Authors from 55 different countries appeared at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2015. Internationally renowned writers and thinkers from around the world gathered in Charlotte Square Gardens, the Book Festival’s home, to trade stories, share ideas, inspire audiences and answer questions. Old favourites, bestsellers and award-winners rubbed shoulders with newcomers (the literary stars of tomorrow?) to talk about their books and discuss the important topics of today. You can listen to some of the author events and discussions in this free series of podcasts – a small selection of what went on in Edinburgh during August 2015.
The Literacy Revolution at Edinburgh International Book Festival (edbookfest)
According to UNESCO, every region of the world during the last 20 years has seen gains in literacy rates, but the situation remains highly uneven. To what extent can this improvement be attributed to the urbanisation of populations across the world and the role of libraries in the culture of cities? The panel includes: Sergio Fajardo, one of the best-known political figures in Colombia who as mayor of Medellin oversaw a highly successful campaign to improve literacy in the city by placing libraries in downtrodden and overlooked barrios; and Amina Shah, CEO of the Scottish Library and Information Council who is a key figure in the future of Scotland’s libraries. The event is chaired by Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland. Presented in partnership with Theatrum Mundi.
Cédric Villani at Edinburgh International Book Festival (edbookfest)
Forget about the maths you learned at school; the charismatic Cédric Villani has a gift for revealing the beauty and magic of mathematics at the highest level. Dubbed a ‘rock-star mathematician’, the French winner of the maths world’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize takes us on an inspiring, charming journey through his intellectual discoveries in this event, recorded live at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Monica Cantieni & Sunjeev Sahota at Edinburgh International Book Festival (edbookfest)
Monica Cantieni’s The Encyclopaedia of Good Reasons, translated by Donal McLaughlin, tells the deeply moving story of a young girl’s long wait for adoption into a Swiss family, and into a German-speaking community. Whilst Sunjeev Sahota’s much-anticipated second novel, The Year of the Runaways, describes the dreams and struggles of a group of young Indian men searching for a new life in Sheffield. Hear how these two authors powerfully explore the immigrant experience in this event, recorded live at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
SJ Watson at Edinburgh International Book Festival (edbookfest)
Honesty is Not the Best Policy in Crime Fiction
S J Watson can count Dennis Lehane and Lionel Shriver among his fans for his crime debut Before I Go to Sleep, which was later made into a movie with Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman. The Midlands-born author opens up a shadowy world of identity, lies and secrets as he delivers a follow-up psychological thriller entitled Second Life.
Edwyn Collins & Grace Maxwell with Ian Rankin at Edinburgh International Book Festival (edbookfest)
‘Moving beyond words’ was one critic’s response to The Possibilities Are Endless, a documentary charting Edwyn Collins’ return to relative good health after two massive strokes in 2005. That film, and a recent book, were the subjects of conversation in this event, recorded live at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, between Collins, his devoted wife Grace Maxwell and Ian Rankin, who has been a fan of the songwriter’s work since the days of 80s indie band Orange Juice and Postcard Records.
Ziauddin Sardar at Edinburgh International Book Festival (edbookfest)
The Future of Mecca
Born in Pakistan and raised in Hackney, Ziauddin Sardar is one of the most respected experts on Islam and is utterly fascinated by Mecca. Sardar has retraced its history from a barren valley in the desert to becoming arguably the most significant city in the world today. But what does the future hold for a location which contains immense meaning both to the Middle East and the West?
Part of our The Changing Middle East series of events.