Monday 25 June 2012

The Best of #EdBookFest | Part I

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, so when you're done with today's post, be sure to pop along again tomorrow for Part II.

For the very moment, let's get this show on the road!


Who: Colson Whitehead and Ben Marcus

When: Sunday 12 August, 6:45PM - 7:45PM

Where: Peppers Theatre

Humans are fighting back against a zombie outbreak in Colson Whitehead’s Zone One with ordinary guy Mark Spitz part of an armed unit patrolling the New York streets. As we dip into Spitz’s past life, he wonders whether a doomsday scenario is about to unfold. Ben Marcus’ innovative The Flame Alphabet zooms in on a virus which originates in the speech of children and kills their parents.

Who: Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell

When: Monday 13 August, 8:00PM - 9:00PM

Where: RBS Main Theatre

To mark the 10th anniversary of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, Chris Riddell has created beautiful, atmospheric and unsettling illustrations for a new edition. The tale of the lonely girl who discovers an alternate world where her ‘other mother and father’ live has been turned into a graphic novel and a film. Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell discuss their inspiration for the words and the pictures and, of course, those button eyes

Who: Ned Beauman and Nick Harkaway

When: Tuesday 14 August, 10:15AM - 11:15AM

Where: The Guardian Spiegeltent

After his heavily acclaimed debut Boxer, Beetle, Ned Beauman recounts The Teleportation Accident. In this 1930s tale Egon Loeser seeks pleasure in Berlin’s experimental theatres, the absinthe bars of Paris and physics labs of LA. Nick Harkaway’s Angelmaker features Joe Spork who sidestepped his criminal ancestry to enjoy a quiet life repairing clockwork. But why is he receiving visits from sinister cultists and dastardly lawyers?

Who: Hilary Mantel

When: Tuesday 14 August, 6:30PM - 7:30PM

Where: RBS Main Theatre

Wolf Hall was one of the most remarkable novels of recent years and it became the bestselling Man Booker Prize winner to date. Now Hilary Mantel joins us to discuss its much anticipated sequel, Bring up the Bodies, which imagines Anne Boleyn's downfall at the hands of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell. She discusses her work with James Runcie, director of a stunning BBC2 documentary about the author.

Who: Patrick Ness

When: Thursday 16 August, 5:00PM - 6:00PM

Where: RBS Corner Theatre

The multi-award-winning author Patrick Ness is one of our leading writers for young adults. His Chaos Walking trilogy is en route to the silver screen and his latest novel, A Monster Calls, has been shortlisted for both the Carnegie and the Kate Greenaway Medals. An incredibly versatile writer, moving with ease from fantasy to family drama, Patrick has a lightness of touch that goes deep – his novels are not easily forgotten. Chaired by Keith Gray.

Who: S. J. Watson

When: Thursday 16 August, 8:30PM - 9:30PM

Where: ScottishPower Studio Theatre

NHS audiologist S. J. Watson took time out from his day job to pen his debut novel Before I Go to Sleep, which has already become a worldwide bestseller, won several awards and been made into a film. It tells the story of Chrissie, who can store memories for only 24 hours. As she continues to re-learn everything, how can she tell if anything is quite what it seems? 

Who: Michael Morpurgo

When: Friday 17 August, 5:00PM - 6:00PM

Where: ScottishPower Studio Theatre

It’s been a crazy couple of years for Michael Morpurgo, following the success on stage and screen of his acclaimed novel War Horse. Come and hear Michael talk about his life, his work, Oscars and Spielberg. He also discusses Private Peaceful, the latest of his novels to be adapted and the process involved. Afterwards, you have the chance to receive a specially designed bookplate as Michael will not be available to sign individual books.

Who: Neal Stephenson

When: Friday 17 August, 8:30PM - 9:30PM

Where: ScottishPower Studio Theatre

In Neal Stephenson’s book of essays, Some Remarks, he blends such diverse topics as technology, economics, history, science, pop culture and philosophy, pondering a wealth of subjects, from movies and politics to video games and geekdom. In his latest novel, Reamde, he delivers a high-intensity, action-packed adventure thriller in which an entrepreneur gets caught in the crossfire of his own online war game.


And that's that for the first part of Best of the #EdBookFest. Lots more tomorrow, I promise!

In the meantime, you tell me: which of the the authors discussed above would you most like to see?

I'd say Neil Gaiman - a favourite author and a terrific speaker to boot - except that I've been to three of his events already, over the years, and perhaps I should take this chance to do something a little different...

1 comment:

  1. Oooooo Neil Gaiman? Time to get my stalker boots on!! :)