Sunday 30 August 2009

More from the Book Festival

On Wednesday we went to hear Dan Cruickshank, the architectural guru. Cruickshank certainly knows his stuff but I found his presentation technique a bit wearing after a while. Session chairman Ruth Wishart asked if he would be rendered speechless were his hands to be tied together. Probably yes...

Later on we listened to Lindsey Davis, the "goddess of Roman crime" according to the programme. This was a very good event and was chaired by local crime writer Lin Anderson who lives in Edinburgh's "writers' block" alongside Rowling, McCall Smith and Rankin. Afterwards I told Anderson that someone should write a crime novel in which a publisher gets bumped off by an irate reader fed up with the changing size of books in a series. Watch this space...

Thursday found us at yet another McCall Smith evening. He's a friend of Laura Bush, thought that New Yorkers were "insincere" at his event there, but very much enjoyed appearances in Hollywood, Philadelphia and Texas. McCall Smith writes from 4 till 6 AM, sleeps for two hours, has breakfast, and then starts work again.

Friday saw the appearance of former Labour minister Chris Mullin. An enjoyable performance from this socialist who told some good stories about Blair, Bush and the Duke of Edinburgh. Pity about his politics.

Later on I went to the Beyond Devolution evening in the Spiegeltent in which one can have a bevvy while listening to the politicos... Henry McLeish (second First Minister!) and the three others all more-or-less agreed on a federal solution for Scotland within the UK. I told Tom Brown about the Freedom and Whisky plan. The man was so impressed that he got me a wee dram.

Saturday brought us the Scotland's Future event, with Ming Campbell, George Foulkes, Fiona Hyslop and Michael Forsyth. Hyslop told me afterwards that she thought the Megrahi affair would die down soon but she seemed nervous about the whole thing. The audience was 50/50 on the MacAskill decision.

At noon today it was time to hear Tom Morton and Alan Clements talking about their new thrillers. I've read the Clements one and shall probably get Morton's book too. Clements' wife was sitting just behind me and sounds just like she does on the telly.

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