So today I went to the Edinburgh International Book Festival, as you can tell from the above picture I took the train, which gave me some time to enjoy the gorgeous Scottish countryside and get some reading done. I had a packed day (well afternoon and evening!) and had coincidentally booked the same events as the lovely Louise from The Scotsman who I bumped into not long after arriving. This meant that I was able t spend the day with someone I knew, as we had met previously at a book launch, and not wander around myself looking like a lost soul! I had a brilliant time with Louise, it’s been a while since I could properly talk books with someone else, so to do it for a few hours was heaven.
Anyway, we were kicking off the day with the Lin Anderson and Antti Tuomainen event and happily bumped into Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books, Michael J Malone and the event chair Russel D MacLean before the event started so spent some time talking with them before the event itself.
There was a good crowd in The Spiegeltent for the event and I don’t think anyone left disappointed. I know I took the picture below when Lin Anderson was being introduced but can’t remember exactly what was being said at this point. However, going by her expression it was definitely amusing which set the scene for the hour to follow.
The event was a mixture of serious parts and humour, beginning with Antti’s observations on how our reality is currently stranger than fiction, Lin’s explanation of sleep paralysis and a discussion of keeping forensic information up to date as technology progresses. Both authors read from their newest works, Sins of the Dead and Palm Beach, Finland (Antti’s book is not out just yet but can be pre-ordered now or if you’re lucky you can buy a copy at the festival, if there are any left!). The beginning of Sins of the Dead is intriguing, quite different from what I had expected and unusual but also creepy and gripping, I for one was enthralled. In stark contrast the beginning of Palm Beach, Finland had everyone laughing, I ended up in tears because it was so funny, but at the same time it is dark and slightly creepy too. If you want crime fiction that is completely different from your usual read this is definitely worth considering.
After a very brief recovery from a most entertaining hour it was time to immediately join the queue for the next event, Frank Gardner, the BBC’s security correspondent, who has written a few books including a new thriller, Ultimatum which is out now. Everyone who regularly watches BBC news will be aware who Frank Gardner is from seeing him on there which is how I knew of him. What I didn’t know, however, was how funny he is. He entertained a huge audience with stories from Cairo, Columbia, Iran and other countries that he has visited. He is clearly very knowledgeable and was able to give a picture of countries, like Iran, which is so different from the one we get from the news and political commentary that exists at the moment. Until I saw the festival programme I had no idea he had written any fiction books (or any books for that matter) but when I saw his name there I was intrigued and, as someone who wants to expand their reading I thought this event would be a good one to add to my crime heavy bundle and I was not disappointed. Predictably the questions at the end of the event turned towards asking him what he thought would happen in various countries, such as Yemen, and he answered them well and in the best way he could. After all, although he has a lot of knowledge and experience, even he can’t predict the future.
After this it was time for a quick bite to eat before ny last event of the day which was Stuart MacBride, hosted by Stephanie Merritt. I have to say this is the first book event I’ve been to where the author has stood up and sang to the audience, he even made Stephanie Merritt join in too which she did rather well. It was quite different from the other events of the day. There was a lot of discussion of writing, editors, other people’s opinion on crime fiction to highlight just a few. It was most entertaining and I have to say Stephanie Merritt did a fantastic job of managing Stuart MacBride (and yes, I think managing is the right word to use!). I enjoyed myself so much I bought the first book in the Logan McRae series, a series I have been contemplating trying for a while now, and have come home with a new, shiny, signed book to add to ny ever growing to-read pile.
I’m back at the festival on Friday when I have a packed day seeing Susie Orbach, Alison Weir, New Passages: Scotland and India and Matt Haig.