Preview: Kate Tempest
Acclaimed playwright-rapper-poet adds novelist to her CV
Kate Tempest's success is a whirlwind, alright. After her epic narrative poem 'Brand New Ancients' won the Ted Hughes Award in 2012, she went on to tour the piece as a spoken story, completing sell-out runs in the UK and New York, before winning a Herald Angel at the Edinburgh Fringe. In 2014, she released her debut rap album, Everybody Down, which was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize, and this year, she releases her much-anticipated debut novel, The Bricks that Built the Houses.
The book is a companion piece to her album, following the same narrative track, and reconnecting with characters originally introduced in song lyrics. Fans will recognise waitress/dancer Becky, her boyfriend Pete, and drug dealer Harry, all of whom are further explored in this meditation on the highs and lows of modern life.
It's this that brings Tempest back to the Book Festival, after an impressive 'incantatory' poetry performance last year. The multi-talented wordsmith will be talking about the novel, which The Guardian recently compared to Eimear McBride's A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing (very high praise, in the world of experimental fiction). Hardly surprising, though: as one of the most exciting British writers to emerge in years, Kate Tempest is proving to be quite the literary storm indeed.
Charlotte Square Gardens, 13 Aug, 8.15pm, £12 (£10).