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Alasdair Gray to discuss his biography, Of Me and Others, at Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014

7 Aug 2014

The book provides an insight into the Gray that often doesn’t shine through his work

One of the country’s finest writers and painters, Alasdair Gray has been a monumental influence on Scottish writing since long before the publication of his first and most famous novel, Lanark. Known for his eccentricity and individualistic style, his…

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.

Norwegian Wood or The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle? The top 5 Haruki Murakami books

14 Aug 2014

The Japanese author is set to appear at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014

Norwegian Wood (1987) In his fifth novel Murakami swapped the magic realism that marked his early work for a complex 60s-set love story with a narrative that sweeps along on a wave of affecting melancholy. This was the book that brought Murakami to the…

Legendary New York spoken word night The Moth coming to Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014

14 Aug 2014

The live true storytelling event will feature Omid Djalili, Andrew Solomon and Lynn Ferguson

A literary phenomenon in its New York home for many years now, The Moth’s fame is extending rapidly overseas, partly through the open mic StorySLAMs in approaching 20 international cities that it uses to gather stories. Making its second ever appearance…

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014 interview: Lynne Segal on ageing and feminism

14 Aug 2014

‘It’s women who are aged faster by culture and discarded sooner as undesirable'

’I don’t feel old,’ was the most common response author, academic and long-time socialist-feminist Lynne Segal would receive when researching her new book Out of Time: The Pleasures and Perils of Ageing. She describes this as ‘temporal vertigo’, noting…

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Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014 interview: Natalie Haynes on her debut novel

14 Aug 2014

The comedian turned author promises The Amber Fury is 'not funny. I wouldn’t want to mislead anyone'

‘It had to be set in Edinburgh,’ says stand-up comedian turned author, Natalie Haynes, about her debut novel, The Amber Fury, a story of grief, interwoven with the Greek tragedies, published earlier this year. ‘It sets the right tone for a thriller.

Kirsty Logan: author of ‘quirky, vivid, lush, wild and magical' fairytales

14 Aug 2014

The Scottish author is set to appear at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014

What a difference a year makes. Last year, Kirsty Logan was living in Glasgow, publishing the occasional short story and poem online and in literary magazines, and she’d just been appointed books editor at The List. Fast forward 12 months and a bit, and…

Take Five interview: Glasgow author Kirsty Logan

14 Aug 2014

The fairytale creator is due to appear at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014

Five words to describe your storytelling style Quirky, vivid, lush, wild, magical. Four authors who we should really know about, but probably don't (yet) Emily Mackie. Elaine di Rollo. Dawn West. Caroline Bird. Three themes you find yourself…

The best Martin Amis books

12 Aug 2014

Five of the best Martin Amis novels ahead of writer's appearance at 2014 Edinburgh Book Festival

Money (1984) The novel that defined a decade, Money is a sustained, exuberant, and viciously funny assault on the excesses of the 1980s and the hollow promises of late 20th-century capitalism. Narrated by one of the great comic grotesques of English…

Interview: Mary Talbot on writing about Suffragette movement ahead of 2014 Edinburgh Book Festival event

12 Aug 2014

Graphic novel Sally Heathcoate: Suffragette explores militant campaign to give women in the vote

Sally Heathcoate: Suffragette is the follow-up to Mary and Bryan Talbot's Costa Award winning graphic novel The Dotter of Her Father's Eyes. Created in collaboration with Edinburgh-based illustrator Kate Charlesworth, it explores the militant campaign…

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Iain MacWhirter: After the Referendum - Sat 9 Aug 2014

12 Aug 20144 stars

Clear-sighted analysis of Scottish independence referendum from experienced political journalist

'What would happen if Putin invaded an independent Scotland?' asks one tweedy doomsayer of Iain MacWhirter. 'You can't be serious,' the political journalist laughs, 'Are you a Yes campaign plant?' That apocalyptic warning aside, this event, chaired by…

Interview: Irma Kurtz set for appearance at 2014 Edinburgh Book Festival

12 Aug 2014

Cosmopolitan magazine’s agony aunt shares wisdom in her memoir, My Life in Agony

Irma Kurtz has been dispensing advice to readers of Cosmopolitan’s problem page for 40 years now, counselling successive generations through the changing playing fields of sex, work and relationships. She’s pulled together some of the things she’s…

Anthem for a Doomed Youth

10 Aug 20143 stars

Poetry from the First World War performed by Guy Masterson

It is the very anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War and Guy Masterson has a cold. He takes to the stage, apologising for his pink socks and creaking voice, and explains that the aim of his one-man show is to bring us the poetry of the…

Interview: David Levithan on his new novel ahead of 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival appearance

7 Aug 2014

American author discusses the inspiration behind his works and why he loves co-writing

Since his 2003 debut, Boy Meets Boy, David Levithan ’s been acclaimed for introducing strong gay characters into the canon of modern young adult literature. Over his career, he’s co-written several novels with fellow YA authors, notably Will Grayson…

Highlights of Edinburgh Book Fringe 2014

7 Aug 2014

Guests including Alan McCombes ensure radical bookshop’s festival is antithesis to Charlotte Square

Now in its fifth year, Word Power ’s Edinburgh Book Fringe seeks to continue harnessing some of that counter-cultural spirit which first earned the Edinburgh Fringe its reputation. Elaine Hunter, Book Fringe founder and proprietor of the Word Power…

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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…

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…

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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…

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…