Overview of Birlinn’s authors at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

The Edinburgh International Book Festival kicks of on the 10th of this month, and we have one or two authors appearing this year and we wanted to tell you a bit about their events. The festival starts off with a very special event …

10 August: Scottish Life and Society

2013 sees the publication of the final installment of the 14 volume Scottish Compendium of Ethnology, a stunning insight into Scottish society which details the growth of a nation from its earliest beginnings through to the agricultural and industrial ages, capturing our everyday working, home and cultural lives. Historian Ted Cowan is joined by Dr Margaret A Mackay, former director of the European Ethnological Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh to discuss the impact this project has in redefining our understanding of contemporary Scotland.

All Through August: Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith

The world’s favourite, Alexander McCall Smith, has a very busy August ahead of him, with not one but four events at Charlotte square:

10, 14  & 16 August: MEET SCOTLAND’S FAVOURITE STORYTELLER

Witty, warm and irrepressibly charming, Alexander McCall Smith weaves stories that give pleasure to countless thousands of readers. From his Mma Ramotswe stories set in Botswana to his much-loved Scotland Street tales, via a heart-warming new set of tales based on a train journey in which he struck up conversation with strangers, McCall Smith takes the stage to escort us on a laughter-filled journey through his latest books.

14 August: FIFTEEN YEARS OF MMA RAMOTSWE

The Number 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency has grown to become one of the most important Scottish literary creations of our times, turning its author Alexander McCall Smith into one of the best-known Scots in the world. Today we celebrate 15 wonderful years of Mma Ramotswe and her friends, with a rambunctious event and a host of special guests, in a birthday party that promises to raise the roof.

13 August: WE ARE DETECTIVE (ages 7 and up)

Well before Precious Ramotswe founded her Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency, she was already solving mysteries from the age of eight. Here, in this new enchanting tale for children, Precious and the Mystery of Meerkat Hill, we see how the young Precious became the crafty and intuitive private investigator we all know and love. The perfect event for budding private investigators – young and old.

And if you are fed up with books then why not check out:  The Okavango Macbeth at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. 12th-17th August 2013. Book now at Venue box office or Fringe box office or 0131 220 5911.

12 August: MEG BATEMAN, PETER MACKAY & CARLES TORNER

Meg BatemanGaelic and Catalan cultures share much in common; they are two vibrant, dynamic cultures built on history and language. In this special event Meg Bateman, whose new poetry collection is Transparencies, joins Mallorcan Josep Lluis-Aguilo, editor, academic and poet Peter Mackay and Catalan writer and poet Carles Torner, who features in the new anthology Six Catalan Poets. In Catalan, Gaelic and English. Chaired by Niall O’Gallagher.

13 August: SCOTLAND IN STITCHES

Scotland’s Tapestry is a project which aims to illustrate key moments in the nation’s history. Conceived by Alexander McCall Smith, the tapestry’s story has been written and designed by author Alistair Moffat and artist Andrew Crummy and thousands of volunteer stitchers will create the finished piece. In this event Scottish historian Allan Burnett and Dorie Wilkie explore how the tapestry can be used as inspiration for all kinds of projects at home or in the classroom to aid learning.

14 August: PINK! WITH LYNNE RICKARDS

Lynne RickardsLynne Rickards’ picture book Pink!, about a little penguin called Patrick has recently been turned into a musical. Come and hear about Patrick, meet him and some of his penguin friends and hear some of the wonderful songs from the show.

14 August: THE TOBERMORY CAT WITH DEBI GLIORI

Debi Gliori In the village of Tobermory, on the Scottish island of Mull, lives a very special ginger cat – he’s the Tobermory Cat. Debi Gliori’s latest picture book is a visual delight and a real treat to read. Based on a true life cat, Debi spins us off on a cat-tastic adventure. Hear about the inspiration for the story and how Debi captured the magic of the Isle of Mull in her evocative illustrations.

14 August: RITA MONALDI & FRANCESCO SORTI

Rita Monaldi & Francesco Sorti Rita Monaldi and Francesco Sorti hit the jackpot with Imprimatur and Secretum, their historical novels built around the real-life character of Atto Melani. A 17th century castrato opera singer, Melani also worked as a diplomat and a spy. In his latest adventure, Veritas, he finds himself in Vienna at the heart of a baroque spy drama, racing to avert all-out war across Europe.

15 August: MAPPING THE NATION

The reproduction of Bartholomew Survey Atlas of Scotland, 1912 is the final chapter in a remarkable project which has captured how Scotland has been mapped in each century beginning with The Blaeu Atlas in the 1600. Join the distinguished panel, including the co-authors of Scotland: Mapping the Nation– Christopher Fleet, Map Curator at the National Library of Scotland, and Charlie Withers, Professor of Historical Geography at the University of Edinburgh – to hear how we leave indelible traces on the land.

15 August: GAVIN BOWD

Gavin BowdPoet, fiction writer, journalist and translator, Gavin Bowd dipped his toes into a murky but important element of Scotland’s heritage: its extreme right wing past. In the early parts of the 20th century, some fascistic ideals found support in Scottish society, so when Rudolf Hess flew here in 1941, it wasn’t simply to commune with his enemy. He writes about all this in the uncomfortable but essential Fascist Scotland

15 August: T C SMOUT & MAIRI STEWART: THE WINDING STORY OF THE FIRTH OF FORTH

Christopher SmoutThe Firth of Forth is the new book by Scotland’s Historiographer Royal, Christopher Smout, and the environmental historian Mairi Stewart. It paints a portrait of one of the country’s major bodies of water and analyses human interaction with the environment over thousands of years. How far have people affected the Forth’s wildlife and how has the environment determined human civilisation in the area?

15 August: ALISTAIR MOFFAT & JAMES NAUGHTIE: WHAT MAKES SCOTLAND THE BEST?

Alistair MoffatIf there’s one man who typifies Scotland’s gallus pride in its heritage and landscape it is Alistair Moffat, the historian and cultural impresario who once ran Edinburgh’s Fringe. He has written a beguiling book about what he describes as Britain’s Last Frontier: the line which separates the highlands from the lowlands. Moffat is joined by broadcaster James Naughtie.

15 August: IAN FRASER & RAY PERMAN: CRISIS AT SCOTLAND’S BIGGEST BANKS

Ian FraserChaos at the Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS during the global financial meltdown proved that even the most powerful institutions can collapse if they’re not run properly. Financial journalist Ian Fraser has written Shredded, a scorching attack on the forces behind the RBS crisis, while Ray Perman’s Hubris laments the terrible problems at HBOS. Both authors discuss how such calamities can be avoided in the future. Chaired by Brian Taylor.

15 August: FIRST WORLD WAR SCOTTISH TALES OF ADVENTURE WITH ALLAN BURNETT

Allan BurnettAllan Burnett is a bestselling writer and historian and his Scottish Tales of Adventure is a gripping collection of 8 true-life tales from the battlefields of the First World War. These stories of excitement, heartache, heroism and victory from the Western Front to Gallipoli and Africa will leave you moved and inspired.

15 & 19 August: LIZ LOCHHEAD: 30 YEARS OF SCOTTISH CULTURE

Liz LochheadA poet, a playwright and a translator, Liz Lochhead has been an inspirational force in Scottish culture for many years. Indeed, she appeared with Emma Tennant at the very first Book Festival in 1983 and has appeared every year bar one since then.

16 August: MICHAEL PEDERSEN & LUKE WRIGHT: POEMS LIKE POINTING FINGERS

Michael Pedersen A new breed of poets is storming the spoken word scene and entertaining a generation for which Big Brother is a reality TV show as well as an Orwellian literary invention. Michael Pedersen, co-organiser of Edinburgh live poetry night Neu! Reekie! reads from Play with Me, while Essex-born Luke Wright, whose 5-star performances have wowed Fringe-goers, performs from his joyful new tome, Mondeo Man.

16 August: NEIL FORSYTH: HOW BOB SERVANT HAD THE LAST LAUGH ON SPAM EMAILERS

Neil ForsythOn the back of the recent Bob Servant BBC series, this event with creator Neil Forsyth will be heavily anticipated. For the uninitiated, Bob is a sixty-something, semi-retired Dundonian who has undertaken a campaign of fair play by outwitting and wrong-footing email spammers. Bone up on the original book, Delete This at Your Peril, and keep your firewall up at all times.

17 August: DAVID ASHTON: ANARCHY IN EDINBURGH? CALL FOR INSPECTOR MCLEVY

David AshtonWell known to Scottish audiences for his on-screen performances (most recently in The Last King of Scotland), David Ashton turned his hand to writing in 1984. These days, Ashton’s Inspector McLevy series is becoming as well-known and loved as his acting. Today he introduces the latest McLevy adventure, Nor Will He Sleep, featuring unruly student gangs on the streets of Edinburgh in 1887.

17 August: GILLIAN GALBRAITH & ANTTI TUOMAINEN: LIGHTING UP TWO CITIES

Gillian GalbraithSet in contemporary Edinburgh, DS Alice Rice returns to investigate seemingly motiveless crimes in The Road to Hell, Gillian Galbraith’s fifth book in her mystery series. In Antti Tuomainen’s The Healer, Helsinki battles a ruthless climate catastrophe as struggling poet Tapani searches for his missing wife. Rooted in time and place, both novels cast new light and fresh perspectives on two iconic cities.

14, 15 & 16 August: SARA SHERIDAN: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF MISS MARPLE AND HERCULE POIROT

Sara SheridanWith his Grantchester Mysteries, James Runcie has created Sidney Chambers, a character not unlike his own father, and turns him into beguiling fiction every bit as friendly as the author himself. Join him to hear about Sidney Chambers and the Perils of the Night. Sara Sheridan has recently turned her considerable literary talents to the mystery genre and she unveils book two in her Mirabelle Bevan mystery series, London Calling.

21 August: TAM DALYELL: THIRTY YEARS OF POLITICS IN SCOTLAND

Tam DalyellAs part of the Book Festival’s 30th anniversary celebrations, the famously thrawn and deliciously dogged political leviathan Tam Dalyell looks back at three decades (and then some) of life in Scotland and Britain. In conversation with former Book Festival director Faith Liddell, Dalyell discusses Scotland’s journey towards devolution, bringing his own forthright views to bear on the country’s political future.

20 August: VIC GALLOWAY: THE CENTRE OF FIFE’S MUSIC UNIVERSE

Vic Galloway The East Neuk of Fife is the unlikely locale for some of Scottish contemporary music’s most innovative creators. The Fence Collective has been home to the likes of KT Tunstall, the Beta Band, James Yorkston and King Creosote. As a childhood pal of several Fence members, Radio Scotland’s Vic Galloway is in the ideal place to tell the story with anecdotes and insight. His brilliant book Songs In The Key Of Fife is the result.

24 August: ANDREW GREIG WITH RACHEL NEWTON: RE-IMAGINING THE BORDER BALLADS

Andrew GreigStirling-born writer and poet Andrew Greig returns with a new publication inspired by the history and landscape of Scotland. Fair Helen is a retelling of a 16th century Border Ballad, ‘Fair Helen of Kirkconnel Lea’. Inspired by the tradition of sung narrative ballads, Greig is joined by acclaimed musician Rachel Newton, who performs several songs and provides fiddle accompaniment to Greig’s reading from his new novel.

25 August: BLUEPRINT DEBATE: FOOD

HORSEMEAT: CHEAP FOOD BUT AT WHAT COST?

Jo MacsweenAfter traces of horse DNA were found in supermarket ready meals earlier this year, shoppers’ habits appear to be changing. With increasing rates of obesity amongst adults and children, is now the time for a revolutionary rethink of food’s production and supply chains? And what would be the implications for food prices? Haggis Bible creator Jo Macsween and Guardian journalist Steven Poole explain how we can feed the nation. Chaired by Mary Contini.

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