Described as ‘an Olympics of the mind’, the 2012 Edinburgh International Book Festival offered Nobel Prize and Booker winners, bestsellers and up-and-coming writers alongside scientists, philosophers, children’s authors and illustrators, great thinkers, orators and inspirational storytellers. 750 authors from around the world gathered to celebrate the world of words and ideas. You can hear some of the events here in our series of free podcasts – recorded live at the Festival.
William Fotheringham at Edinburgh International Book Festival
Cycling was a hot topic during the summer of 2012, with British success in the Olympics and the Tour de France, and the breaking of the Lance Armstrong scandal, and it was against this backdrop that sports journalist William Fotheringham came to the Book Festival to talk about one of the cycling world’s lesser-known legends. Eddy Merckx is to cycling what Ali (or Tyson) was to boxing and Pelé (or Messi) is to football: quite simply, the best there has ever been. Throughout his professional career the Belgian amassed an astonishing 445 victories and, along the way, dealt with horrific injury, a doping scandal and tragedy. Fotheringham shared the details of this remarkable sporting life during this event, which was recorded live at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, with festival Director Nick Barley.
Robert Macfarlane at Edinburgh International Book Festival
In The Old Ways, shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson prize, the celebrated author Robert Macfarlane sets off from his Cambridge home to follow the ancient tracks, drove-roads and sea paths that form part of a vast network of routes criss-crossing the British landscape and its waters, and connecting them to the continents beyond. The result is an immersive, enthralling exploration of the ghosts and voices that haunt old paths, of the stories our tracks keep and tell, of pilgrimage and ritual, and of songlines and their singers. Above all his book is about people and place and the subtle ways in which we are shaped by the landscapes through which we move. Told in Macfarlane's distinctive voice, the book folds together natural history, cartography, geology, archaeology and literature. In this event, recorded live at the 2012 Edinburgh International Book Festival, he talks to Stuart Kelly, the literary editor of Scotland On Sunday.
What Comes Next? at Edinburgh International Book Festival
Acclaimed author Keith Gray has edited an anthology of stories by leading writers looking at where we go when we die, entitled Next. Each short story examines the idea in different ways. Kate Harrison’s trilogy Soul Beach is about a girl whose sister is murdered and trapped in a kind of limbo but can communicate with a chosen loved one through a website. Keith Gray and Kate Harrison join Iona Heath, President of the Royal College of General Practitioners and author of Matters of Life and Death, in this event to explore the idea of afterlife, why some cultures and individuals believe there is such a thing and why death is such fertile territory for writers. Chaired by Lindsey Fraser and recorded live at the 2012 Edinburgh International Book Festival. Supported by the Wellcome Trust.
Jacqueline Wilson at Edinburgh International Book Festival
In 1902, E Nesbit published Five Children and It, which has never been out of print. Jacqueline Wilson, the highly acclaimed author of Tracey Beaker and countless other children’s books, revisited the original and has created Four Children and It. Her story is set in the modern day and follows Rosalind and Robbie, their half-sister Maudie and step-sister Smash. This foursome’s adventures see them discover the mythical sand-fairy in Surrey's Oxshott Woods. In this event, recorded live at the 2012 Edinburgh International Book Festival, the popular children’s author talks to Jenny Avern about her take on this much-loved story.
Jennifer Rohn & Neal Stephenson at Edinburgh International Book Festival
Science fiction writing is readily dismissed as mindless escapism but in fact it is a hugely influential and creative genre, able to critique our society and inspire our scientists. New York Times bestseller Neal Stephenson discusses the importance of science fiction on science fact with Jennifer Rohn, of University College London and author of lablit.com in, an event chaired by Pippa Goldschmidt and recorded live at the 2012 Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Neil Gaiman & Chris Riddell at Edinburgh International Book Festival
To mark the 10th anniversary of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, Chris Riddell has created beautiful, atmospheric and unsettling illustrations for a new edition of the book. The tale of the lonely girl who discovers an alternate world where her ‘other mother and father’ live has been turned into a graphic novel and a film. In this event, Coraline’s creator Neil Gaiman and award-winning illustrator Chris Riddell discuss their inspiration for the words and the pictures with interviewer Grace Sutherland. Recorded live at the 2012 Edinburgh International Book Festival.