Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The Best of #EdBookFest | Part III

Last Thursday, the programme for this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival was made available. From the 11th of August - that's a Saturday - through Monday the 27th, almost a million authors are set to appear at various venues around Scotland's prettiest city... or at least, so it seems.

As a matter of fact a million might be overstating the case somewhat, but there are so many events on the slate that a comprehensive read of the catalogue could take as long as the festival itself, and by then, everything of interest is sure to be fully booked. If you're planning to attend, specifically to see a certain someone speak, then in my experience you've got to be on the ball when it comes to ordering.

So how about some help figuring out your potential schedule before tickets go on sale at 8:30AM this Friday? Really, it's the least I can do. :)

To save you some time and effort, then, I've taken a good, long look through the 2012 programme for writers and artists that the likes of us - which is to say fans of speculative fiction - are apt to find fascinating. Even then there's such a surplus of good stuff that this it's going to take us a couple of days to get through just the genre-related authors, and considering that I've taken pains to arrange everything in chronological order, please: start with Part I, then read through Part II, and last but not least... behold the third installment of three!


Who: Iain Banks

When: Wednesday 22 August, 8:00PM - 9:00PM

Where: RBS Main Theatre

Iain Banks is back on non sci-fi territory. And with Stonemouth, he is firmly on his finest and funniest comedy-drama behaviour as he explores one Stewart Gilmour’s return to his north-east home town to attend a funeral after 5 years in exile. Not everyone is happy he’s back though and he spends a long weekend trying to keep one step ahead of local gangsters.

Who: Ian McEwan

When: Thursday 23 August, 3:00PM - 4:00PM

Where: RBS Main Theatre

The most gifted British novelist of his generation unveils his new book at the Book Festival. Sweet Tooth tells the story of a woman drawn into intelligence activities, who then falls in love and faces a challenge to maintain the fiction of her undercover life. Ian McEwan’s previous bestselling novels include Saturday, On Chesil Beach and the Man Booker Prize-winning Amsterdam.

Who: Mark Haddon

When: Thursday 23 August, 4:30PM - 5:30PM

Where: RBS Main Theatre

The Red House was one of the most anticipated novels of 2012, and it has certainly lived up to that billing. Mark Haddon’s latest revolves around a newly remarried hospital consultant, who attempts to build bridges with his estranged sister. The author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time talks to the Guardian’s Literary Editor, Claire Armitstead about how he constructed his new novel using 8 distinct voices. 

Who: John Connolly and Stuart Neville

When: Thursday 23 August, 6:45PM - 7:45PM

Where: Peppers Theatre

What: While Stephen King has imprinted Maine on the literary landscape, a new kid on the block has been threatening to slap away King’s crown. Irishman John Connolly’s latest Charlie Parker mystery is The Burning Soul, in which a man is haunted by his past. Stuart Neville’s Stolen Souls features a woman who travels from Russia to Ireland only to be coaxed into a horrific world of modern slavery. 

Who: Michelle Paver

When: Saturday 25 August, 10:30AM - 11:30AM

Where: RBS Corner Theatre

Following the conclusion of her Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series, Michelle Paver is here to introduce you to her thrilling new series Gods and Warriors. Set during the Bronze Age in the Mediterranean it promises exciting adventures against the backdrop of a vividly-imagined prehistoric setting. Come and hear all about Michelle’s inspiration for the books and her extensive research, including dolphin watching.

Who: Jasper Fforde

When: Saturday 25 August, 8:30PM - 9:30PM

Where: ScottishPower Studio Theatre

The irrepressible Jasper Fforde joins us again to unveil his seventh novel featuring the much-loved Thursday Next. In Fforde's comic parallel universe, England is a republic whose first president was George Formby, and Thursday's genius 15 year old daughter, Tuesday, is working on a shield to protect their home town from the wrath of an angry Deity. Join Fforde to enter a hilariously unpredictable world. 

Who: Eoin Colfer

When: Sunday 26 August, 1:30PM - 2:30PM

Where: RBS Main Theatre

A new Artemis Fowl is a much-anticipated event but when it’s the last ever... Eoin Colfer introduces his final thrilling instalment, Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian, featuring a magical portal, fairies and rampaging dead soldiers. Thankfully, Eoin has stated that he will keep writing until people stop reading or he runs out of ideas. As neither is likely, the final Artemis adventure doesn’t spell the end for his fans, there will be plenty more from Eoin Colfer to look forward to in the future! 

Who: Ken McLeod and G. Willow Wilson

When: Monday 27 August, 8:30PM - 9:30PM

Where: Peppers Theatre

In G Willow Wilson’s Alif The Unseen, we journey to an unnamed Middle Eastern security state where a young hacker has just discovered an ancient book which may unleash a new level of information technology, and he’s extremely keen to get hold of it. Ken MacLeod’s Intrusion is another of his disturbing dystopia novels in which a future state commits atrocities with the best of intentions.


And that, as they say, is that!

So how are your schedules coming along? Any last minute additions?

Now as much as I'd love to see every one of the thirty-odd authors we've covered over the last couple of days, if I'm honest, I'll be lucky to find the time for half of the events aforementioned. Edinburgh isn't exactly nearby, even for me. Would that it were...

But enough moping! This year's festival sounds fantastic. As ever, there's something for everyone, but this year seems particularly geared towards speculative fiction fans like me. :)

One last thing before we say good day: if you end up in Edinburgh at some point during the fortnight of the book festival, there's a decent chance I'll be out and about, so feel free to give me a shout. It might be nice to finally arrange some names next to a few of those famous internet faces.

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