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Posts tagged Edinburgh International Book Festival

Jura distillery releasing 1984 malt in George Orwell commemoration
November 17, 2014 | 4:29 pm

Jura 1984The Jura distillery, long a key sponsor at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, has now found a perhaps slightly more dubious route to literary celebrity, deciding to issue a special limited edition 1984 malt whisky, to mark 30 years since the date of George Orwell's eponymous novel. The Jura 1984 Vintage was casked in 1984 and, according to the account in The Drinks Business, "only 1,984 individually numbered bottles of the limited edition single malt whisky, casked in 1984, will be made available worldwide," at £750 ($1,176) per bottle. In one respect at least, the Jura distillery's bid for recognition is completely authentic:...

Kuwaiti author Mai Al-Nakib wins 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award
October 28, 2014 | 10:25 am

The Hidden Light of objects jacketThe Edinburgh International Book Festival has just announced the winner of the 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award - Kuwaiti author Mai Al-Nakib, for her debut short story collection, The Hidden Light of Objects, published by Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing (BQFP).  This is the first time in the Award's five-year history that it has been conferred on a volume of short stories. "I am incredibly grateful for this award," said Mai Al-Nakib in the announcement. "To have my book selected by readers is especially gratifying and encouraging. It means so much to know that readers from all over the world are connecting with The...

Edinburgh International Book Festival holds autumn event for Marilynne Robinson
October 10, 2014 | 2:25 pm

The Edinburgh International Book Festival, more familiar as an August fixture, is hosting an exceptional out-of-season event on the occasion of a visit by American author Marilynne Robinson, recipient of many awards including the 2005 Pulitzer Prize, the 2009 Orange Prize for Fiction, the 2008 LA Times Book Prize and the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, as well as the 2012 National Humanities Medal. Marilynne Robinson is best known for her three novels Housekeeping (1980), Gilead (2004) and Home (2008), as well as numerous essays and works of non-fiction. Her National Humanities Medal citation hailed: "her grace and intelligence in writing. With moral strength and lyrical clarity, Dr....

Irvine Welsh on Scottish independence
September 7, 2014 | 2:25 pm

At this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival to speak and to promote his latest book, The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins, iconic modern Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh, who has probably done more to push contemporary Scottish society into public awareness than any other writer, diverted from the American theme of his new book to address the whole Scottish independence referendum debate - in terms that cast a spotlight on the entire UK as a whole. Asked simply "Yes or No, and why?" Welsh replied: I can't vote so I'm not telling anybody how they should vote, just  giving what I believe, but...

Further reflections on the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award
September 6, 2014 | 11:31 am

Edwin MorganThe inaugural Edwin Morgan Poetry Award with its £20,000 [$31,300] first prize was one of the highlights of this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival. After the Award, I polled some of those involved for their reaction to it. Asked what she thought of how the Award had been put together, and its significance, Robyn Marsack, Director of the Scottish Poetry Library commented The Award was specificed in Edwin Morgan's will, so it has been run according to his wishes. He wanted to reward and encourage poets under 30. When we were running it at the Scottish poetry library, I was quite anxious,...

What future for writers in Scotland after the independence referendum?
September 1, 2014 | 10:25 am

BveOVUxCEAAT4NDOne of the highlight debates of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, "Writing the Future: Being a Writer After the Referendum," hinged on the question of what the actual results of the independence referendum vote - whether Yes or No - might be for writers in Scotland. The panel brought together writers, publishers, and cultural policy professionals, from both sides of the Yes/No divide. "The Society of Authors only sponsors one event in a book festival in the UK [annually], and this is that one event," as Lin Anderson, author and chair of the Society of Authors in Scotland, said in her...

Interview with Claire Askew, runner-up in the first Edwin Morgan Award
August 31, 2014 | 3:30 pm

At this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival, I spoke to Claire Askew, runner-up for the inaugural Edwin Morgan Poetry Award for her unpublished collection ‘This changes things". She received the £1000 ($1660) awarded to all shortlisted poets, "and a further amount to support her work towards publication." Judge Stewart Conn praised her "voice that is arrestingly and distinctively her own… words and imagery constantly seeming fresh-minted." I spoke to her about the Award, her work, and modern Scottish poetry. TeleRead: To what extent do you find yourself working within a specifically Scottish tradition? Claire Askew: I definitely do. I'm an interesting person to...

The Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014: Some concluding images
August 28, 2014 | 3:30 pm

IMG_20140825_184414Here is a montage of shots from the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014 - just to give you all a taste. And here's to next year - in another country, perhaps ? ...

Interview with Niall Campbell, winner of the first Edwin Morgan Award
August 27, 2014 | 3:56 pm

At this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival, poet Niall Campbell came first in the inaugural Edwin Morgan Poetry Award for young Scottish poets with a first collection (published or unpublished). Under the terms of the Award, he received £20,000 ($33,000), twice the value of the venerable and highly regarded James Tait Black Prize for fiction. I spoke to him about the Award and his own feelings regarding the Scottish tradition....

James Clerk Maxwell: Scot, physicist, mathematician … and poet
August 25, 2014 | 1:51 pm

While at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, I'd like to pay tribute to one of the city's many great intellectual sons: James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79), the titanic Victorian scientist whose work was described by Albert Einstein as the "most profound and the most fruitful that physics has experienced since the time of Newton." His genius touched pure mathematics, electromagnetics, optics (color theory), kinetic theory and thermodynamics, astronomy (the rings of Saturn), and many other disciplines. And he was also a poet....

Edinburgh International Book Festival ends on sustained high with independence referendum looming
August 25, 2014 | 12:46 pm

IMG_20140824_200415 The Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014 wrapped up its three-week run in Edinburgh's Charlotte Square Gardens on Monday August 25th with a strong finish and scant sign of any slackening off in numbers or enthusiasm among attendees. Ticket sales kept up with last year's record numbers, according to the Festival press team, and the whole series of events picked up fresh pertinence and energy from a topic seldom far from anyone's lips on or off the podium: the independence debate and the referendum less than a month away. "Over the last 17 days, the Book Festival has welcomed over 800 authors...

Edinburgh, the pioneer UNESCO City of Literature
August 25, 2014 | 10:58 am

At the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014, I spoke to Sarah Morrison, Communications Executive of the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, about how Edinburgh pioneered the UNESCO Cities of Literature programme, and what this has done for the city itself....