The Edinburgh International Book Festival 2012
Our regular Festival go-er, Carol Ford, shares with us her experiences at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Sunday, 19th August
Charlotte Square is situated near the west end of Princes Street, currently amidst road works, traffic cones and redirected traffic routes due to the laying of tram lines. The Book Festival marquees, which are set up in the circular garden in the middle of Charlotte Square, surround the magnificent equestrian statue of Prince Albert.
Sunday was a humid, sunny, day and people of all ages were sitting at tables, enjoying the weather in the centre courtyard. Others were either queuing up for events or milling around on the wooden walkways.
The first event my friend Sandra and I attended featured Ali Smith, an Inverness-born lass now living in Cambridge. Ali has a few books under her belt; her last novel being ‘There But For The’. To be honest I had never heard of her previously, but I found her sense of humour and use of puns very entertaining. She writes about love, sexuality and relationships, all with an amazing wit.
After coffee and cake our next event was a ‘threesome’. Allan Guthrie, Sara Sheridan and Gavin Inglis talked firstly about themselves and their achievements in the book world followed by some very interesting information on how to get ‘plugged in’ to the literary community. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, media, libraries and book groups are all ways in which we can let people see our work. They also talked about entering the E-book world, as this technology is the way of the future.
Time for lunch – you do a lot of eating at book festivals! We wandered along nearby Rose Street, which used to be great for shopping when I lived in the town. Now there are numerous wine bars, cafes, takeaways and restaurants.
Anne Enright was our next port of call, a very clever Irish writer whose books have won various prizes over the years. She read from her latest novel ‘The Forgotten Waltz’ set in Ireland, and it is a dark, humorous tale about adultery. She left us wanting to hear more.
After browsing around the bookshop tents and wandering out for tea, and more cake, we returned to find the queue for our next event wound round the entire walkway TWICE! Nile Rodgers is an American musician, producer, songwriter and guitarist, born in the fifties; no doubt you have all heard of him. His first claim to fame was in a band named ‘Chic’ who had the enormous hit with ‘Le Freak’. Yes – you oldies out there will remember disco dancing to it. Come on now, own up. His book is about his life of sex, drugs and music, hmmmm…
The place was packed, mostly with fans, and as I scanned the audience, particularly the guys, I saw trance-like faces. With wide eyes and mouths hanging open, it was like being at a teenage rock concert – only the teenagers weren’t teenagers…!
Tiring fast, it was time for a taxi back to Sandra’s sister and a good night’s sleep. Looking back on Book Festival Sunday, I admit to some disappointment – I thought it would have been busier.