Highlights of Edinburgh Book Fringe 2014
Speakers including Alan McCombes and Selina Todd ensure radical bookshop’s festival is antithesis to Charlotte Square
This article is from 2014.
Now in its fifth year, Word Power’s Edinburgh Book Fringe seeks to continue harnessing some of that counter-cultural spirit which first earned the Edinburgh Fringe its reputation. Elaine Hunter, Book Fringe founder and proprietor of the Word Power bookshop, says quite explicitly that the aim is to be everything which she believes the Edinburgh International Book Festival isn’t.
‘We don’t succumb to a need for “balanced debate” but put forward bold, challenging ideas about the status quo,’ she says. ‘All our events are free to attend, because our ethos is to make certain that literary events are accessible to all, not just those who can afford £8 tickets. We also want to support small presses that just don't get a profile in the main Book Festival and the writers whose work they publish.’ These include events concerning ‘local poets, Palestinian poets, the Occupy movement, a union-sponsored event on working class education, debut novelists, radical politics and the case for Scottish independence.’
Highlights this year, says Hunter, will be the opening night launch event for Alan McCombes’ Restless Land: A Radical Journey Through Scotland's History (Fri 8 Aug) and Oxford historian Selina Todd discussing The People: The Rise and Fall of the Working Class, 1910–2010 (Sun 9 Aug). There will also be a talk by Nicholas Gilby, author of Deception in High Places: A History of Bribery in Britain's Arms Trade (Sat 16 Aug), the launch of the latest, Scotland-focused issue of Post magazine (Thu 21 Aug) and Douglas Newton discusses The Darkest Days (Sat 23 Aug), his alternative perspective on World War I.
Word Power Books, 662 9112, 8–23 Aug, free.