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Ian Rankin, Tony Parsons, Kathy Reichs and Ian Mcwhirter among highlights at Bloody Scotland 2014

27 Aug 2014

The crime fiction festival also welcomes Denise Mina, John Gordon Sinclair and David Hewson

Now an established literary festival which continues to grow and attract ever more well-known international guests, Stirling-based Bloody Scotland was established with the intention of celebrating what co-founder Lin Anderson calls 'Scotland’s other…

Letters Home

27 Aug 20143 stars

Four snapshot stories of exile at 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival

Consisting of four short scenes and an unnecessary epilogue set 'backstage' where the actors turn back into civilians, Letters Home is surprisingly slight for a two hour flagship production at the Book Festival. Only Grid Iron's own Ben Harrison deals…

David Stubbs - Future Days: Krautrock and the Building of Modern Germany

27 Aug 20144 stars

A thorough critical and cultural history of the genre of Kraftwerk, Can, Neu!, Faust and more

'The European canon is here' declared David Bowie on 1976's Station to Station, signalling his allegiance to the new German music, crassly but enduringly dubbed krautrock by the 1970s British music press. Four decades on, krautrock is enshrined in the…

Julia Donaldson, James Robertson (trans.) - Room on the Broom in Scots

27 Aug 20144 stars

An already engaging and exciting story becomes even more theatrical when ‘performed’ in a new tongue

The winning combination of Julia Donaldson’s stories and Axel Scheffler’s illustrations has seen their picture books grace the shelves and bedside tables of children the world over. As such, it’s a formula you don’t want to mess with without due…

Michael Palin to tour UK in support of new book Travelling to Work

27 Aug 2014

The legendary Monty Python member discusses showbiz and travel in his third memoir

Is there anyone more popular in the world of British entertainment than Michael Palin? It’s very unlikely. Not even his participation in the Monty Python O2 reunion bashes can take the shine from the public’s love for him; you just sense that he was…

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Matthew Thomas - We Are Not Ourselves

26 Aug 20143 stars

A patchy period narrative following the immigrant American Dream

Eileen Tumulty, raised by hard-drinking Irish parents in 1940s New York, craves a different life. She manages to pursue a nursing career and marries Ed, a brilliant scientist, seeing in him an opportunity for a better life. But Ed isn’t as enamoured…

Profile: Randall Munroe, xkcd creator and author of new science book What If?

19 Aug 2014

The former roboticist for NASA offers serious scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions

What is xkcd? A word which has no meaning, and which Munroe particularly likes because it has no actual phonetic pronunciation. It’s also his regular stick-figure web comic, in which a generation of geeks and science-literate readers are tickled by…

Top five books to revisit at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014

18 Aug 2014

Works by George Eliot, William S Burroughs, EM Forster, Mervyn Peak and Jane Austen reappraised

Middlemarch, George Eliot (1874) Set in the fictitious Midlands town of Middlemarch, Eliot’s complex novel has multiple plots with a sprawling cast of characters, with themes including the status of marriage, idealism, and religion. Rebecca Mead…

Walking Dead comic artist Charlie Adlard set for 2014 Edinburgh Book Festival events

17 Aug 2014

Artist also appears with Robbie Morrison to discuss WWI graphic novel White Death

Born in Shrewsbury in 1966, comic artist Charlie Adlard first arrived on the UK scene with work for 2000AD’s enduring monthly anthology spin-off the Judge Dredd Megazine, and has continued to work for publishers Rebellion on series in both publications…

Peter Ross on his new book Daunderlust ahead of 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival

17 Aug 2014

Scottish journalist talks about his storytelling style and hidden spots in Scotland

Five words to describe your storytelling style. Rather than high-five myself, I'll quote the reviews of my book: ‘Funny’; ‘Beautiful’; ‘Full of heart’. None of those were written by my mum, the landlord of my local, or anyone else who has cause to be…

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Highlights from 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival: Fri 22 – Mon 25 Aug

17 Aug 2014

Martin Amis, Gruff Rhys, Haruki Murakami and Peter Ross among guests at Charlotte Square

Friday sees a joint event with two of the literature’s bright young things, Ned Beauman and Clemens J Setz discussing their recent work. Beauman will be speaking about Glow, his follow-up to 2012’s Booker Prize-longlisted The Teleportation Accident, and…

Andrew Ladd on his debut novel What Ends

17 Aug 2014

Author set to appear at 2014 Edinburgh Book Fringe with Andrés Neuman

Where he’s from, says debut novelist Andrew Ladd, is the hardest question to answer. Born to American parents living in Brighton who swiftly afterwards moved to Edinburgh, he grew up there, went to university in Montreal and Boston, and now lives in…

Sarah Waters - The Paying Guests

17 Aug 20144 stars

An absorbing read, rich in period detail and complex characters

Four years after she was nominated for the Booker Prize with The Little Stranger, Sarah Waters has returned with her sixth novel, The Paying Guests. In a shabby but still genteel London suburb just after World War I, Frances Wray and her mother are…

MCM Scotland Comic Con set for Glasgow SECC

17 Aug 2014

Guests at convention include James Cosmo, DC Douglas and Hannah Spearritt

Only a few short years ago, comic conventions were for a niche audience of passionate comic book fans. A few days in a dusty hall dedicated to superheroes and the writers and artists who brought them to life. Over the last few years their popularity has…

Howard Jacobson - J

17 Aug 20142 stars

Man Booker Prize-longlisted dystopian novel full of historical flashes of little political mooring

Howard Jacobson’s J has been longlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize. Though he won in 2010 for The Finkler Question, his publisher assures us J is unlike his others, explicitly encouraging its being named in the same breath as Nineteen Eighty-Four…

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ReferendumFest 2014 to explore issues surrounding Scottish independence debate

17 Aug 2014

Guests include Lesley Riddoch, Kate Higgins, Gerry Hassan, Owen Dudley-Edwards and Henry McLeish

Make up your own mind The Yes campaign plays on Braveheart sentiments about saving Scotland from the Auld Enemy, while the No-voters are a bunch of land-owning upper class Tories, right? Separate fact from emotion at this five-day festival promising…

Ali Smith - How to be Both

17 Aug 20145 stars

Man Booker Prize-longlisted book a stunning work that is as rewarding as it is challenging

Being longlisted for the Man Booker Prize before publication adds heady expectations to a novel, but with How to be Both, Ali Smith has reasserted herself as one of the UK’s most inventive and progressive writers. Replicating techniques borrowed from…

Alan Warner - Their Lips Talk of Mischief

17 Aug 20143 stars

Novel set in Thatcher's London is as funny and poignant as anything he's written

In the cold climate of Thatcher's London, Douglas Cunningham meets dissolute young writer Llewellyn Smith, who lives with his baby daughter and beautiful wife Aoife in an Acton tower block. Moving in with them and their extensive collection of Penguin…

John Boyne - A History of Loneliness

17 Aug 20144 stars

Strong, emotive work exploring child abuse in the Church

This latest offering from The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas author John Boyne deals with revelations of child abuse in the Church. It’s a powerful meditation on a deeply distressing issue from which his audience is not censored. As the narrative darts…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: BJ Novak of the US Office on debut short story collection One More Thing

15 Aug 2014

'There’s a story in my book called “Regret is Just Perfectionism Plus Time". That’s how I feel'

If you’ve ever watched the US series of The Office, BJ Novak’s face will be instantly recognisable as obnoxious temp Ryan Howard. A producer, writer and actor on the show (he landed the gig aged just 25, after producer Greg Daniels saw him at a comedy…

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Interview: Rachel McCrum and Jenny Lindsay talk poetry at the Edinburgh Festivals 2014

15 Aug 2014

Poets are popping up all over the capital this august, including Luke Wright and Hollie McNish

Between the crowds, the queues, the small-hours bedtimes and the daytime drinking, moments of poetic transcendence don’t necessarily come high on the August-in-Edinburgh agenda. But those familiar with Edinburgh’s dynamic live literature and spoken word…

Chaos Walking author Patrick Ness set for 2014 Edinburgh Book Festival appearance

15 Aug 2014

Key writer in British young adult fiction scene discusses new novel More Than This

Chaos Walking author and Book Festival favourite Patrick Ness will soon deliver the first Siobhan Dowd Trust Memorial Lecture. He tells Paul Gallagher why truth in storytelling is more important than ever. Patrick Ness is one of the shining lights of…

Dystopian graphic novel IDP 2043 events set for 2014 Edinburgh Book Festival

15 Aug 2014

Collaborative work featuring contributions from Irvine Welsh, Denise Mina and Pat Mills

Charlotte Square went mad for comics last year – so much so, they’ve collaborated with Freight Books on a new graphic novel. David Pollock finds out more.

This weekend at the 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival: Fri 15–Sun 17 Aug

15 Aug 2014

Highlights include Julian Cope, Katy Brand, Gordon Brown and Maggie O'Farrell

Friday’s highlights include Julian Cope, one of contemporary music’s most interesting chaps – as well as one of the busiest, judging by his output as a musician, author, historian, antiquarian, cultural commentator, and now, novelist. He'll be talking…

Sweet Potato and Callaloo: Voices from the Caribbean Diaspora

15 Aug 20145 stars

Project exploring Scotland's role in slave trade, featuring Dorothea Smartt and Millicent AA Graham

Fresh from their appearances at The Empire Cafe, a remarkable project exploring Glasgow and Scotland's under-acknowledged role in the transatlantic slave trade, come four poets from the Caribbean Diaspora. Warmly introduced by Scottish poet Jackie Kay…