Upcoming: the Edinburgh International Book Festival reveals programme
The Edinburgh International Book Festival, the world’s largest literary fest, today revealed details of their 2014 programme for this summer’s festival, which takes place, as always, in the handsome Georgian surrounds of Charlotte Square in Edinburgh’s historic New Town from Saturday 9th to Monday 25 August, featuring some nine hundred participants from forty seven countries. Understandably the comickers can’t command quite such a spectacularly huge slice of the pie as we did last August (with a massive programme which was essentially a mini festival within the festival), but I am pleased to see that the Book Fest team are building on last year’s Stripped which I believe brought in comics readers to the festival who hadn’t been before (and better yet many wanted to explore the huge array of other events in the festival) as well as attracting regular festival goers who were new to the medium.
I’m also delighted to note that the Stripped banner has been kept and the comic-related events are all tagged with the Stripped name, so it’s easy to pick them out from the packed programme. And oh boy, there are some great ones in there, not least of which has to be Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O’Malley on Sunday 17th. The Stripped segment also includes a very welcome return for Mary and Bryan Talbot, this time joined by local artist Kate Charlesworth to discuss their excellent Sally Heathcote, Sufragette (see here for a guest Commentary by Mary and Kate on Sally), the great Pat Mills returns to the Book Festival, giving one of the festival’s Reading Workshops on a theme of WWI in comics. Pat also joins Denise Mina, Hannah Berry, Adam Murphy and Will Morris for part one of IDP2043, where “One year on from our Stripped programme, which celebrated graphic novels and comics, we’ve been working with Freight Books to merge forms and create our own vision of Scotland 30 years on.” A second part of this same discussion takes place later that evening (Saturday 23rd) with Denise being joined by Barroux, Kate Charlesworth, Dan McDaid, Mary Talbot and Irvine Welsh to discuss the resulting graphic novel.
(Bryan and Mary Talbot in conversation with Stuart Kelly at the EIBF, pic from my Flickr)
On Saturday 9th, appropriately the 100th birthday of Tove Jannson the acclaimed creator Debi Gliori will discuss the World of Tove Jannson – nice to know Moomins will be loose in Festival time Edinburgh! Katie Green and Matilda Tristram will be talking about their graphic memoirs, Katie’s Lighter Than My Shadow dealing with her eating disorders and Matilda’s Probably Nothing deals with a troubled pregnancy (see here for Katie’s guest Commentary on Lighter Than My Shadow). Younger readers can enjoy Steven Butler on the Beano’s perennial bad boy, Dennis the Menace, while Nick Sharatt will lead a draw-along, the one and only Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve will discuss their latest work (while we all wait to marvel at Sarah’s latest headwear, no doubt), and Adam Murphy and Neill Cameron will lead a couple of Phoenix Comic workshops (and there is a Phoenix Comic Fun event afterwards too!). Barroux returns for a second visit, this time talking with acclaimed creator Michael Morpurgo about his graphic novel Line of Fire, based on the diary kept by a WWI French soldier.
(Nick Hayes (left) with William Goldsmith at the 2011 EIBF, pic from my Flickr)
Sticking with the WWI in comics theme, Charlie Adlard and Robbie Morrison will be in town to discuss their graphic novel White Death, while later the same evening (Sunday 17th), Charlie will be discussing Dead Cool Comics and the phenomenon that The Walking Dead has now become. Paul Gravett and John Dunning will be discussing the fantastic new British Library exhibition Comics Unmasked (reviewed here by James) and putting the medium into cultural context, while Nick Hayes returns for a second festival visit (following his first one for Rhyme of the Modern Mariner) for his new work, talking with the excellent German comics creator Reinhard Kleist. Mike Carey will join Isabel Greenberg to discuss their respective comics works. And not strictly comics, but since it celebrates beautiful picture books I have to mention an even on illustrating children’s books for the Kate Greenaway Medal.
(Pat Mills at the 2011 EIBF, pic from my Flickr)
Away from the comics-oriented works those of us who love the fanastic genres can rejoice in a return visit from Lauren Beukes (whose new book I am eager to get my pws on – and if you haven’t read her previous novel The Shining Girls, you have missed out). I’ve been hoping to see the brilliant novelist and comics creator Mike Carey at the Book Festival for several years, and at last this year he is not only here, he has two events, the aforementioned Stripped one wearing his comic hat and another wearing his prose cravat, talking with the brilliant Ken MacLeod. Nick Harkaway is paying a visit – his Angelmaker and Tigerman are absolutely wonderful cross-genre reads, highly recommended (see here for my recent review of Tigerman). Marcus Sedgwick will b talking about Mervyn Peake’s fascinating classic Gormenghast and I am especially pleased to see an American author whose work I have enjoyed for years paying his first visit, Jeff VanderMeer, talking with Charlie Fletcher (you can read a guest Commentary by Jeff discussing his new Southern Reach trilogy here on the blog). And there is the little matter of a certain George RR Martin attending – I see he has two events, one focused more on adapting his Game of Thrones into TV, one more on the original writing, I won’t be surprised if both sell out.
(an Iain Banks themed deckchair to rest your literary behind on while relaxing at the EIBF, pic from my Flickr)
Of course this is only a slice of what’s going on – two solid weeks with literally hundreds of authors and events for all ages, it’s a book-lover’s paradise. I’m hoping to bring you some of my usual reports on some of the events come August and of course we’ll try and keep you up to date with any news between now and the Festival. Meantime the programme can be searched online (or download a PDF) and the box office opens on Tuesday 24th June.