Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Edinburgh International Book Festival

I've been away from my own blog for a while, although I have been active on various joint blogs, like the Awfully Big Blog Adventure and The History Girls:

I was reminded of how lax I'd been by the Bookwitch when I met her at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. She was there with her Roving Photographer, taking snap shots and storing away details to blog about us authors so I thought I'd reciprocate and mention her, instead of the other way round.

I was in Edinburgh at the weekend to do a series of events. I flew up on Saturday and my Sunday started at 10am with a ten minute reading in the Writers' Retreat. I could choose to read from any work so I gave my new novel its first public outing. It looks very different: no girl on the cover, no elegant writing. That is because it is very different. It is not historical but a contemporary thriller; the narration shared between a boy and a girl. It will not be published until February 2012. I'll be writing more about it as the date nears.

My main event was with Nicola Morgan, talking about Historical Fiction with Julia Eccleshare, Children's Literary Editor of the Guardian, as Chair. We had a good audience for an excellent session. You never know what you will find out about people on these occasions. Nicola, for example, has a deep interest and knowledge of the gruesome and gory. It does not do to judge authors by what you see. Afterwards we repaired to the Yurt (see below). The yurt is big kind of tent for us authors to hide in. There we met fellow author, Linda Strachan. Linda lives in Scotland, so I don't see her all that often. Edinburgh is a great place to catch up with people.

When I'm at a festival, I like to go and see other people if I get chance. I always find it interesting to hear writers talking about their craft. So in the afternoon, I went to see Patrick Ness talking to Moira Young about dystopian fiction. Not my fave genre but a very interesting session. My last engagement for the day was another reading - not from my own work this time but from the work of an Iraqi Blogger who has to be anonymous because he could be arrested or killed for speaking out in his country. This event was organised by Amnesty International and PEN, the writers' organization, which works to promote literature and human rights. There are readings throughout the festival: writers speaking the words and freeing the voices of their brothers and sisters abroad who have been silenced by oppression.

Monday was the first day of the Schools' Programme (Scottish schools start back earlier than their English counterparts). My time in Edinburgh finished with a talk about The Fool's Girl to a large, appreciative and very enthusiastic audience from schools all over Scotland, some of whom had got up at 5am to get to the Festival.

I was sorry to leave Edinburgh. There are so many things going on that I never get a chance to see. Maybe next time I'll get to stay longer.


Mary Hooper said...

What fun. You managed to squeeze an awful lot in, Celia. It's years since I've been to Edinburgh and I'd love to go again. Maybe we can do one of our double-acts next year?

Celia Rees said...

Yes, a double act would be great, Mary. Let's hope we get the chance, meanwhile we can hone our performance at Bath in September.

Linda Strachan said...

I really enjoyed your event on historical fiction, Celia, it was fascinating, and it was lovely to see you up here in Edinburgh! Met someone in the author's yurt today, who was engrossed in one of your books!

Naw Fal said...

thank you Celia
i published some thing from ur blog about the unknown iraqi blogger here

Anne said...

Love the new cover!!!