Bookseeker Literary Agency

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Edinburgh International Book Festival

1.1I have just spent a long fortnight in and out of the International Book Festival in Charlotte Square, Edinburgh. this has become an annual thing for me, and I have a whale of a time even though I’m actually engaged in hard work. while I’m there I’m writing, tweeting, talking, taking photos, so when I get back I don’t really want to write any more. So here’s an essay in photographs rather than words, about the scenes and faces at this year’s festival.

The photos were taken on a bog-standard Nikon D50 or an iPad.

PT

2.2 Graham Swift

Graham Swift

2.4 Ian Goldin

Ian Goldin

2.1 Ali Smith

Ali Smith

1.2 a wave of beards

A wave of beards swept through Charlotte Square. I think that’s author Philip Ardagh on the right.

2.2 Iain Macwhirter

Iain Macwhirter

Chris Close’s excellent photo-portraits of visiting writers etc. were on display again this year. The exhibition was better than ever – here are just a few faces, including Alexander McCall Smith, Gavin Francis, Joan Bakewell, Wilko Johnson, Ruby Wax, and Attila the Stockbroker. Thanks for letting me use these, Chris.

4.1 Alexander McCall Smith & Gavin Francis

4.2 Joan Bakewell & Wilko Johnson

4.3 Ruby Wax & Attila the Stockbroker

And back to my own pics…

1.4 Book Shop

1.5 posing

2.10 Michael Scott

Michael Scott

2.5 Thomas Clark

Thomas Clark

2.9 Zaffar Kunial

Zaffar Kunial

1.10 relaxation

Relaxation…

1.6 photo bunch

Photo call

2.11 Jackie Kay

Scots ‘Makar’ Jackie Kay

2.13 Roy Hattersley

Roy Hattersley

1.8 staff

2.3 Louis de Bernieres

Louis de Bernières

2.7 Gordon Brown

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown

2.8 Richard & Daniel Susskind

Richard Susskind & Daniel Susskind. In the background is journalist Lee Randall, who chaired their event.

2.12 Carol Ann Duffy

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy

2.6 Roger Mason

Roger Mason

1.9

1.7 Cloud

Late in the day we heard that actor Gene Wilder had left our world of pure imagination, maybe to watch from this cloud.

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Can you twang? Can you pick a country blues guitar?

crumb-hurt-2

If you can, head over to our client Marie Marshall’s poetry blog and see if you can put a tune to some words she came up with one night.

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ClareTalking of twanging guitars, It’s festival time here in Scotland, and Paul is out-and-about. If you spot him at The Foodies Festival in Inverleith Park, Edinburgh, or at the International Book Festival in Charlotte Square, or at Edinburgh Fringe events such as Harry Venning’s ‘Release Your Inner Cartoonist’ (the Pleasance, Venue 33) rubing shoulders with ‘Clare’ (see opposite), say hello! The twanging of guitars was what was happening at Perth’s Southern Fried Festival, which took place over the last weekend in July. It is Scotland’s biggest celebration of Americana and regularly hosts musical acts from both sides of the Atlantic. Paul was visiting on behalf of the Scottish review site ‘The Mumble’, and managed to see, and in many cases meet, some really interesting musicians, along with other  festival-goers. There were performances from the likes of Martha Fields, aka ‘Texas Martha’, Black Diamond Express, Yola Carter, Imelda May, Dean Owens, Daniel Meade & the Flying Mules, Amythyst Kiah, Andy Fairweather-Low, and many more.

2016-07-28 09 Southern Fried

One exciting pre-festival event was a press and media briefing, and premier of American Epic, a four-part documentary series which will be shown this coming winter on BBC4 in the UK and PBS in the USA. The documentary, which took ten years research, uses hitherto undiscovered archive material, and documents not only the sudden flood of recordings of blues, bluegrass, and other grassroots music, but the technology that gave rise to it – along with the reason why so much of both the archive and the technology was lost during the Depression and World War 2. Co-writer and producer Allison McGourty was interviewed after the premier, and took part in a question-and-answer session.

2016-07-28 10 Allison McGourty

Allison McGourty interviewed in Perth Concert Hall.

Paul says, “I look forward to this festival every year, and every year it seems to go from strength to strength.” Amongst the highlights for him were “… meeting and talking to Yola Carter and Martha Fields, both of whom were utterly charming… getting to know Marc Marnie, the larger-than-life photographer, who has been photographing musicians since 1977… hearing Imelda May live… eating soul food… chatting to Lloyd Reid about Hofner arch-top guitars…” Some of Paul’s memories of the weekend are captured in the photos here.

2016-07-29 02 Pete Caban

Scottish bluesman Pete Caban

2016-07-29 05 Texas Martha

Texas Martha and the House of Twang

2016-07-29 17 Soul food

Some of the soul food on offer.

2016-07-30 01a Black Diamond Express#

Black Diamond Express.

2016-07-30 15 Yola Carter*

Yola Carter.

2016-07-30 21 Imelda May*

Imelda May.

2016-07-31 01 Yola Carter

It’s Yola’s birthday!

2016-07-31 15 Daniel Meade*

Daniel Meade & the Flying Mules.

2016-07-31 17 Daniel Meade (h)

The Flying Mules’ amazing guitarist, Lloyd Reid.

Images © Paul Thompson / Bookseeker Agency