Reviews & features: Books, Issue 663

20 reviews

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Courtyard Readings

12 Aug 2010

Read and listen to poetry at these outdoor readings

One of the loveliest annual events of the Festival season, these outdoor readings (don’t worry, they go indoors if/when it rains) hosted by the School of Poets are open to all poetry lovers. Come and read your own work, or a personal favourite poem, in…

Allan Brown will discuss Inside the Wickerman

12 Aug 2010

His batty book analyses the cult classic

Inside the Wicker Man is a cinema lover’s dream. The book is packed with fascinating trivia from the horror classic it explores, along with in-depth analysis and humour; and it’s a pleasure to find its author Allan Brown just as funny in everyday…

John Harris at the Book Festival

12 Aug 2010

Hail Hail Rock'N'Roll: expect full audio-visual support

‘I will talk about rock moustaches, Elvis’ jumpsuits and James Blunt’s lyrics,’ proclaims John Harris, author of Hail Hail Rock’N’Roll, his vintage rock, pop and counter-cultural almanac. ‘The aim is to navigate through 50-odd years of rock history…

Alberto Manguel will discuss All Men Are Liars

6 Aug 2010

And why we should step back from the over-reliable narrator

Alberto Manguel’s latest book, All Men Are Liars, is ‘a tribute to falsehood’ in which no one is a reliable source; not the enigmatic figure whose death is being investigated, not those who knew him, nor Manguel himself. It’s a concept that challenges…

Candia McWilliam will discuss her memoir at the EIBF

6 Aug 2010

The festival veteran considers her own difficult story

‘I have loved the Edinburgh International Book Festival all its 22 years,’ says Charlotte Square Gardens veteran Candia McWilliam. ‘It makes an annual conversation about books and about thinking, about what it is to share in the examined life. It is…

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Emily Woof at the Writer's Retreat

6 Aug 2010

The ex-actress conducts a deep involvement with language

Emily Woof first graced Edinburgh nude and on a trapeze for a trilogy of one-woman Fringe plays, under the Sex umbrella. And throughout The Whole Wide Beauty (the debut novel by The Full Monty and Wondrous Oblivion star), the loss of physical expression…

Garth Nix kicks off this year's Book Festival

6 Aug 2010

What he has in store and why fantasy is making a comeback

Garth Nix, the bestselling Australian author of young people’s fantasy fiction, is both honoured and alarmed that he’ll be kicking off this year’s Book Festival with its very first session. ‘I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be talking about yet!’ Nix…

Gary Younge visits the Edinburgh Book Festival

6 Aug 2010

Exploring issues of identity across this mad world

Returning to Edinburgh holds bittersweet memories for Gary Younge. He was in the city as a student in the late 80s, studying Russian and French at Heriot-Watt and was awestruck by the geography of his new surroundings. ‘Having grown up in Stevenage…

Lars Husum and his novel My Friend Jesus Christ

6 Aug 2010

A wild and bizarre slapstick farce

Given that My Friend Jesus Christ reads like a Dogme movie, you can’t help but feel Lars Husum’s time working as a dramaturge at Lars von Trier’s Copenhagen film production company Zentropa fed into his debut novel. ‘It’s not conscious, but I see your…

Laura Barton talks about Twenty-One Locks

6 Aug 2010

The author describes why and how she wanted to write her novel

Born and raised in Lancashire, Laura Barton migrated south a decade ago, and found gainful employment with The Guardian. ‘I started writing a music column [Hail, Hail, Rock ‘n’ Roll] in a style that was quite different to most journalism at the time,…

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Martin Bell discusses lack of faith in politicians in Edinburgh visit

6 Aug 2010

Festival of Politics and Book Festival appearances scheduled

The man in the white suit is in town for an event at the Festival of Politics but he’s also kindly dropping by to charm the punters in Charlotte Square. Here, he will be discussing the lack of faith we now have in our elected representatives, mainly due…

Natasha Walter's fight for women's equality

6 Aug 2010

She presents her new book Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism

Following sold out events at Brighton, Dublin, the South Bank and Latitude, writer and campaigner Natasha Walter is hitting the Edinburgh International Book Festival to stress that the struggle for women’s equality is as important as ever. To some…

Philip Pullman - The Good Man Jesus and The Scoundrel Christ

6 Aug 2010

'The Most Dangerous Author in Britain' comes to the Book Festival

You will know him by the horns, of course, and the casual air of unholy sin. For Philip Pullman is the anti-God and ‘The Most Dangerous Author in Britain’, according to the modern gospel of The Mail on Sunday. To most of us, however, he is the avuncular…

Top five Scottish crime writers to catch at the EIBF

6 Aug 2010

The city that embodies vice and virtue welcomes the authors

With its Jekyll and Hyde nature, Edinburgh is the perfect spot for the portraiturists of good and evil to congregate. Here’s a quintet of Scottish scribes to catch this week Tony Black. Gus Drury is Black’s flawed bobby and in Long Time Dead, he’s…

Andrew O'Hagan's novel looks set to be turned into a feature film

5 Aug 2010

The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, And of His Friend Marilyn Monroe

The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, And of His Friend Marilyn Monroe is not your run-of-the-mill contemporary novel, and not just because the eponymous first-person narrator is an aristocratic Maltese terrier with Trotskyist tendencies, owned by the…

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Christos Tsiolkas' The Slap touched a few raw nerves

5 Aug 2010

He tells us how he tackled this multi-story tale.

Judge me once you’ve walked a mile in my shoes, the old saying goes. Well in his latest book, The Slap, Christos Tsiolkas hands us the literary equivalent of eight pairs of walking boots. Set in suburban Melbourne, the novel opens with a chapter devoted…

Fatima Bhutto's Songs of Blood and Sword

5 Aug 2010

Benazir Bhutto's niece tells her criticizing story.

Mystery still surrounds the murder of Benazir Bhutto in 2007 but while people like her niece Fatima are around to ask questions, there’s always some chance that the puzzle might yet be solved. Not that Fatima has the family blinkers on as she was an…

Harder, better, faster, stronger - Iain M. Banks interview

5 Aug 2010

The Fife-born author on Led Zeppelin, bacon rolls

The Fife-born author of 24 sci-fi books and mainstream novels talks to The List about Led Zeppelin, bacon rolls and his continual surprise at being even slightly famous First record you ever bought There were three, the day after I persuaded my…

James Robertson - And the Land Lay Still

5 Aug 2010

One of Scotland's most vital authors tackles our Q&A

James Robertson has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize of 2006 for The Testament of Gideon Mack and has just published And The Land Lay Still.

Nicolai Lilin: author of Siberian Education

5 Aug 2010

The writer tells of his time in prison, tattooing, and film offers

Handed his first weapon at the age of six, Nicolai Lilin was destined for a life of violence. Having fled the horrors of his past, he tells Jay Richardson why death is sometimes a better option. Born into a Siberian criminal dynasty, convicted of…