Bookseeker Literary Agency

Introducing authors and publishers.


“Yet here’s a postscript…”

… to the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

You never know who you’re going to bump into in Charlotte Sq. Here’s a back view of someone whose face you would know, if he turned round. He wasn’t appearing at the festival, but he’s obviously for some purpose, as he’s studying the map and getting his bearings. Do you recognise him? If you do, feel free to tweet to me @BookseekerAgent. I’ll give you a clue: he’s quite interesting, and he used to be a name to conjure with.

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2018-08-23 05 AD

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Another Book Festival has come and gone…

I mean, of course, THE Book Festival – the Edinburgh International Book Festival. It officially shut up shop yesterday, but as usual I have been around and about for the past extended fortnight, chatting, snapping, reviewing, occasionally getting in the way. I’m not going to waste too many words here, I’m just going to post my usual mini montage. All photos © Paul Thompson unless otherwise noted.

It wouldn’t be Charlotte Square without a couple of shots of Prince Albert, so here’s one with a seagull…

2018-08-14 07 Albert & Gull

and one with a contrail. These show this year’s changeable weather in Edinburgh.

2018-08-15 06 contrail over CH Sq

2018-08-14 05 ranks of Rankin

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, seen here in the main signing tent, introduced us to two emerging poets…

2018-08-14 13 CAD

Keith Hutson and Mark Pajak.

2018-08-14 14 Hutson & Pajak

Two generations of the Mandela family joined us from South Africa.

2018-08-14 17 2 generations of Mandelas

The vin van:

2018-08-15 01 the vin van

2018-08-14 03b Chris Close

 

Chris 1
Chris 2
Chris 3

There’s always something going on, even if I’m not quite sure what…

2018-08-15 03 always something happening

Louis de Bernières was here again.
2018-08-14 12 LdB

Theatres

2018-08-18 01b June at the Book festival

“Smile please, Sir!” call the photographers
2018-08-15 09 Gordon Brown Smile

Photo call for economist, broadcaster, and author Linda Yueh

2018-08-15 10 Linda Yueh

Happening to be in the right place at the right time, and with many thanks both to Festival Director Nick Barley and to the two storytellers, I was able to get some lovely exclusive photos of Maimouna Jallow and Mara Menzies!

2018-08-15 11b Jallow and Menzies

The Bookshop is always busy. I say the Bookshop, but there are at least three – four if you count the shelves in the main signing tent. Anyhow, this is a shot from inside the big one in Charlotte Sq.

2018-08-21 06 Bookshop

Science(ish)ists Rick Edwards and Michael Brooks
2018-08-21 13 Rick Edwards & Michael Brooks

Two shots of ‘Makar’ Jackie Kay, one at her photo call, the other in the signing tent when she spots Ali Smith and another friend in the queue. Jackie always brings brightness into the Festival.

2018-08-21 17 Jackie Kay2018-08-21 18 Jackie Kay

And here is Ali Smith, who was here helping to celebrate Muriel Spark’s centenary.

2018-08-21 01 Ali Smith

A natural break for one of the Festival staff. What better than to read a book!

2018-08-21 15 Natural break

Catherine Nixey, book signing in George Street.

2018-08-21 19 Catherine Nixey

Alice Strang was here, promoting the fine book she edited on Scottish Modern Art in the first half of the Twentieth Century.

2018-08-15 12 Alice Strang

Another famous face – June Sarpong.

2018-08-15 13 June Sarpong

Brian Dillon appears pensive…

2018-08-23 09 Brian Dillon

Jim Broadbent and Dix, whose unusual graphic novel Dull Margaret (which Jim positions somewhere between Victoria Wood and Hammer Horror) was featured in the Baillie Gifford Theatre.

2018-08-23 06 Dix and Broadbent

And if you can blag a selfie with a National Treasure, why not!

2018-08-23 08 selfie time with JB

And as usual, there is always time for leisure at the Festival.

2018-08-23 07 moments of leisure

All being well, I hope to be back there same time next year.

PT.

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Introducing Michael Shand

Michael Shand 300Michael Shand is a Scottish playwright and author. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife Sara, his son Charlie, and a couple of crazy cats. And we are pleased to welcome him to the circle of authors represented by this agency.

Between 2006 and 2015 Michael completed thirty plays, many of which were produced in festivals throughout Scotland by That’s Lunch Productions. His forte and preferred medium of expression is Scottish vernacular, and he says that his works “tend to highlight the wickedness of human nature and mankind’s inherent instinct for survival.” Several of his plays have been shortlisted for awards and in competitions, and his one-man piece Depravity won an Arts Trust for Scotland Award.

His new novel, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, which the agency will be presenting to publishers later this year, tells of what happens when someone drops a bag full of money on top of three unsuspecting homeless people, sheltering from the rain under a bridge in 1990s Edinburgh. Kidnap, violence, murder, and betrayal happen, in a helter-skelter of action.

Readers of John Banville will recognise the novel’s introspection, and those of Irvine Welsh the barbarity and humour. It rubs shoulders with the works of Ian Banks and Kate Atkinson, and readers of either would enjoy it.

Watch this space for more news about Let Sleeping Dogs Lie. Publishers who would like to get in touch in advance of our official promotion – and get in first! – please feel free to do so.


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.


Edinburgh International Book Festival

Prof. David Crystal

Prof. David Crystal

Every year I make it my business to spend some time at the Edinburgh International Book Festival – sometimes at the Book Fringe too, if I can make it, but definitely at the Book Festival in Charlotte Square. In addition to attending events and writing reviews, I get to meet a lot of interesting people, at book-signings, in the media yurt, and just round and about.

Ben Crystal

Ben Crystal

This year I have been lucky enough to rub shoulders with, amongst others, Professor David Crystal, the UK’s foremost academic in the field of linguistics, and his son Ben Crystal, Shakespearean actor and expert on the ‘original pronunciation’ experiment. It was a great thrill and privilege to meet David and Ben, and to talk to them, as my field of study has touched on their fields of expertise. I have several books by David Crystal, and lately have bought their jointly-edited Oxford Illustrated Shakespeare Dictionary.

blog2 MS

Meera Syal

Other names I’m able to drop this year include poet David Kinloch, Paul Merton, Anthony Sattin the biographer of T E Lawrence, actor Meera Syal, Nicolas Parsons, Helena Nelson of Happenstance, and political geographer Erik Swyngedouw. I was also able to listen to the music of Scotland’s alternative hip-hop band Stanley Odd. Not that any of these people are unapproachable, as there is an opportunity for anyone to meet them at book-signings.

One feature that grows and moves in the village that Edinburgh’s Charlotte Square becomes, is the collection of photo-portraits taken by the Festival’s resident photographer, Chris Close. During the long fortnight he has the task of photographing the writers, celebrities, and others against a white screen, and displaying them around the Festival walkways. This has to be one of the best jobs at the Festival!

Stand-out moments from this year – for me – include the following: Ben Crystal’s presentation, to a young audience in the Baillie Gifford Imagination Lab, on getting into Shakespeare; engaging Erik Swyngedouw in discussion about dissent, trades union membership, democracy, and such; the tray-bakes in Café Brontë; the ‘end-of-term’ antics around the media centre on the last day. And just about everything else; if it is not a complete oxymoron, I would say that everything stood out. And what’s more, the sun shone all the time I was there.

I always try to escape for a while, and to take in some of the other events in Edinburgh. This year I was lucky enough to be alerted to and invited to Brite Theater’s one-woman version of Shakespeare’s Richard III, featuring Emily Carding, which was totally captivating. On my last day there I took some time to stroll through Princes Street Gardens and the Royal Mile, taking in the stalls, buskers, and Fringe events. The end of the Book Festival always seems to mark the end of summer for me. Back home the apples and Victoria plums are ripening and we’re testing out the central heating system.

Paul

'Insight Radio', who broadcast on behalf of the RNIB, had interviewers in Charlotte Sq.

‘Insight Radio’, who broadcast on behalf of the RNIB, had interviewers in Charlotte Sq.

Anthony Sattin

Anthony Sattin

Helena Nelson

Helena Nelson

Nicolas Parsons being interviewed in the sunshine.

Nicolas Parsons being interviewed in the sunshine.

Erik Swyngedouw (left)

Erik Swyngedouw (left)

Photographer Chris Close

Photographer Chris Close

'Busy doing nothing' outside the Media Yurt.

‘Busy doing nothing’ outside the Media Yurt.

Cedric © Chris Close

Cedric Villani © Chris Close

Maggie O'Farrell © Chris Close

Maggie O’Farrell © Chris Close

Ronnie Browne © Chris Close

Ronnie Browne © Chris Close

Irving Frankel © Chris Close

Irving Frankel © Chris Close

Veronika Elektronika and Solareye of Stanley Odd.

Veronika Elektronika and Solareye of Stanley Odd.

________________________________

All the images in this update are © Paul Thompson, except for those from the official collection of Festival portraits, which are © Chris Close and are used here by his kind permission. No further use may be made of any of these images without the direct permission of the copyright-holders.


We told you August was going to be a busy month!

… and so it has turned out to be.

Carmen Capuano, as you can see from the previous update, has been busying herself arranging too have her brilliant new novel Split Decision in the window of WHSmith. Carmen actually found time to tweet “I’m so happy I am singing” a couple of days ago. She deserves to be!

Carmen recently featured on the ‘Silver Threading’ blog. Go here if you would like to read more about her and her writing technique.

1Marie Marshall has several things ‘bubbling under’ at present, so we won’t mention them until they come to the boil. However, if you would like to read eight of her poems that have never been published before now, either on line or in print, you might like to take note of this. Marie accepted an invitation from the Texas-based Poets Collective to contribute to their new anthology Collect the Day, in which more than thirty poets have written about various times of day. If you are a follower of Marie’s daily blog of poetic fragments, you will be familiar with her A dem●n’s diary series; well, there are four new poems in that series included in her eight.

Ben Crystal

Ben Crystal

Meanwhile Paul, the mainstay of this agency, has been out-and-about at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and will be until the end of the month. In Edinburgh’s Charlotte Square, Paul has been rubbing shoulders with authors, poets, publishers, actors, academics, TV personalities, and other festival-goers. He was thrilled to meet Professor David Crystal, the UK’s foremost expert in Linguistics, and to have a long chat with his son, Shakespearean actor Ben Crystal, of whom Paul is a great fan.

Paul may write an account of his Edinburgh fortnight later in this update column. He has still to see Meera Syal and to attend a one-woman version of Richard III at a Fringe venue, amongst other things.

The August busy-ness continues!


August is Festival Month

Bluesman Alvin Youngblood Hart at Perth Southern Fried.

Bluesman Alvin Youngblood Hart at Perth Southern Fried.

It seems that August is a rare old month for festivals here in Scotland, festivals of everything and anything. Bank Holiday weekend kicked off with Southern Fried in Perth, a celebration mainly of American Roots music, but these days seemingly taking in everything from food to hot rod cars. The gigs at Perth Concert Hall and other venues around the town are pretty darned good – you can read reviews of some of them here, here, and here.

Hot on the heels of Southern Fried comes the Pittenweem Arts Festival. This is another event that seems to have grown over the years. From fairly humble beginnings it now takes over the whole of the picturesque town in the East Neuk of Fife, with resident artists opening their homes and studios for the public to traipse in and out, or renting space in shops, halls, lock-up garages, anywhere. As well as the official venues, a strong ‘Fringe‘ has developed, until it seems as though there is no longer any space left anywhere.

Meanwhile, of course Edinburgh Festival has been getting underway in the Capital, with its own famous Fringe too. By the last couple of weeks of the month the Edinburgh International Book Festival will be full swing in Charlotte Square, with talks, book signings, literary discussions, interviews, and many other events. Bookseeker Agency‘s own Paul Thompson has been at Perth and Pittenweem, and will be at the Book Festival too reviewing some of the events and meeting people, so keep an eye open for him. Check the Contact page on this web site for a photo.

So far the Scottish weather has been fairly kind for festival-goers. Let’s hope that continues.

Hot rod cars at Perth Southern Fried.

Hot rod cars at Perth Southern Fried.

Artists Lesley Haycock and Chloe Brown at Pittenweem.

Artists Lesley Haycock and Chloe Brown at Pittenweem.

Flowers, near St Fillan's Cave, Pittenweem.

Flowers, near St Fillan’s Cave, Pittenweem.

Edinburgh Book Festival atmosphere - queues are part of the culture!

Edinburgh Book Festival atmosphere – queues are part of the culture!