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12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it

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Janice Galloway

West Port Book Festival 2011

Everyone in Edinburgh loves a book festival.  There was one in Portobello at the weekend and there’s another just around the corner in the Old Town.  Peggy Hughes (who Twitter users might know better as the Scottish Poetry Library’s @ByLeavesWeLive) was kind enough to write me a guest post about it.

The West Port Book Festival has reached the merry maturity of its fourth year, with another programme of cracking collaborations, tall tales, award-winners, stars of the future, dead people, open mics, and of course cakes. This year we’re popping up in October  – Thursday 13th – Sunday 16th to be precise.  We have flirted with running in different months (August for starters and seconds and June for thirds) and find that variety is the spice of life.

We have lost a few of our sterling venues from previous years.  The Lot, the Roxy ArtHouse and the Illicit Still (scene of the cause of a monstrous festival-wide hangover in year 3) are all sorely missed, while the Owl & Lion Gallery has risen like a phoenix from the ashes and resurrected itself as the Owl & Lion Bindery, further up the hill in the West Port. We’ve got a new bookshop on the block in Pulp Fiction and are comforted by the never-changing Blue Blazer and its energy-restoring ham and cheese toasties. Some things change, but the ideas and vision behind the West Port Book Festival remain.

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Tell Us A Joke

Apparently this month I elected to write a book in the key of ‘humour’. I’m not really sure what possessed me to pick that – genres were allocated back in December 2010, which was a different time altogether. 

Remember December 2010?  It was a whole different time, wasn’t it?  Of course it was.  Remember Snowpocalyse?  Public transport drew to a standstill and there was ice on the inside of the windows of your flat and you had to wear a dressing gown over your other layers of clothes for fear of getting pneumonia?  Although that might just have been in my house… Oh, and remember Matt Cardle off the X-Factor getting to number one with a fairly average Biffy Clyro cover?  That was adequate, wasn’t it.  And remember civil unrest kicking off in Tunisia?  Heady days indeed, they ended up getting rid of their political leader.  December 2010 eh, it was another world. 

And in that world, I arbitrarily decided that in 9 months time I’d be in the mood to write something funny.  You might think that my natural wit would see me through nae bother, but there are one or two problems occurring. 

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All Made Up – Janice Galloway

This morning I trumped along to Charlotte Square once more to see Janice Galloway talk about her new book.  Following on from her anti-memoir about her childhood, This Is Not About Me, volume 2 is about her teenage years in Ayrshire and is called All Made Up.  I sense a theme.

The event was held in the RBS Main Theatre, and it was rammed.  The girl sitting next to me, who was writing about it for Three Weeks, had seen Galloway before and didn’t find this remotely surprising.  I sense I have been missing out – I came because the programme blurb looked interesting.

As the lights go down and everyone settles in, event chair Ruth Wishart introduces All Made Up as a book “where sex and music jostle for priority status.”

“And Latin,” Galloway chimes in.

This sets the tone, and leads the author into an explanation as to why she doesn’t see the book as a straight memoir.

Continue reading “All Made Up – Janice Galloway”

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