Last year, I went rather wild at the book festival. This year, I’m taking it easy. I’ve only booked events at the weekend or in the evening and I’m only doing one workshop. But what a workshop.
1-2-1 Writing Clinic
According to the program, the 1-2-1 Writing Clinic on Sunday 19th is for new writers who wants advice from professionals who have been through it all. To help the adviser, we’ll be asked to submit materials in advance. I’ve got 15 minutes with a publisher at 10:15 in the morning. I’ve got 15 minutes with Francis Bickmore, Editorial Director for Canongate Books. I’ve prepared my one-page CV and am choosing between a number of candidates for 500-word writing samples. 15 minutes isn’t long so to get the best out of my time, I’m thinking hard about the questions I want to ask and, of course, writing them down.
People to see
If the weather is good, Charlotte Square is quite a nice place to just hang out. You don’t have to have tickets for things to have a cup of tea, browse the book shop and do a bit of author spotting. (But don’t crowd the author’s yurt. It’s bad form.) The festival programme has all kinds of fun and I’m attending a couple of debates as well as author talks. Here are the events I’m particularly looking forward to:
- Sunday 12: Alasdair Gray. Always a joy. (And we’re in the same anthology now, so we’re almost pals, don’t you know.)
- Monday 13: Neil Gaiman & Chris Riddell on Coraline. One of my favourite authors, one of my favourite books.
- Friday 17: Nathan Englander & Etgar Keret on translation. As someone who writes in their second language, translation fascinates me.
- Monday 20: China Mieville. I’ve read his writing, now I’d like to hear the man speak.
- Monday 27: Ken MacLeod & Chris Becket on scary futuristic fictions. Ken’s an interesting speaker and I’m reading his Engines of Light trilogy at the moment so I’m really looking forward to this.
Things to do
Then there’s Unbound, the free event in the Spiegeltent. They offer all kinds of booky fun in a relaxed atmosphere and for no cost other than what you spend on drink. I’m hoping to go to:
- Wednesday 15: Magic Words – Illicit Ink at unbound! Fun times with magicians.
- Friday 17: Literary death-match. I’ve never been to one. It’s time to change that.
- Friday 24: Swimming and Flying, a talk by Mark Haddon.
- Monday 27: It will be all write on the night… To close the festival brave souls will finish an audience-lead story on the night. No time for edits here. R. A. Martens and George Anderson are part of the fun.