Yasmin Sulaiman

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: theatremakers Rachel Chavkin and Chris Thorpe on Confirmation

24 Jul 2014

‘The last thing that I want this piece to be is a narrative retelling of my adventures with a Nazi'

Separately, Rachel Chavkin and Chris Thorpe have been behind some of the most exciting Fringe shows of the past decade. As artistic director of New York’s the TEAM, Chavkin’s impressed audiences and critics alike with genre-bending triumphs like…

Comedians take on dramatic roles at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014

22 Jul 2014

Lucy Porter, Richard Herring, Suki Webster and Russell Kane discuss swapping comedy for drama

‘It must be irritating for actors and directors because comedians muscle in everywhere,’ Lucy Porter muses. ‘We’re like, “yeah we’ll have a go at that, why not?” I think we are naturally quite reckless.’ It’s a good year for recklessness. Stand-up…

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…

South African play Ubu and the Truth Commission set for 2014 Edinburgh International Festival

15 Jul 2014

Team behind War Horse revive play to commemorate twenty years of post-Apartheid South Africa

The trial of Oscar Pistorius may go down as one of the biggest media spectacles in South African history. But 18 years ago – before 24-hour news and social media – the Truth and Reconciliation Commission created its own fair share of journalistic…

Big Bite-Size Play Factory’s Family Creatures offers five, family-friendly plays

30 Jul 2013

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013 show promises 'not to patronise'

The Big Bite-Size Breakfast Show has been delighting Fringe audiences for years with short plays in the morning, but in 2013 the group brings its first show for children to Edinburgh: The Big Bite-Size Play Factory’s Family Creatures. ‘Big Bite-Size…

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I-Spy talk examines history of espionage at 2014 Edinburgh Festival of Politics

15 Jul 2014

Professor Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones on our ongoing fascination with the ethics of surveillance

It’s been over 60 years since the first James Bond novel was published, and more than 50 since John le Carré introduced readers to George Smiley. But despite the huge shifting of the world’s political landscape, these Cold War spies still dominate our…

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…

Interview: Rainbow Rowell, author of Eleanor & Park, Fangirl and new novel Landline

24 Jun 2014

I tend to write about my anxieties – what I'm afraid will happen. I write a story working it out'

Thanks to hit novels Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, Nebraska-based Rainbow Rowell (her real name) is currently one of the best-loved authors in young adult literature. But, while she certainly knows how to capture the acute agony and ecstasy of teenage…

Carys Bray - A Song For Issy Bradley

20 Jun 20144 stars

Bay's debut is an intimate examination of grief and the Mormon faith, with a surprisingly funny edge

Deftly juggling five characters' perspectives, Carys Bray's first novel is an intimate portrait of grief and faith – but it's also sharply funny.

Bannockburn Live promises to be a celebration of both historic and contemporary Scotland

19 Jun 2014

Karine Polwart, Roddy Woomble, Rachel Sermanni, Dougie MacLean and Julie Fowlis among the highlights

It's been a rough few months for Bannockburn Live. The festival was announced last year as a three-day celebration to mark the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, and it's a key event in the Homecoming 2014 calendar. But since then…

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Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014: A guide to the work of John McGrath

10 Jun 2014

The timely, Independence-themed work of the political playwright is given a festival retrospective

John McGrath was one of Britain’s most prolific writers, directors and producers. Born in 1935, he was a passionate socialist theatremaker. He’s particularly noted for setting up theatre company 7:84 in 1971, which became known around Scotland and…

Summer Festivals 2014: the five best fests for culture vultures

20 May 2014

Featuring Solas, Yestival, Bloody Scotland and the Edinburgh Mela

Solas Festival A 10-minute drive from Perth, the picturesque Bield at Blackruthven hosts the fifth Solas Festival this summer. With events for all ages, Solas is a breeding ground for exciting political and cultural debate – Alasdair Gray and Liz…

Interview: Doug Johnstone, author of The Dead Beat

16 May 2014

Johnstone's sixth novel covers obituaries, the death of print journalism and mental health issues

'I always feel that if you're going to write a novel, you've got to be obsessed with what you're writing about,' says Doug Johnstone. 'This is a handful of obsessions that came together.' The Dead Beat's obsessions include: obituaries ('they're like…

Interview: Scottish author Val McDermid on Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey

29 Apr 2014

The crime queen has remixed the Gothic satire as part of The Austen Project

'Dark, Scottish crime writer reworks Jane Austen. It's not the first pairing you'd think of,' admits Val McDermid. It is one, however, that works. McDermid – best known for crime thrillers like The Wire in the Blood and Cross and Burn – has just turned…

BJ Novak - One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories

22 Apr 20144 stars

An impressive debut collection from the writer/producer/star of America's The Office

It's tempting to approach One More Thing as an attempt to cash in on BJ Novak's celebrity status. After all, how many writers get their own photograph on the cover of their debut book – a short story collection, no less. Novak, best known as Ryan from…

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Damon Galgut - Arctic Summer

28 Mar 20144 stars

An absorbing fictional biography of EM Forster, set around the time of A Passage to India

It's been 90 years since EM Forster – the author of classics A Room with a View and Howards End – published his final novel. Yet he remains one of the most influential and best-loved writers in the English language. Damon Galgut's new novel looks at the…

The Play That Goes Wrong set for 2014 UK tour

25 Feb 2014

Edinburgh Fringe hit tours to Glasgow, Cambridge, Nottingham, York and more

In 2013, Mischief Theatre's The Play That Goes Wrong opened at London's Old Red Lion to just 12 people. A year later, the comedy played to an audience of over 1100 and is now embarking on an extensive UK tour.

Ben Marcus - Leaving the Sea

21 Feb 20144 stars

Absorbing short story collection marks out author as eclectic and valuable talent

2012’s critically acclaimed The Flame Alphabet may have established Ben Marcus as a novel writer of note, but this new short story collection reminds us that he’s still one of the most innovative writers of the concise form around. Leaving the Sea (his…

Peter Swanson - The Girl with a Clock for a Heart

29 Jan 20143 stars

A cinematic American noir that's often visceral and compelling, but feels like a lead-up to a sequel

Its title may feel like an opportunistic echo of Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy, but Peter Swanson's debut novel is much more American noir than Scandi thriller. There are flecks of LA Confidential in its sensuousness, and shades of Vertigo in its…

Kieran Hurley's Rantin explores Scottish identity through '21st-century ceilidh play'

22 Jan 2014

Drawing on Scottish folk traditions and current events to make part-gig, part-theatre

After a successful stint at The Arches’ Behaviour Festival last year, Kieran Hurley’s Rantin' embarks on an extensive Scottish tour, thanks to the National Theatre of Scotland. Like Hurley’s past successes, Hitch and Beats, music is at the core of…

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Natalie Young - Season to Taste; or How to Eat Your Husband

12 Dec 20133 stars

A macabre tale with a gruesome sense of humour but lack of pace

Natalie Young reveals an appetite for the grotesque in her new novel, a darkly comic tale about a disillusioned fiftysomething who kills her husband – then gradually cooks and eats him to hide the evidence. The murdering wife, Lizzie Prain, isn’t the…

Playful adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's I Believe in Unicorns explores freedom to read

30 Jul 2013

Theatre director Dani Parr is adapting the book for Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

War Horse might be his most famous work, but Michael Morpurgo’s 2005 novel I Believe in Unicorns is just as powerful. In it, a boy called Tomas discovers the joy of reading through a local library storyteller called the Unicorn Lady, before the arrival…

Shit-faced Shakespeare - Much Ado About Nothing performed with one actor drunk

29 Jul 2013

Shakespeare after one tankard too many at 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

At first glance, the Shit-faced Shakespeare premise might seem a tad gimmicky. Each night, in an otherwise straight-played Shakespeare production, one actor is required to perform their role drunk, yet somehow it turns out to be an unexpectedly…

Young Fringe stars Little Bulb explore new territory with Squally Showers

29 Jul 2013

'We’re exploring the world of dance theatre and dance logic' says artistic director Alex Scott

Between 2008’s Crocosmia and 2010’s Operation Greenfield, Little Bulb Theatre have won most of the major theatre awards at the Edinburgh Fringe. This year, they return with the third in their trilogy, Squally Showers. ‘The characters aren’t related at…

I’m With the Band tackles Scottish independence from a different angle

29 Jul 2013

Welshman Tim Price's Fringe performance uses inter-band tension as an independence analogy

It’s not the subtlest metaphor: when a Scottish guitarist leaves successful indie-rock band The Union, its remaining members – an Englishman, a Welshman and a Northern Irishman – question their alliance. But with the independence referendum just a year…