The Write Stuff: Scots Whay Hae!’s Top 10 Picks Of The Edinburgh International Book Festival 2022…
This year’s Edinburgh Book Festival takes place between 13–29 August, and will be a hybrid festival of live and online events, with over 550 writers taking part from home and abroad.
The centre of it all will be the Book Festival's new-(ish) home at Edinburgh College of Art near the University of Edinburgh’s Lauriston Campus, after making the move last year from New Town to Old following many happy festivals at Charlotte Square Gardens.
For books lovers the EIBF is a highlight of the year, and 2022 looks like it will be no different. You can find all the details of who, what, when, and where at edbookfest.co.uk, or download the programme here, but, with so many great events to choose from, here is Scots Whay Hae!'s guide to 10 things to see at this year’s festival.
Nothing but the Poem with Samuel Tongue: The Poetry of Andrés N Ordorica
Sat 13 Aug 15:00 - 16:00 Castle View Studio
Andrés N Ordorica’s debut collection, At Least This I Know, announced a vibrant and vital new voice to Scottish literature. Ordorica’s poems are inquiries into, and observations on, those things which are central to his life and identity, and his search for community. Sensual, sensitive, witty, and warm, this is writing which makes you understand the world, and yourself, a little better.
Andrés will be in conversation with fellow poet Samuel Tongue to examine the themes and ideas that he explores in his poetry.
David Keenan: Nothing is Real in Airdrie
Sat 13 Aug 20:30 - 21:30 Wee Red Bar
David Keenan’s new novel Industry of Magic and Light is set in the same illusory Airdrie as his cult classic This Is Memorial Device, to which it is the prequel. Teddy Ohm is part of a group who run their own psychedelic lightshow, creating ‘events’ which gain local legendary status, with some believing them to have supernatural consequences.
Described as “part oral history - part occult detective novel”, Keenan once again proves that there is no one quite like him writing today, and few can talk about their own work as engagingly as he does.
Sarah Smith: Hear No Evil
Sun 14 Aug 13:00 - 14:00 Baillie Gifford Sculpture Court
One of three major performances this year looking at today’s Scotland through the lens of its past, present and future,
Hear No Evil is based on the acclaimed debut novel of the same name by Sarah Smith. The production uses sign language, image and performance to tell the story of Jean Campbell, a deaf woman in Glasgow, who in 1817 was accused of murder when her child fell from her shoulders and drowned in the River Clyde.
The story is based on a landmark case in Scottish legal history, and this promises to be a very special adaptation.
Olga Wojtas: Murder, Martial Arts and Macbeth
Tue 16 Aug 15:30 - 16:30 Wee Red Bar
“Never underestimate a librarian!” In Olga Wojtas’ Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Weird Sisters, the latest in her time-travelling, crime series, Shona McMonagle is this time sent to Medieval Scotland to meet The Macbeths and friends, the titular Weird Sisters, and Frank the Cat. It’s another literary and laugh-out-loud funny novel from Olga Wojtas who has, in only three books, created a series which has garnered committed fans who are always desperate for Miss Blaine’s Prefect’s next adventure.
Olga will be in conversation with Jenny Brown.
Jenni Fagan: 'Geillis Duncan Has a Broomstick’
Thu 18 Aug 16:00 - 17:00 Baillie Gifford Sculpture Court
Jenni Fagan’s novella Hex (part of Polygon’s ‘Darkland Tales’ series) is based on the true story of Geillis Duncan who was one of the first women accused in the North Berwick Witch Trials. Fagan gives the story an extra supernatural twist which makes it an interesting companion piece to her novel Luckenbooth as they share a sense of the uncanny and play with space, place, and time. Hex is an exceptional example of how to tell a story and it will be fascinating to hear Jenni Fagan discuss it.
This event will be chaired by Sally Magnusson.
Graeme Macrae Burnet: In GMB We Trust
Fri 19 Aug 13:00 - 14:00 Baillie Gifford Sculpture Court
Graeme Macrae Burnet’s latest novel Case Study, examines ideas about truth, reality, identity, and so much more. Based around a series of notebooks which were sent, unsolicited, to a certain ‘GMB’ to aid in his research on the “[…] forgotten 1960s psychotherapist Collins Braithwaite”, it’s a literary and psychological mystery that examines the relationship between patient and therapist. It also confirms what regular readers already know - that Graeme Macrae Burnet is a very special writer who delights and challenges readers as few others can.
Graeme will be in conversation with Jenny Niven.
Chitra Ramaswamy: Homelands
Sun 21 Aug 13:00 - 14:00 Baillie Gifford Sculpture Court
One of three major performances this year looking at today’s Scotland.
Chitra Ramaswamy’s Homelands is a memoir which tells the story of the writer’s friendship with Henry Wuga, a man who arrived on these shores in 1939 fleeing Nazi Germany. “Using a mixture of images, sound and performance, this event interweaves their life stories to look at Scotland’s past and present through the lenses of immigration, community, family and the desire to belong”. This is another event that proves the EIBF is more than ‘just’ a book festival.
Scottish Spoken Word Showcase
Tue 23 Aug 20:30 - 22:00 Central Hall
Spoken word is an area of the writing world which has grown hugely over the last decade or so (Lockdowns aside!) to become one of the most exciting art forms of the 21st century, and this event is a great example of the very best of what’s happening in Scotland right now.
Hosted by poet and Creative Director of I Am Loud Poets Productions, Kevin Mclean, it brings together a diverse group of artists including Bee Asha, BEMZ, Dave Hook, Gray Crosbie, Jo Gilbert, Mae Diansangu, Kevin P Gilday and Victoria McNulty. In terms of hearing different voices in one event, this will be hard to beat.
Michael Pedersen: Boy Friends Forever
Wed 24 Aug 19:00 - 20:00 Baillie Gifford Sculpture Court
Michael Pedersen’s Boy Friends is among the most eagerly anticipated publications of the year and, as a result, this event promises to be one of the highlights of this year’s festival. It also promises to be deeply emotional. Pedersen was moved to write Boy Friends after he lost his close friend Scott Hutchison, but what started as a love letter to one person became a hymn to all the male friendships that have influenced his life.
An evening of readings, performance, and conversation, Michael Pedersen will be joined by Shirley Manson and Charlotte Church to examine not only friendship, but also grief, love and more.
Harry Josephine Giles: Deep Wheel Orcadia
Sun 28 Aug 13:00 - 14:00 Baillie Gifford Sculpture Court
One of three major performances looking at today’s Scotland.
Deep Wheel Orcadia is a performance based on Harry Josephine Giles’ verse novel of the same name. Described as a “fusion of music, image and performance” it tells the stories of Astrid, Darling, and the other characters who are existing on the titular space station, fighting for survival and meaning.
Written in Orkney dialect, Deep Wheel Orcadia will include English-language subtitles and animation, and is accompanied by music from BAFTA-winning composer Atzi Muramatsu, which was commissioned specially for this event. This multimedia event could be as close to pure theatre as you will find at this year’s festival, and promises to be a magical and memorable occasion.
You can keep up with all the news and events at the EIBF by following on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and flickr, and also subscribe to their YouTube channel.