Bernie Sanders might not have won the Democratic nomination for the 2016 Presidential Election, but he won the support of millions of Americans in a campaign unlike any you’ve seen before. He joined Hay Festival to deliver the Eric Hobsbawm Lecture, with not only a full audience, but another tent on site filled to capacity watching it being livestreamed in. Continue reading
Hay Festival managed to make an already brilliant line-up even better on the day, with the addition of Chris Riddell’s live-drawing prowess, and a guest reading from Amanda Palmer. Quite the way to bring the myths to life.
It’s quite simple: Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology looks at exactly that. Stephen Fry begins the event by noting he “almost had my bowels fall out” when he heard about the book. He was working on a similar title on Greek Mythology and feared a series was on hand – luckily, that’s not the case, and bowels remain firmly in tact. Continue reading
Written for The Dangerous Women Project in 2016.
Every November, Scotland gets a little bookier than usual thanks to Book Week Scotland, but for this year, it also got a little dangerous. Bringing together a group of brilliant women to discuss their lives as women in public, the working world and literature sector, it was an evening set to learn and inspire. Continue reading
A punk and a gentleman | With R&B punk band Dr Feelgood returning to public consciousness thanks to the story of co-founder Wilko Johnson’s battle with cancer, writer Zoë Howe believes it’s a good time for recognition to be given to the band’s other co-founder who died aged 41. In Lee Brilleaux: Rock’n’Roll Gentleman, she argues for a long overdue appreciation of his legacy. Continue reading
The last policeman on the moon | ‘Living on the moon? What were we thinking’ The lunar colony is winding down and the last cop’s beat is getting steadily smaller. In the plaintive, pared-back style of his popular Guardian cartoons, Tom Gauld’s new graphic novel Mooncop is a story that beautifully captures the realities facing a dying community.
“I’d been thinking of doing a story set on the moon.”
Tom begins by showing two alphabets he worked on, the wonderful future and the dreadful future. In fiction people either picture the future as a utopia, or a dystopia. The wonderful future A-Z includes aerial cities, bionic limbs, droid medics, food for all, jetpacks, kindly aliens, quantum computers, robot servants, VR and xeno pets. The not so wonderful future atomic wasteland, cannibal gangs, evil corporations, giant worms, killbots, pollution, sinister new religions, weaponised animals.
The point? Well, his is neither, really. Continue reading
Defying the Doctors | According to the medics, Wilko Johnson should be nowhere near Charlotte Square, having been given ten months to live back in 2013. The former cohort of Ian Dury and founder of Dr Feelgood tells of his life with and without cancer in his inspirational memoir Don’t You Leave Me Here. With Vic Galloway, he discusses a future that he never thought he’d get to experience.
“There was every reason to get passionate.”
“It’s the first book I’ve ever written,” says Wilko on adding ‘author’ to his endless CV. “Once I got into it, you think, “Yeah, I’m an author!”
Almost forensically, the pair detail Wilko’s childhood in Canvey Island, his hatred of his father and how he was often made to say things like ‘Battle of Hastings’ in front of the class to show what happens when you drop letters. Continue reading
Celebrating our buildings book by book | For the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, we celebrate the brave and bold ways in which publishers are bringing innovative design and Scotland’s architectural heritage to new audiences. James Crawford of Historic Environment Scotland and Adrian Searle of Freight Books present their work and discuss the ways in which design-led books and publishing contribute to the reading experience.
“Design is a way of levelling the playing field.”
“You can’t not communicate,” says Adrian. It’s one of the most important things you have to bear in mind. Through design “we’re saying something about the book and about ourselves as publishers.” Continue reading