Alasdair Gray, Pat Kane and Alan Bissett to attend the 16th Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair

Alasdair Gray, Pat Kane and Richard Holloway to attend the 16th Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair

Photo: David Bryce

This year marks the sweet 16th Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair, now firmly lodged in its setting deep in the heart of Leith. Those who organised the very first gathering might well have been surprised to be told that the 2012 fair would feature events about arachnophobia and flashing but such diversity makes the event a must-visit for radicals, independents and assorted friends. The spidery tale is Alan Bissett’s one-man play The Red Hourglass, which went down a storm in the city during its August run, while Kate Gould analyses the role of flashing in contemporary culture with a discussion of her book, Exposing Phallacy.

Perhaps on more familiar territory are events about debt, China’s rural migrants, the Middle East and the march of materialism, while more local issues are debated with Richard Rodger talking about the history of Edinburgh’s Colonies and David Spaven discussing the Borders railway.

Among those familiar names taking part in the five-day event are Richard Holloway, Pat Kane, Sara Maitland, Alasdair Gray and Kirsty Gunn, while a photographic exhibition by Owen Logan entitled Flammable Societies: Studies on the Socio-Economics of Oil and Gas can be viewed throughout the period. ‘Independent’ and ‘radical’ might sometimes feel like dirty words in these beige-politics times, but this festival fully deserves to clean up.

Out of the Blue Drill Hall, Edinburgh, Wed 24–Sun 28 Oct.

Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair

Free readings and discussions plus bookstalls with an emphasis on small and independent presses and writings from outside the mainstream. There are talks, film screenings plus a huge array of books for sale.

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