Books

Review: Jackie Kay – National Treasures, EIBF 2019 Rating 78%

Review: Jackie Kay – National Treasures, EIBF 2019

While I dislike the expression ‘National Treasure’ I think it probably applies to Jackie Kay. As Scottish Makar, she is officially honoured – at least, if you treasure poetry. In keeping with this year’s Book Festival theme – ‘We Need New Stories’ – Jackie Kay’s story is very much out there, with her 2010 memoir, Red Dust Road, having been adapted for the stage and currently showing at The Lyceum as part of the International Festival.

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Review: Don’t Worry Little Crab by Chris Haughton Rating 78%

Review: Don’t Worry Little Crab by Chris Haughton

Chris Haughton, multi-award winning author of Oh No, George and A Bit Lost is back with a new picture book, aimed at the same age group, but this time based in a rockpool, with crab at the core of the story. A story about building up courage and momentum to try something never tried before, Don’t Worry, Little Crab is a joy to read with the young ones.

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Review: Richard Holloway – Stories We Told Ourselves, EIBF 2019 Rating 91%

Review: Richard Holloway – Stories We Told Ourselves, EIBF 2019

To hear Nick Barley, Director of Edinburgh International Book Festival, talking at the Programme Launch back in July you’d think he was on some kind of mission to save the world – with books. Cut to August, and James Runcie introduces a keynote speaker by saying that a book festival has a ‘moral purpose; a conscience.’ Cue Richard Holloway, who gives a speech that verges on evangelical – not a word usually associated with the former Bishop of Edinburgh.

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Review: Markus Zusak – Boys Will Be Boys, EIBF 2019 Rating 98%

Review: Markus Zusak – Boys Will Be Boys, EIBF 2019

The people behind the EIBF outdo themselves every year and 2019 is even more brilliant than 2018. There are so many authors, number of events for young and old and many writing and craft sessions. They have made sure that anyone can find something by having so many diverse writers from all over the world and this reviewer was so very lucky to attend the session with Markus Zusak author of The Book Thief and his latest Bridge of Clay.

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Review: Ali Smith – The Joy of Spring, EIBF 2019 Rating 82%

Review: Ali Smith – The Joy of Spring, EIBF 2019

Withoout any note of exaggeration, Ali Smith is now firmly established as one of Scotland’s greatest living writers, and that was more than alluded to by Jess Orrs introduction. Originally scheduled to be with Kamilla Shamsie, this event with Ali Smith, is illuminiating, insightful and reaffirming. Discussing the third in her seasonal novels, Spring, she paints a portrait of British people wrestling with hate, division and dark times. These books with a Brexit-infused setting are as much about character than setting, and it is stunning to hear those voices via the much-adored Ali Smith.

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Review: DeRay Mckesson – The Inspirational Activist, EIBF 2019 Rating 76%

Review: DeRay Mckesson – The Inspirational Activist, EIBF 2019

“Race is a system of power rooted in colour and culture”, proclaims DeRay Mckesson in 2019. In 2014 DeRay Mckesson quit his job and moved to Ferguson, Missouri to protest against the police shooting of Michael Brown Jr, an unarmed African-American teenager. This act of activism has altered his life drastically, as he then spent the next 400 days on the streets assisting with the Black Lives Matter movement, a movement we all know too well. With his inspirational book, On the Other Side of Freedom, DeRay was not only invited to speak at an event but was in fact a guest selector at this years Edinburgh Interntaional Book Festival.

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Review: Rowan Hisayo Buchanan & Yelena Moskovich, EIBF 2019 Rating 85%

Review: Rowan Hisayo Buchanan & Yelena Moskovich, EIBF 2019

I was pleased to see that one of the very first events on the Book Festival programme was an exploration of “queer desire”, through the lens of two books that, as it turns out, have more in common with each other than just the title of the event would suggest. The two authors, Yelena Moskovich and Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, have both released novels this year which deal with latent and burgeoning queer female desire, and both are told from the perspective of women often deemed “difficult” – mentally ill, rebellious, or criminal.

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Review: Fatima Bhutto & Regina Porter with DeRay Mckesson, EIBF 2019 Rating 77%

Review: Fatima Bhutto & Regina Porter with DeRay Mckesson, EIBF 2019

Part of the Power to the People series of events as selected by guest selector, key figure in the Black Lives Matter movement, Regina Porter and Fatima Bhutto were invited to the Edinburgh International Book Festival to discuss novels and whether they reflect human diversity. Regina Porter was promoting her novel, The Travelers, and Fatima Bhutto discussing hers, The Runaways, both of which provide sweeping portrayals of life in Pakistan and the USA.

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Review: Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin Rating 92%

Review: Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin

There are some books that upon opening make you wonder what is going on in this story. Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin is definitely one of those books. It feels surreal, feverish and impossible to put down because every page offers a new mystery rather than a solution. It is a gripping story that reveals to us the intricacies of motherhood but also imposes a lot of questions on the reader in regards to boundaries and obsession.

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John Niven: Two fine Scotsmen for the price of one

Stuart Cosgrove is interviewing none other than author, John Niven at Fringe by the Sea in North Berwick this evening. Media Editor of the New Musical Express (NME) in the 80s, Stuart Cosgrove has more than 20 years involvement with Channel 4, multiple arts and business development roles and is author of a trilogy of books on Sixties Soul Music and Social Change. Former A&R manager, John Niven is here to talk about the follow-up to Kill Your Friends, Kill ’Em All, and also spoke with The Fountain about what to expect from tonight’s event.

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Review: Amuse Girl by Hannah Raymond-Cox Rating 75%

Review: Amuse Girl by Hannah Raymond-Cox

Hannah Raymond-Cox has previously won the Stanza Slam and is a former Scottish finalist of the National Poetry Slam Championships. Having spent her childhood in Hong Kong and San Francisco, she has been living in the UK since the age of sixteen and is a graduate of St Andrews University, holding a degree in International Relations and Modern History. Apart from receiving various awards, she has performed on the BBC Stage at the Edinburgh Fringe festival, as well as in diverse venues like the Royal Albert Hall and a Hong Kong dive bar. Her debut collection revolves mainly around the theme of food – and appropriately, it contains a smorgasbord of verses based strongly on this, complete with ‘tasting notes’ at the beginning of each.

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