Back from Edinburgh
August 30, 2007, 11:44 am
Filed under: EtS Events

I don’t know much about book festivals, but you don’t have to know much to be knocked out by the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which closed on Monday night. I’d been there before a few years ago, for an on-stage interview with Jim Lovelock that was a sold-out success, and this time I was there to plug my own book, Eating the Sun, at two events. But the thing that struck me, both times, was the enthusiasm of both organisers and punters, the stunning number of people and topics that they manage to get into 17 days (700 events, 650 authors, pdf programme) – and the stamina that those 17 days must require. Organiser Catherine Lockerbie, who has that stamina in spades, found time to give the Daily Telegraph a taste of what the weeks are like.

Good things: endlessly friendly and helpful staff; generous sponsorship in kind (and doubtless otherwise) from Highland Park, which may not be “the best spirit in the world” (among other things, forget not the Ott) but which is undeniably wonderful; a terrific bookshop; excellent chairs at the events who knew their stuff and worked hard to do their best by the speakers and by the audience; Carol Ann Duffy’s closing poetry recital; my co-presenters Martyn Amos and Nick Harberd; bumping into Ken Macleod (great short story published in Nature|recent Nature feature, both subscribers only); speaking in the Spiegeltent, which had a really great vibe to it – much more Moulin Rouge than the venue for your average talk on “The future of nature”; pretty much everything else.

Bad things: not being able to go to all of it; one slightly underlit lectern; err … that’s it.

Cross posted at his kind invitation to Richard Charkin’s CharkinBlog

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