August, you’re great. Between fun jobs and finally finishing my dissertation, I can now shift my focus onto the best fortnight of the year for booky people: Edinburgh Book Festival. I live two tram stops from the site, and plan on pretty much living there. As part of their more international view, they’ve got Trading Stories:
Carried from culture to culture, across languages, over national borders and down the generations, we believe that stories are vehicles that carry powerful, unforgettable ideas. This year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival has gone the extra mile to bring tales from the furthest corners of the globe. Get an insider’s view into the vibrant scene of Mexican writing with award-winning artist Gabriel Orozco, meet three extraordinary and inspiring women from the Innu tribe of the Canadian Tundra…
Check out all the Trading Stories events over here; it’s kind of ridiculous how many excellent ones there are. My picks (as a reason to squeeze more recommendations in, but I still ended up cutting loads, sigh):
- Kirstin Innes & Melinda Nadj Abonji – 15th, 8.45pm.
- Joanne Harris – 16th, 5.30pm.
- Mary Costello & Han King – 16th, 7pm.
- Mexican Writing, An Insider’s View with Gabriel Orozco: Fiction – 17th, 7.15pm.
- Marina Warner – 25th, 3.45pm.
There’s also a big focus on mental health (I plan on attending as many of these as possible). I think the one I’m saddest about missing is Paul Merton on this topic, but I might hang around and see if any tickets have been returned on the day. Anyway, beyond my rambling, I decided to do my latest picks of must-sees, since it’s just around the corner…
Cédric Villani – Taking Maths into the Mainstream – 15th, 2pm.
Maths does not sound fun. School made people hate maths – just take one look at the SQA’s latest exam gaff and it’s clear to see maths isn’t really getting a better rep at the moment. I for some reason quite liked maths, so when someone is dubbed a ‘rock-star mathematician’, consider me intrigued. I think this will be along the line of James Kakalios’ The Science of Superheroes, where someone takes a subject that people are often put off by, but make it really interesting to the masses. We shall see!
Tim Clare & Colin MacIntyre – Moving into the Fiction Factory – 16th, 8.45pm.
To cut to the chase, Tim Clare’s The Honours is one of my favourite books out this year. Delphine is a confident and adventurous little girl, stubborn, and really determined. She’s the new Hermione or Matilda, those younger characters who you instantly fall behind. Teaming this with Colin MacIntyre and comparing their different backgrounds before moving into the field just sounds like good fun all round.
Stepping Away From the Edge – The Road to Better Mental Health – 18th, 7.30pm.
Already mentioned the mental health segment of the festival. For one, it’s an extremely important conversation and I’m really pleased that the festival are deciding to host it across many events. A quarter of the population experience some mental health problem, and the guests here will be talking about several experiences, also detailed in things like Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive. They’ll also be hosting a clinic after for anyone with a particular question, which I think adds particular merit to this thread of the festival, giving a platform for people who don’t know quite what to do or who to talk to.
Kirsty Logan & Jón Kalman Stefánsson – Vivid Tales from the Wilderness – 18th, 10.15am.
Further pushing the international feel of the festival, Scotland’s own Kirsty Logan will be discussing The Gracekeepers, a gorgeous fairy tale that features a travelling circus on a flooded world; she’ll be joined by Jón Kalman Stefánsson, Icelandic author to be translated, discussing The Heart of Man. I highly recommend hearing this from two different perspectives and cultures – very interesting!
Charles Fernyhough – The Science of Reading – 31st, 7.30pm.
Consider me intrigued by the scientific impact of reading. It just seems a good way to top off the festival, and particularly interesting as an avid reader and someone interested in working in publishing. The guests have a body of work and research spanning teen development and how teenage brains process information/why reading is so vital to it, the human and sociological impacts of reading and not being able to read, how that changes lives. There’s a whole host of topics up for discussion, and it’s going to be something quite different.
Hopefully see a lot of people there! What events are you most looking forward to?