of authors, genres and styles. Two of this year’s most acclaimed nominees deal with health across the ages: The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer (9 Aug, 10.15am) looks at adolescence and schizophrenia, while Emma Healey's affecting novel Elizabeth is Missing (12 Aug, 3.30pm) is about an elderly woman living with dementia.

Proving there's more to the BBC than its string of recent scandals, Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark’s The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle (10 Aug, 8pm) is a poignant tale of the breakdown of a family dynasty, while her colleague James Naughtie (12 Aug, 6.30pm) has created a sharp political spy thriller in The Madness of July.

If you like your books more experimental, Anneliese Mackintosh’s Any Other Mouth (10 Aug, 3.30pm) brilliantly straddles the intersection between short story, memoir and novel, and A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride (14 Aug, 3.30pm) – this year’s Bailey’s Prize winner – reinvents Joycean-esque stream of consciousness.

Short stories reign supreme among this year’s nominees. The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales by Kirsty Logan (21 Aug, 2pm) – full disclosure: she’s our former books editor – delves into magical realism, and Mai Al-Nakib’s The Hidden Light of Objects (12 Aug, 7pm) details the struggle of navigating daily life amid the conflict-riddled Middle East. Elsewhere, Young Skins by Irish author Colin Barrett (10 Aug, 3.30pm) depicts the grim reality of growing up in post-Celtic Tiger rural Ireland.

Brazilian writers Michel Laub (17 Aug, 6.45pm) and Daniel Galera (20 Aug, 10.15am) both debuted their first English language novels this year. Laub’s Diary of the Fall follows the lingering trauma of a childhood prank gone wrong, while Galera’s Blood-Drenched Beard is about a man with a rare neurological condition on the trail of his grandfather’s murderers. For any of you still caught up in World Cup fever, a welcome reminder that Brazil has more than football to offer this summer.

All events at Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888.

Edinburgh International Book Festival

The world’s largest public celebration of the written word takes place in the first UNESCO City of Literature at the Edinburgh College of Art. As well as leading Scottish and international authors, the varied programme always manages to cover poets, politicians, historians, journalists and children's authors.