If you are of a bookish persuasion then a few hours in Charlotte Square listening to wordsmiths deliver wise and witty words is a pleasure not to be missed.
Below we bring you the best of this year’s events still with availability.
Human Rights – Shami Chakrabarti
How Can We Maintain Our Privacy? Wed 19 Aug 7:30pm – 9:00pm
800 years ago the Magna Carta gave the UK its first bill of rights but we are a country without any official constitution and with mounting political resistance to the European Convention of Human Rights. In the information age, we are discovering that the freedoms of the internet are opening up individuals to surveillance and control. When we live our life online, how can we maintain our privacy? Our distinguished panel, including Shami Chakrabarti from Liberty, discusses how we need to reassert and redefine our human rights for the 21st century.
Short Stories – Sally Vickers
The Boy Who Could See Death, Thu 20 Aug 1:30pm – 2:30pm
The Boy Who Could See Death is the enchanting and unsettling new collection of short stories from one of Britain’s best. Each tale is perfectly formed, a snapshot of a life lived, lost or longed for, only for the author to apply a subtle twist of the unexpected and the uncanny to leave the reader questioning all they have experienced and eager for more.
Spoken Word – Jonathan Edwards and Ryan Van Winkle
Poets Who Break the Rules, Fri 21 Aug 8:45pm – 9:45pm
Sophia Loren, Marty McFly and a bicycling nun are just three of the characters who populate Jonathan Edwards’ poems in My Family and Other Superheroes, a collection that won the Welsh poet the Costa Prize for Poetry in 2014. Ryan Van Winkle, the US-born, Edinburgh-based poet’s second collection The Good Dark includes some of the poems he performed in a much-admired one-on-one Fringe show in 2012.
Nature – John Aitchison
Close to Wild Nature, Sat 22 Aug 7:15pm – 8:15pm
For two decades, John Aitchison has journeyed to far-off lands to film wildlife for TV, winning a BAFTA and Emmy for his work on Frozen Planet. In his book The Shark and the Albatross, he tells the dramatic tale of his encounters with nature in some wonderfully exotic but downright dangerous zones. Polar bears, penguins, whales, sharks, wolves and birds all play a part in his story. Chaired by Sheena McDonald.
Great British Writer – David Lodge
The Evolution of a Writer, Sun 23 Aug 10:00am – 11:00am
To celebrate reaching 80 years of age, one of Britain’s greatest living novelists and critics has written an entertaining memoir of his first 40. Insightful and disarmingly honest Quite a Good Time to be Born is an engaging portrait of post-war Britain, filled with personal stories such as Lodge’s friendship with Malcolm Bradbury and the events that led to him finding success as a writer.
Music – Edwyn Collins & Grace Maxwell with Ian Rankin
Words and Music: The Sheer Joy of Being Alive, Tue 25 Aug 3:15pm – 4:15pm
‘Moving beyond words’ was one critic’s response to The Possibilities Are Endless, a documentary charting Edwyn Collins’ return to relative good health after two massive strokes in 2005. That film, and a recent book, are the subject of today’s conversation between Collins, his devoted wife Grace Maxwell and Ian Rankin, who has been a fan of the songwriter’s work since the days of 80s indie band Orange Juice and Postcard Records.
Leading Literary Light – Michael Faber
A Love Torn Apart, Thu 27 Aug 8:45pm – 9:45pm
This event heralds the worldwide paperback launch of Michel Faber’s first novel in 6 years, The Book of Strange New Things. The Scotland-based author’s previous novels include the bestselling Crimson Petal and the White and Under the Skin, which was recently made into a movie. With his new novel, Faber has produced a work of stunning originality, a gripping story in which two lovers find themselves a universe away from each other. Chaired by Jackie McGlone.
Political Cartoons – Steve Bell
The Cartoonist’s Election Campaign, Fri 28 Aug 5:00pm – 6:00pm
From the squint-eyed mania of Tony Blair to the condom-clad head of a super-smooth David Cameron, Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell’s caricatures are fearless and uncannily accurate. With cartoons including a bright pink Cameron cuddling Nicola Sturgeon in the guise of a newborn lamb, Bell doodled his way through the General Election campaign this summer, and he shares his hilarious, cruelly coruscating results today.
WWII Fiction – Pat Barker
Life During Wartime, Sun 30 Aug 5:00pm – 6:00pm
Noonday is the final instalment of Pat Barker’s second trilogy dealing with war. It takes the Slade School of Art characters she first gave us in 2007’s Life Class and places them into the early months of the Second World War. Once again, the 20th century’s military conflicts are set to exert a fascinating grip on Barker’s legion of readers. Chaired by Lee Randall.
For the full programme and ticket information visit Edinburgh International Book Festival.
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