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12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it

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comedy

Five free literary events for the fringe

Those of us who live in Edinburgh (i.e. me) are two weeks into the Edinburgh Fringe, a rather massive arts festival that annually bankrupts countless comedians, actors and spoken word artists. Continue reading “Five free literary events for the fringe”

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Alternative Walking Tour at Edinburgh Fringe 2014

Things are about to get seriously busy in Edinburgh, as the 2014 Fringe Festival is nearly upon us. This year my partner, who is variously a freelance writer, poet, stand up and poor person, has taken it upon himself to write and perform two shows as part of the free Fringe. One is a spoken word show called Knife Whimsy, taking place at George Next Door. Continue reading “Alternative Walking Tour at Edinburgh Fringe 2014”

Book Recommendations

Lately I have been trying to read ALL THE BOOKS.  This is impossible, but I am making a better fist of it that I did when I was doing the writing of the 12 books in 12 months.  Here are some brief highlights of what I’ve read since the start of October.  You should read all of these and tell me what you think.

  • The Pirates in an Adventure with WhalingGideon Defoe
    Made me laugh out loud several times, even better than the first in the series; ham.
  • SparksDavid Quantick
    Tonally a lot like Douglas Adams.  Parallel universes.  Jolly good fun.
  • Let’s Pretend This Never HappenedJenny Lawson
    Likely to make you snort-laugh in a most unladylike fashion. A memoir of a perplexing childhood and an account of an interesting adulthood by one of the internet’s best bloggers.  Worth a look if you enjoy Caitlin Moran, or if you want to laugh a lot.
  • MausArt Spiegelman
    I’m late to the party with Maus, obviously – it’s been on my to-read list for years, but I finally got around to it last month.  I can’t add much to what you probably already know – it’s fascinating and horrible and heartbreaking.  Read it please.  The end.
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar ChildrenRansom Riggs
    A magical tale built around old sepia photos of freak shows.  I worried this might be a little bit cheesy, especially when the American kid went to visit Wales… but it’s actually not.  I’m very curious to know what happens next.
  • The Sisters BrothersPatrick De Witt
    If you’re a horse lover you may wish to look away.  An absorbing tale of the Wild West, but not the Will Smith kind.  It is a little slow to get started, but once it gets going it is very good.

Storytelling and Smiles – an interview with Electric Tales

Electric Tales: March Edition
Sian at March's Electric Tales © Chris Scott

There’s always a lot of literary activity happening in Edinburgh – just look at UNESCO’s What’s On page if you don’t believe me – but there’s nothing quite like Electric Tales, returning to The Stand once again tomorrow night.  I spoke to comedian, writer and ET founder Sian Bevan to find out more.

Continue reading “Storytelling and Smiles – an interview with Electric Tales”

Andy Stanton Interview

Andy Stanton is probably best known as the author of the Mr Gum series of books (technically aimed at 7-10 year olds, but I started reading them at 24), and the mastermind behind hit TV show Bag of Sticks.  If you haven’t read anything by him and you’re not sure whether you’d like to, my rule of thumb is to suggest you head to your nearest book shop or library, pick up a copy of You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum!, and turn to chapter 4.  If it doesn’t make you laugh, there’s probably something wrong with you. 

I interviewed the man himself on Monday afternoon after a hectic weekend at the Edinburgh Book Festival.  Here’s what he had to say.

Andy Stanton Masters Kung Fu © abraham_love (www.abrahamlove.com)
 
 

A.L.Kennedy at Edinburgh Book Festival

If you don’t know of A.L.Kennedy, you should rectify that state of affairs immediately.  I first came across her through her column in the Guardian, which is very funny, but she does all sorts of other stuff too – book writing and stand up being the main activities where it’s socially acceptable to follow her movements (although not in a stalker-y way).  Yesterday she was at the Edinburgh book festival talking about her new novel, The Blue Book, so I went along to listen.

Kennedy began with a reading from near the start of the book – “it’s page 31. Not much has happened, not much will,” – a passage including the character description, “red shoes and amateur clown hair,” which I loved, although naturally she says it better than I do.

She was then interrupted by an enigmatic lady leaving the auditorium with the chilling words, “I know you from a long time ago.”  Not the most traditional of heckles in my experience, so top marks for mystique there, especially as she proceeded to stand in front of the stage repeating the phrase over and over again…

Continue reading “A.L.Kennedy at Edinburgh Book Festival”

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