Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Edinburgh Book Festival

If I ever stop sneezing and coughing long enough to get up from my sickbed and pack, I'll be off to Edinburgh on Friday for the Book Festival. My event is on Saturday, by which time I hope to have a voice. I've even made a PowerPoint presentation.

But what I'm really looking forward to is other people's events. On Friday night we are going to the London Review of Books on "The Future of the Book" -  an old warhorse which has gained some shiny new e-spurs recently.

And Saturday pm there's James Shapiro talking about his latest Shakespeare book, Contested Will. His previous book, 1599, was absolutely excellent, so I'm hopeful. There's a clash with my timings which means I can't get to Nicola Morgan's session but I hope to meet her in the Yurt. Ah, the Yurt! Worthy of a whole post in its own right.

It's a tent where writers, their partners and publicists can drink coffee or beer or whisky and eat sandwiches or buns and I am relying on it for Saturday sustenance. But it is so much more than a tent - more of a Bedouin mirage in the middle of Charlotte Square. It's one of the few places in the world where you feel you are living the writer's life that non-writers believe goes on every day.

In the evening it's Michelle Lovric and Katie Hickman on "Fictionalising Venice" - something I have been known to do myself from time to time. I don't know Katie Hickman's book but have read Michelle's absolutely remarkable The Book of Human Skin.

I'm sure there are all sorts of other delights I'll be missing but after two nights in an Edinburgh hotel, we're decamping to Linda Strachan's house. Then home via York, where we'll visit Shandy Hall. Now there was a writer whose festival sessions I'd have paid good money to attend.

And I think Laurence Sterne would have felt right at home in that yurt.


Saviour Pirotta said...

That yurt! Once entered. never forgotten! I still ate cake two years ago when I did a talk at the festival. There was chocolate cake galore in the buffet, and whisky. Whisky! In the middle of the day. I remember seeing John Prescott tucking in with relish. Mind you, he got some evil glares from other writers because he insisted on conducting an interview in the section marked 'Silence! For writers waiting to go on.' The lout!

Lucy Coats said...

I can't wait for the Yurt. But if I have whisky in the middle of the day, I shall be drunk for the kids and that would never do. Shall save it up for the evenings. Do hope you are free of sneezles by Friday.

Anonymous said...

So maybe it wasn't apple juice that author carried with him to the photocall?

Nicola Morgan said...

Lucy - yep, you save it up! Mwah!

MAry - lovely to see you today and thank you for my crabbit mat! I have just bought a copy of Troubadour and will be carrying it for your signature if we meet up by accident, as I'm sure we will.

Linda Strachan said...

Really enjoyed your event today, Mary. The powerpoint pix and all the fascinating info on your Stravaganza series was excellent! See you tomorrow.

Mary Hoffman said...

Oh, Nicola and Linda, I have only just found these comments as I had only the iPhone with me.

So glad you liked the mat, Nicola, and the talk, Linda. It was lovely to see you both. That yurt feels like home now.

So sorry I missed signing Troubadour for Nicola - we'll do it one day!

michelle lovric said...

Really enjoyed your event too, Mary. You appeared entirely desneezled, but I know you weren't feeling wonderful, so brava! x 3 for doing it, doing it so gracefully, and for kindly staying up late to come to my event too.

Mary Hoffman said...

I am only just now feeling better after 15 days.

But I was so grateful to get through without sneezing or coughing and having to run out of my own event!

And I wouldn't have missed Michelle's for anything - it was fascinating in so many ways!