• Tue. Dec 5th, 2023

Preview: 2015 Edinburgh International Book Festival (Part II)

ByLene Korseberg

Aug 25, 2015

The first week of the 2015 Edinburgh International Book Festival is now over, and as we go into to the second half of this two-week long literary party The Student gives you its last preview of the year. It’s definitely not too late to head down to Charlotte Square garden for some interesting talks, as this week is filled with a range of events suitable for everyone.


Monday 24th August

An extremely important part of the Fringe is the critics (ourself included) who review more or less every show on every stage throughout the city. This afternoon, Jackie McGlone is joined by Mark Fisher and Joyce McMillan to discuss whether the supposed decline of theatre criticism is indeed a reality. In the Garden Theatre, poets and translators meet up to give the audience a greater understanding of Lászlo Krasznahirkai, the winner of this year’s Man Booker International Prize. Finally, at 20.15, ‘Rebus is Back’ as Ian Rankin returns to the Book Fest to talk about his new short story collection, The Beat Goes On.

Other highlights include:
– 19.00: John Boyne: Bringing it All Back Home
– 19.15: Alison Light & Selena Todd: The Common Man and Woman Unearthed
– 20.45: Marina Warner & Kirsty Logan with Charlotte Higgins


Tuesday 25th August

Julian Barnes, the former Man Booker Prize winner, joins Tim Marlow in the Main Theatre to discuss his new book, Keeping An Eye Open, which deals with the fusion of art and novels. Later, Susana Moreira Marques and Raymond Tallis meet up to discuss the role of death and the meaning of existence, topics very much central to their new books. At 18.45, Stella Rimington, the former head of the MI5, talks about her new crime fiction novel, Close Call, which yet again features her British Intelligence Officer Liz Carlyle.

Other highlights include:
– 17.30: Carole Hillenbrand: Understanding Islam
– 19.00: Kevin Maher & Nell Zink: An Alternative Guide to Parenting
– 1915: Helen Lederer: Funny Novel from a Funny Woman
– 19.30: Gerald Russel & Tim Whitmarsh with Charlotte Higgins: Gods and Monsters: What are the Gods up to?


Wednesday 26th August

Greg Proops, the mind behind the podcast The Smartest Man in the World, visits the Book Fest to chat about his recently published compendium containing his insights on a huge variety of topics, The Smartest Book in the World. Then follows what for many will be a highlight of this years festival, namely the event featuring Val McDermid, the well-known Scottish writers, and Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland. They are there to discuss McDermid’s books, Splinter the Silence and Stranded. Finally, Reverend Richard Coles take to the stage to discuss his Fathomless Riches.

Other highlights include:
– 15.45: Charlotte Higgins & Jean Seaton: Is the BBC Worth Fighting For?
-19.30: Generation Games: Coming of Age: Tapping into the Energy of Youth
– 20.45: Doug Johnstone & Gunnar Staalesen: Crime Drama from Scotland and Scandinavia


Thursday 27th August

According to the Book Fest Programme, “if you only read one novel this year, make it The End of Days”, Jenny Erpenbeck’s latest novel. She is joined by Michal Faber to discuss her new book, and to shed light on the role of death in the fantastical story. If that wasn’t enough, Michael Faber actually returns a little later in the day to chat about his own book, The Book of Strange New Things, his first novel in six years. Åsne Seierstad, author of The Bookseller of Kabul, joins Alan Little to discuss her new work, One of Us, a study of the 2011 Norwegian terrorist attacks.

Other highlights include:
-15.15: John Gray: Land of the Not-So-Free
– 17.30: Mark Urban: Re-drawing the Military World Map
– 19.30: Carlos Gamerro, Edith Hall & Chigozie Obioma with Charlotte Higgins: Gods and Monsters: Where Tragedy and Satire Meet


Friday 28th August

This Friday the Book Fest takes a political turn with several events focusing on the latest General Election and world current affairs at large. At 15.15, Polly Toynbee and David Walker meet up with Ruth Wishart to discuss the claim that David Cameron is a more radical conservative than Margaret Thatcher ever was. At 17.00, we join Steve Bell, the Guardian cartoonist, to talk about his own coverage of the recent election, followed by an event entitled ‘The Female Gaze: Women Drawn to Extremism’, where Henrietta Bowden-Jones, Erin Saltman, Åsne Seierstad, and Lennie Goodings come together to discuss why young women decide to leave their families and enter war zones.

Other highlights include:
– 11.00: Martin Kemp: What Art Tells Us About Ourselves
– 13.00: Neill Cameron on Reading Manga: Reading Workshop
– 16.00: Anthony Downey: Art on the Attack
-21.45: Stuart David with Ian Rankin: Words and Music: Strut of the Indie Peacocks


Saturday 29th August

Alistair Moffat, award-winning writer and historian, enters the Baillie Gifford Main Theatre to chat about Scotland’s rich history, as told through his new work History of Scotland. In the evening, Alan Cumming joins Ian Rankin to talk about his new memoirs, Not My Father’s Son, a detailed account of his troubled upbringing. The final treat of the day comes in the shape of Irvine Welsh, the outrageously funny writers of fiction. He joins Viv Groskop in the Main Theatre to revisit some of his best-loved characters and talk about his new book, A Decent Ride.

Other highlights include:
– 11.45: Anne Enright: Families and Their Discontents
– 17.00: Caroline Lucas: The Green Machine
– 20.45: Ryan Gattis & Stik


Sunday 30th August

Gordon Brown enters the Gardens this Sunday to talk about a topic very close to his heart: Scotland. In his new book, My Scotland, he reflects upon the situation of Scotland after the referendum and the way forward. Later in the day, Hyeonseo Lee talks about he upbringing in North Korea, and the life on the “other side” having fled to China to escape the regime. Finally, get ready for a real feminist treat, as eleven authors, poets, activists, playwrights, and stand-up comics come together for an evening of song, storytelling, protests, and rants as all of them share with us why they call themselves feminists.

Other highlights include:
– 14.15: Lorenzo Amurri, Ida Hegazi Høyer & Evie Wyld: International Literature and European Understanding
– 17.45: Jean-Pierre Filiu & Martin Rowson: Taking a Strip Off Governments
– 18.45: Gordon Corera: Spies Like Them


Monday 31st August

Alex Salmond joins Paul Mason in the Main Theatre for a serious talk about whether Capitalism has had its day, and what alternatives are open to us in order to create a fairer society. Later in the day, Jerry Brannigan, John McShane, and David Alexander get together to chat about the poet Robert Burns and his relationship with Edinburgh. In the evening, Charles Fernyhough takes on the latest instalment of the National Conversation, namely a discussion on ‘The Science of Reading’ and the way our minds work when opening a new book. Finally, Jura Unbound invites you all to a final evening of music, drinks and entertainment, as the 2015 Edinburgh International Book Festival says its goodbyes.

Other highlights include:
– 14.15: Lynsey Addario & Christina Lamb: Facing the War on Terror
– 15.45: Innu Poetry from the Canadian Tundra
– 17.00 Caroline Criado-Perez: In Praise of Pioneering Women
– 17.30: Misha Glenny: Can Brazil be a True World Power?

By Lene Korseberg

Lene is former Culture Editor and Editor-in-Chief of The Student. She writes for Features and Culture.

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