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The Moth: This is a True Story

15 Jul 20144 stars

Non-fiction short story collection featuring contributions from Malcolm Gladwell & Sebastian Junger

Although it freely describes itself as a ‘storytelling sensation’, it’s hard not to indulge New York literary event The Moth its powerful sense of self. Named in honour of the days when stories were for the porch as the sun went down, and not the…

The 20 best shows at the 2014 Edinburgh Festivals

15 Jul 2014

Stuck to know what you must see this festival? Here's 20 suggestions from across the festivals

The James Plays. Edinburgh International Festival. Sofie Gråbøl, Blythe Duff and Jamie Sives are among the actors appearing in Rona Munro’s highly anticipated historical trilogy.

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

Alison Moore - He Wants

7 Aug 20144 stars

A short meditation on memory composed of tightly wreathed prose and assured plotting

The best novels are the ones that leave you with a sense of yearning, and in He Wants, Alison Moore proves her mastery of the medium. Lewis Sullivan is a retired RE teacher whose restraint has kept him in the same village his entire life. Only now, with…

Emily Mackie - In Search of Solace

7 Aug 20144 stars

A nuanced look at identity, memory and modern Britain in the vein of Iain Banks at his best

Following an existential crisis, Jacob Little goes in search of his ex-girlfriend Solace in Emily Mackie's accomplished second novel. Armed only with the painting of a female nude he believes looks exactly like his erstwhile lover, and not sure if…

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Interview: Alexander Moffat & Alan Riach on the political negligence of culture as the Referendum approaches

6 Aug 2014

Authors discuss their new book Arts of Independence ahead of 2014 Edinburgh International Festival

In their book, Arts of Independence, the painter Alexander Moffat and poet and academic Alan Riach argue that culture should be at the heart of the independence debate. In their Edinburgh International Book Festival event, part of the Scotland's Future…

Syria Speaks: an evening of resistance and celebration at the 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival

6 Aug 2014

Syrian voices at Jura Unbound including Samar Yazbek, with music from the Raast Collection

‘Uprising literature’ is the term being used to encompass works which have followed on from the revolt and subsequent civil war in Syria, and this special late-night event will showcase many of its exponents, all of whom are featured in Saqi Books…

Kate Tough & Emma Jane Unsworth set for joint appearance at 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival

6 Aug 2014

Young female authors talk about the trials and tribulations of 21st century life

Her book has been compared to everything from Withnail and I to Girls, but Emma Jane Unsworth isn't letting the success of her second novel Animals go to her head. After living in Manchester, where most of her work to date has been set, Unsworth has…

Interview: Deyan Sudjic on why design matters ahead of 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival appearance

6 Aug 2014

Director of Design Museum in London talks accents and identity

‘Design isn’t an artform. It’s not about looks; it’s about meaning, it’s a way of understanding the world around us.’ Deyan Sudjic should know. Director of the Design Museum in London, he published B is for Bauhaus earlier this year, his personal A-Z of…

Threnody for the Sky Children

5 Aug 20144 stars

A zombie apocalypse romantic comedy epic poem at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Although Jack Dean’s epic poem covers zombie apocalypse, the anguish of failed love and the ravings of ‘philosophical pervert’ Slavoj Zizek, his attention to metaphorical detail and intimate performance make Threnody a touching, and emotive hour.

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Edinburgh Art Festival 2014: Duffy, Tennyson and Hughes showcased in Poetry for the Palace

4 Aug 2014

The exhibition aims to provide a more visual angle to the work of the Poets Laureate

Subtitled ‘Poets Laureate From Dryden to Duffy’, this exhibition seeks, says curator Deborah Clarke, to be ‘a unique mix of words, art, and voices relating to the Poets Laureate, including original manuscripts and rare editions, many personally…

First Book Award: top speakers at the 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival

1 Aug 2014

Unmissable events featuring prize-nominated debut authors at Charlotte Square Gardens

As ever, this year’s First Book Award features an exciting but slightly overwhelming plethora of authors, genres and styles. Two of this year’s most acclaimed nominees deal with health across the ages: The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer (9 Aug…

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014 interview: Shaun Usher, Simon Garfield and Ben Harrison

31 Jul 2014

The blogger, the author and the theatre director discuss the value of letter-writing

Roald Dahl was once sent a dream in a bottle by a young reader named Amy. Kurt Vonnegut spent Christmas in 1944 locked in a tiny box car en route to a Dresden work camp. Anaïs Nin believed sex doesn’t thrive on monotony. Katharine Hepburn had…

Edinburgh Festivals 2014: the lasting influence of All Quiet on the Western Front

31 Jul 2014

Tony Bradman, Christina Bellingen and Guy Masterson discuss different approaches to WWI

Banned by the Nazis and immortalised in the 1930 film adaptation, Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front is one of the greatest anti-war books of the 20th century. First published in 1929, excellent translations from the original German…

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014: 5 musicians at the book fest

31 Jul 2014

Featuring Aidan Moffat, Julian Cope, Willy Vlautin, Gruff Rhys and James Yorkston

Aidan Moffat In contrast to the abject despair / binge drinking / furtive groping often covered in his songwriting, the spoken word artist and ex-Arab Strap member presents his latest offering with not even a PG but a U rating. The Lavender Blue Dress…

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All Back To Bowie’s set to tackle Scottish referendum debate at 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2014

Unique take on the Scottish referendum debate through Bowie-themed musical and political salon

February 2014: David Bowie wins a Brit Award and uses the occasion to appeal – via a proxy, who just happens to be Kate Moss – ‘Scotland, stay with us’. Some idiots threaten to bin their Bowie collections but playwright David Greig, who describes his…

Programme highlights from the 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival

17 Jul 2014

Including Lauren Child, Julian Cope, Tony Parsons, Irvine Welsh and Jacqueline Wilson

Lauren Child One of this year’s guest selectors, multi-award winning author and illustrator Lauren Child takes part in three events. The creator of Charlie and Lola, and Clarice Bean discusses her gadget-heavy Ruby Redfort Trilogy (9 Aug), before…

Interview: Julian Cope reveals unorthodox writing methods and musical influences ahead of 2014 Edinburgh Book Festival date

15 Jul 2014

Rockstar-turned-writer on debut novel, writing under the influence and his Aberdeenshire obsession

‘Write what you know’, goes the Mark Twain mantra for budding authors. So Julian Cope has written a debut novel about 80s and 90s rock stars, football tribalism and Neolithic portals in Sardinia. ‘If you’re going to be an author, people have really got…

Interview: Tony Parsons and John Gordon Sinclair on why they turned to crime writing

15 Jul 2014

The controversial journalist and Gregory's Girl actor on new found love of writing crime fiction

‘I do love a bit of blood and thunder,’ Tony Parsons confesses. ‘Gore doesn’t put me off. And I like to know the proper way to slit a throat. It’s not some drunk hacking and chopping away at a neck; there’s a clinical, far more efficient way to do it.…

Empire Cafe event explores Scotland's links to slave trade as part of Commonwealth Games programme

15 Jul 2014

Author Louise Welsh and architect Jude Barber serve up a series of events examining slavery

Thanks to the huge success of Steve McQueen’s Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave and the anti-slavery bill currently being drafted in the House of Commons, slavery has hit the headlines once again. And this month the Empire Cafe brings this timely…

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Flash Fiction: 'Charlie Loved the Circus' by Simon Sylvester

15 Jul 2014

The proponent of twitterature shares one of his super-short stories

Charlie loved the circus. He liked the clowns best of all. He liked to sneer at them, and hurl insults. Caught between terror and exhilaration, he fired spitballs at them through a straw. Giddy with power, he flicked peanuts at their stupid misshapen…

Amy Pascale - Joss Whedon: Geek King of the Universe – A Biography

15 Jul 20144 stars

A refreshingly candid look at the man behind Buffy and Marvel's Avengers

With his genre-changing series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon shaped the face of television in the 1990s. Nearly 20 years on, having written and directed 2012’s The Avengers, which became the third highest grossing film worldwide, he now plays a…

Mini-festival Home Nations celebrates theatrical language from the UK

14 Jul 2014

Works by Seamus Heaney, Dylan Thomas, Carol Anne Duffy and Liz Lochhead will be performed

The idea for this mini-festival of plays from around the Home Nations began with Edwin Morgan’s Dreams and Other Nightmares by Liz Lochhead, says the Tron’s artistic director, Andy Arnold, with its ‘brilliance’ demanding he show it with the eyes of the…

Interview: Anna Caltabiano, author of All That is Red and The Seventh Miss Hatfield

11 Jul 2014

The 17-year-old novelist talks social media and 'describing the world the way you see it'

Seventeen-year-old Californian Anna Caltabiano self-published her first novel, All That is Red, when she was just 15, gaining her a massive teen audience and an enormous Twitter following. But, she says, she’s no different to the average teen: ‘I…

Kerry Hudson - Thirst

11 Jul 20144 stars

A fizzing, breathless love story from a terrifically talented storyteller

It’s been two years since Kerry Hudson’s fantastic debut – the epically named Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma – shook readers and critics from the cushy, Booker-induced, middle-class coma of the preceding years. And her…