Reviews & features: Books

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Profile: Louise Welsh and Irvine Welsh set for 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival

15 Jul 2014

The two Scottish writers share more than a surname

Louise Welsh and Irvine Welsh are among modern Scotland’s top literary talents. If you’ve been paying close attention, you’ll also have spotted that they share a surname. Yasmin Sulaiman digs around for more astonishing coincidences between the pair

Authors Helen FitzGerald and Sophie McKenzie explore dark territory at EIBF 2013

22 Aug 2013

The most recent books by the writers (The Cry and Close My Eyes respectively) explore parental fears

Here are two writers taking steps out of their comfort zones into darker territory, as Australian-born, Glasgow-based writer Helen FitzGerald explains: ‘I’ve never started with an inciting incident as terrible and as overwhelming as this before. It set…

Fairest 2: Hidden Kingdom reimagines Rapunzel as an anime heroine

22 Aug 2013

Author Lauren Beukes and artist Inaki Miranda will discuss the comic at EIBF 2013

Rapunzel lets down her hair in Hidden Kingdom, the latest storyline in the Fairest comics which spun off from popular reinvented-fairytales series Fables. This version of the character isn’t just a girl who couldn’t get a hairdresser’s appointment, but…

Filmmaker and conservationist Ceri Levy to appear at Edinburgh International Book Festival 2013

22 Aug 2013

Levy will be discussing Extinct Boids, her project with Hunter S Thompson illustrator Ralph Steadman

In 2010, Ceri Levy – filmmaker for Blur and Gorillaz, and latterly a conservationist – approached Ralph Steadman about the prospect of creating a piece for Levy’s Ghosts of Gone Birds exhibition in London. Steadman, whose Indian ink flourishes have…

Margaret Atwood set for Edinburgh International Book Festival 2013

22 Aug 2013

Discussion of The Blind Assassin and her newest work MaddAdda

Margaret Atwood makes a welcome return to the Book Festival with MaddAddam, the concluding book in her disturbingly credible dystopian trilogy, begun in 2003 with the Booker-shortlisted Oryx and Crake. This is the first time one of her novels has…

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Pulitzer Prize-winner Paul Harding returns to the world of Tinker with Enon

22 Aug 2013

Harding will discuss the new adventures of Tinker's Charlie Crosby at the EIBF 2013

Paul Harding won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his debut novel Tinkers. This year he visits Edinburgh to discuss his latest book, Enon, which is narrated by Charlie Crosby, a relative of the dying protagonist in Tinkers. Charlie is also…

Top 5 literary heatwaves at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2013

22 Aug 2013

Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Jones and Chris Dolan deliver some of the hottest Book Fest events

Whether the sun is shining or it’s raining so much that yellow plastic ducks pop up in the puddles, things are getting damn steamy at Charlotte Square Gardens. Put extra ice in your drink and delve into these high-temperature books. Jonathan…

US humourist David Sedaris entertains at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

22 Aug 2013

Author's events follow the publication of his essay collection, Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls

With over seven million book sales and a Grammy nomination for the Carnegie Hall recording of his droll essays, David Sedaris could be forgiven for resting on his laurels. But the American humorist and author is back on the road, returning to the…

Luke Wright: Essex Lion

22 Aug 20134 stars

Showcasing the poet's electric delivery and carefully sculpted craft

In case you missed last year's silly season scoop, Luke Wright's sweary titular poem recounts the tale of Essex natives losing their shit after spying a lion in a field. (Spoiler alert: was not a lion). Their impotently impassioned refrain, 'We fucking…

Scroobius Pip - Words

22 Aug 20134 stars

Spoken word mastery

A dark figure walks onto the stage to the boisterous cheers and applause of a packed crowd. With his black leather jacket, black slacks and long black beard, Scroobius Pip exudes an obscure aura and powerful charisma which instantly captures the…

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Author and historian William Dalrymple sees history repeating itself in Afghanistan

20 Aug 2013

His book, The Return of a King, draws parallels between historic and modern conflicts in the country

Renowned Scottish historian and travel writer William Dalrymple invites us to consider the striking parallels between the current situation in Afghanistan and the first Anglo-Afghan War of 1839-42. His book on the subject, The Return of a King, earned…

An interview with award winning author Sue Peebles

18 Aug 2013

The Arbroath-born author talks about success, psychology and inspiration

Sue Peebles was born in Arbroath in 1955 and spent some of her childhood in Detroit before returning to Scotland, where she now lives. Since graduating in psychology, she has worked as a social worker and university lecturer. Her debut novel, The Death…

Edinburgh International Book Fest 2013 puts feminism under the spotlight

16 Aug 2013

Fifty Shades of Feminism and Where Have all the Brave Girls Gone? are 2 shows unscared of the F word

Sometimes, as Tammy Wynette sang, it’s hard to be a woman. And when every week sees a new online controversy about a broadcaster’s sexist remarks, a rape victim being blamed or a politician’s attempts to enforce 1950s sexual mores, it can feel to many…

James Robertson remembers Lockerbie in The Professor of Truth

16 Aug 2013

The author will attend the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2013 to discuss his latest novel

It’s inevitable that Robertson’s latest novel, The Professor of Truth, about a man who loses his wife and child in a terrorist attack on a plane that crashes into the Scottish countryside, should make readers think about Lockerbie, and wonder if this is…

John Fardell, Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison among the highlights at Stripped 2013

16 Aug 2013

The Edinburgh International Book Festival's events series celebrates the medium of graphic novels

John Fardell Edinburgh cartoonist and writer John Fardell is a favourite with two very different audiences. Many know him for his work on adults only comic Viz where he draws The Modern Parents and The Critics amongst others, skewering the pomposity of…

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Melvin Burgess & Jeremy Dyson

14 Aug 2013

Hauntings and hunger at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

One of the pleasures of EIBF’s many double-headers is the way they uncover connections between disparate writers. Melvin Burgess is best known for his award-winning YA social realist fiction, while Jeremy Dyson is the non-performing writer from The…

Salman Rushdie and John Freeman at the 2013 Edinburgh International Book Festival

13 Aug 2013

Conversation between authors on free speech and the clash between East and West

The conversation between Salman Rushdie and John Freeman, former editor of Granta at the Edinburgh International Book Festival played out to a packed audience interested to hear this man whose life and work reflects the massive culture clashes in our…

Damian Barr talks about memoir Maggie and Me at 2013 Edinburgh Book Festival

13 Aug 2013

Growing up gay in Conservative Scotland

Damian Barr always knew his memoir, Maggie and Me, with its more generous assessment of the late Margaret Thatcher who he says inspired him to get out and make something of himself, would provoke anger, especially in Scotland. But it’s the tough…

Ceri Levy

11 Aug 2013

Wild flights in bird illustrations

In 2010, Ceri Levy – filmmaker for Blur and Gorillaz, and latterly a conservationist – approached Ralph Steadman about the prospect of creating a piece for Levy’s Ghosts of Gone Birds exhibition in London. Steadman, whose Indian ink flourishes have…

James Kakalios

11 Aug 2013

The science of superheroes

'Discussing superheroes and science is proof that we are living in the Golden Age of Geekdom,' says Professor James Kakalios. It's this Golden Age where Kakalios has made his career in physics, incorporating a string of classic superheroes into his…

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Metaphrog's John Chalmers and Sandra Marrs reflect on the recent rise of graphic literature

11 Aug 2013

The team are making an appearance at Edinburgh International Book Festival 2013's Stripped strand

Graphic novels are enjoying something of a renaissance, as demonstrated by the Stripped strand of this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival which celebrates comics, graphic novels and the people who create them. Taking place on the last weekend…

Patrick Ness at the Edinburgh Book Festival

11 Aug 2013

More than just young adult fiction

In an interview last year, Patrick Ness spoke of the way his stories direct him rather than the other way round. Admitting that he never set out to write young adult fiction, Ness allows the ideas to suggest which direction his stories should go in.

Interview: Philipp Meyer set for 2013 Edinburgh Book Festival

9 Aug 2013

Author of American Rust and The Son appears with Patrick Flanery

With his 2009 debut novel American Rust, Philipp Meyer's depiction of the decline of American industry recalled John Steinbeck's vivid descriptions of the 1930s Depression. In his new novel, an epic named The Son, which follows the fortunes of the…

Jackie and Matthew Kay keep it in the family during the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2013

8 Aug 2013

The poet/novelist and her filmmaking son will discuss their politically-informed works

Jackie Kay has recently been working with asylum seekers in Glasgow, looking at their cultural contributions to Scottish political life. At her appearance at EIBF this week, she's set to discuss the political poetry that grew out of a meeting set up by…

William McIlvanney returns triumphant to the 2013 Edinburgh International Book Festival

8 Aug 2013

The tartan noir godfather is branching out into technology

William McIlvanney returns triumphant to this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival. At the 2011 festival, they asked why his books were out of print. Two years on, Canongate’s edition of the Laidlaw trilogy is available to a new generation of…