#edbookfest: Isla Fisher: “I want everyone to love reading as much as I do.”

Isla Fisher | Hollywood actor Isla Fisher has played many roles over the years, from a bonkers bridesmaid in Wedding Crashers to the poster girl for consumerism in Confessions of a Shopaholic. But her favourite role has been being a mum and making up stories at bedtime for her three kids every night since they were born. Now all can share these funny, anarchic and charming tales of Marge, a very unusual babysitter. Join Isla to hear all about the latest book in her series, Marge and the Great Train Rescue. Continue reading

#edbookfest: Tanya Landman & Reginald D Hunter: “What matters is the story and representation.”

Little white lies | Renowned for her thought-provoking novels set in 19th century America, including her latest Passing for White, the Carnegie Medal-winning Tanya Landman takes to the stage with American stand-up comedian Reginald D Hunter and chair Daniel Hahn for a conversation about the long shadow slavery still casts over the USA. Why is it so hard for people to talk about race, and what are the implications for writers and comedians who try to tackle the subject? Continue reading

#edbookfest: The Good Immigrant: “It’s not a marketing trend, it’s our fucking lives.”

Unwelcome welcome | It’s tough to be an immigrant, even in a multicultural melting pot. In The Good Immigrant, Bristol-based novelist and diversity activist Nikesh Shukla brings together 21 writers to explore why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be mixed race. He was joined by fellow contributors Coco Khan and Miss L, and chair Daniel Hahn, to ask how do you fit into the world if you feel unwelcome in the place you call home?

“We are constantly having to justify our place at the table.”
“I thought it would sell 1,000 copies… after two years,” laughs Nikesh, on the success of The Good Immigrant, whose supporters include Malorie Blackman, Zadie Smith and JK Rowling, to skim a huge and growing list. Continue reading

#edbookfest: Meena Kandasamy & Helen McClory: “The whole spectrum of the female experience needs to be in fiction.”

Wells of loneliness | Indian poet, novelist, activist and author of The Gypsy Goddess Meena Kandasamy has won many plaudits for her writing. She’s joined the book festival with When I Hit You, a provocative examination of an abusive marriage. Joining her is Saltire First Book Award-winner Helen McClory, whose Flesh of the Peach describes an artist’s American road trip after her mother’s death. Explore the wilder shores of love and loss with these two rising stars of fiction, alongside chair Lee Randall.

“It’s constant victim-blaming.”
Both Meena and Helen’s books deal with women who don’t conform; they transform trouble to art. “I wanted to claim the story about being a victim of violence,” explains Meena. “It’s a widespread phenomenon in India.” Continue reading

#edbookfest: Judy Murray: “When I leave the sport, I can’t take it with me.”

judyHolding court | An accomplished tennis player herself, Judy Murray has not only raised two top-class players of the modern men’s game (Andy and Jamie) but is doing everything in her power to lend a hand to girls who have ambitions in the sport. All this success hasn’t come easily, it’s been set against a backdrop of struggle and loss and today Murray talks about the highs and lows of her incredible journey laid out in her book, Knowing the Score.

“Let kids be kids, let them play a game.”
In Rush Wishart’s introduction, she notes that Judy’s mantra has always been “If you can see it, you can be it.” Judy is a woman full of ambition who has set goals, firmly kept them in her sights even when the odds were against her, and worked hard to get there. Across an hour of charm and fun, she takes an audience through exactly how she managed it. Continue reading

#edbookfest: Rachel McCrum & Miriam Nash: “Poetry is happening everywhere all the time.”

the first blastHeavenly voices | Miriam Nash grew up on the Isle of Erraid (made famous by the lighthouse Stevensons) and voices of the island echo through All the Prayers in the House. Fans of popular poet and performer Rachel McCrum (formerly one half of spoken word duo Rally & Broad) will relish her bitingly satirical The First Blast to Awaken Women Degenerate. At the Edinburgh International Book Festival, we meet two debut poets, chaired by Kirsty Logan.

“I found [Gigi Hadid’s left elbow] so defiant and effective.”
Rachel McCrum begins the evening by reading a selection of her poems including Broad and Problems to Sharpen the Young, #1. Continue reading

#edbookfest: Teju Cole: “I am not here to explain myself to the centre. I am here to assert my experience of life.”

Seeing is believing | Teju Cole is an artist who works with his eyes open and his shoes on. His writing is legendary; his photography about to become just as important. The America-born Nigerian author of the multi award-winning novel Open City makes a welcome return to the Book Festival with Blind Spot, a brilliant new work about reading and writing, seeing and snapping. He talks to Elizabeth Reeder.

“Some other energy, some other charge happens.”
Teju begins the event by presenting a snapshot of Blind Spot: seven photos that travel various parts of the globe with his accompanying text, plucked from the book in front of him. Continue reading