Mark Thomas : Trespass Work in Progress

Mark Thomas explores the importance of public spaces, how we work and relate to each other in his Edinburgh Fringe play, ‘Trespass Work in Progress’.

Trespass carries on from where Mark’s previous show 100 Acts of Minor Dissent left off. Mark asks the question: If the ramblers of the 1930s were here now what would they do to open up the cities? How do we turn the skyscrapers and corporate squares into our playgrounds?

Mark sets out to try and carve a small space in the urban world where mischief and random chance can lurk. No one knows where this show is going to end up so join Mark at the start of the project.

Ian Bell : Time Out of Mind

Speaking at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival, author Ian Bell discusses his book Time Out of Mind, the second part of his documentation of the life and career of Bob Dylan. While not serving as a biography as such, the book aims to present a critical analysis of Dylan’s work from the 70s onwards.

Born, raised and educated in Edinburgh, Ian Bell is a past holder of the George Orwell Prize for Political Journalism and the award-winning author of Dreams of Exile, a biography of Robert Louis Stevenson. Formerly the Scottish editor of The Observer, he is a columnist with The Herald and the Sunday Herald.

Cat Boyd : Scottish Independence – A Feminist Response

Writer and activist Cat Boyd, was interviewed in October for at the Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair, held at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall. Boyd co-wrote ‘Scottish Independance: A Feminist Response’ with Jenny Morrison, which aims to explore the contemporary relevance of Scottish feminist history, and what kind of challenges it faces today, and aims to present positive alternatives for after 2014.


Angela Haggerty : Radical Independence Conference 2014

Angela Haggerty is a journalist, broadcaster and editor based in the west of Scotland and works at The Drum magazine and Common Weal. Haggerty was at the Radical Independence Conference, which was held in Glasgow, in November 2014, and saw an attendance of 3000 people. The conference included talks from a number of speakers such as politicians, writers, journalists and many others involved in the independence movement.

The Radical Independence Campaign is dedicated to working towards creating an alternative vision of independence for Scotland. The campaign has played a key part in supporting the independence referendum, boosting grassroots support from around the country and providing a platform for those wishing to discuss Scotland’s future.

This clip was first published on Bella Caledonia.

Cat Boyd : Radical Independence Conference 2014

Writer and co-founder of the Radical Independence Campaign, Cat Boyd, talks at the Radical Independence Conference, which was held in Glasgow, in November 2014. The event saw an attendance of 3000 people, and talks from a number of speakers such as politicians, writers, journalists and many others involved in the independence movement.

The Radical Independence Campaign is dedicated to working towards creating an alternative vision of independence for Scotland. The campaign has played a key part in supporting the independence referendum, boosting grassroots support from around the country and providing a platform for those wishing to discuss Scotland’s future.

This video was first published on Bella Caledonia.

Michael Pedersen : Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship 2015

Writer, poet, Neu Reekie founder and all round lyrical whizzkid Michael Pedersen is a recent recipient of the Scottish Book Trust’s Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship. Pedersen will spend a month at the Hôtel Chevillon International Arts Centre at Grez-sur-Loing in France, working on a second collection of poetry and sculpting a feature film script – a collaboration with Scottish Director Robert McKillop.


Liz Lochhead : Poems For The Heart

Scots Makar, Liz Lochhead, talks about the importance of learning poems off by heart, illustrating her point with a snippet of Robert Burns’ poem A Man’s A Man For A’ That.

Although going to Glasgow School of Art, and continuing a career in art tuition, Liz Lochhead always wrote and performed poetry. She was a member of the prestigious writer’s group initiated by Philip Hobsbaum and which included the new talents of Alasdair Gray, Tom Leonard and James Kelman.

In her career, Lochhead produced many volumes of poems, as well as monologues and performance pieces. Her works have paved the way for female voices within poetry, and she has been celebrated for her style of performance.

Polly Toynbee and David Walker : Cameron’s Coup

Polly Toynbee and David Walker appear at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival to talk about their past critiques of British Parliament, their new work, which dissects David Cameron’s five years in Parliament, and their experience of writing together.

Polly Toynbee is a British journalist who currently works as a columnist for the Guardian. She was formerly BBC social affairs editor, columnist and associate editor of the Independent, co-editor of the Washington Monthly and a reporter and feature writer for the Observer.

David Walker is contributing editor to the Public Leaders Network and former director of public reporting at the Audit Commission.

Raj Chakraborti : Tariq Ali, George Monbiot and William Dalrymple

In this edition of Writers Stories from the Edinburgh International Book Festival of 2003 Raj Chakraborti explores Don Delillo’s conceit that terrorists possess the place in our consciousness once occupied by novelists. Chakraborti’s interview with Tariq Ali draws insights into the continuing Western domination. While George Monbiot’s view is that the poorer nations hold the key to a positive and egalitarian future William Dallrymple look further back to the underpinnings of imperialism, to those centuries of a more equal if not reverent engagement with India before the onset of economic subjugation.

Malu Halasa : Syria Speaks – Arts and Culture from the Frontline

Writer Malu Halasa talks to Giulia Trentacosti about what she’s doing at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival. Along with Zaher Omareen & Nawara Mahfoud, Halasa co-edited Syria Speaks : Arts and Culture from the Frontline,which explores the work of writers, photographers, artists, and journalists. The book came about after the three editors wanted to put on a series of exhibitions in response to the Syrian Uprising in 2011.

Malu Halasa is an editor and journalist. She is co-editor of Creating Spaces of Freedom: Culture in Defiance (Saqi Books, 2004), Transit Beirut: New Writing and Images (Saqi Books, 2004), Kaveh Golestan 1950–2003: Recording the Truth in Iran (Hatje Cantz, 2007) and The Secret Life of Syrian Lingerie (Chronicle Books, 2008). Former managing editor of the Prince Claus Fund Library and a founding editor of Tank magazine, she writes for the British press.


Andrew O’Hagan : The Illuminations

Edinburgh welcomes back one of Scotland’s most ferociously-talented writers. Andrew O’Hagan’s fifth novel, The Illuminations, weaves two linked stories together: the older woman, Anne Quirk, is a Scottish photographer struggling to keep hold of her memories, the younger man is her grandson Luke, an Afghanistan veteran whose experiences are ones he’d rather forget. Anne and Luke embark on a journey to confront a mystery from Anne’s past. Interviewed by Frances Hider at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Doug Johnstone : The Jump

Ricky Brown interviews Doug Johnstone about his crime novels, writing process and the importance of setting at the Edinburgh Book Festival.

Once a nuclear physicist, Doug Johnstone is now a successful writer and freelance journalist (and blogger) based in Edinburgh. In 2006, the Sunday Herald hailed him as one of Scotland’s finest new talents. Tombstoning (2006) was followed by The Ossians (2009) – two thrilling and thoughtful novels. Ian Rankin said of The Ossians: ‘[Johnstone’s] descriptions of ‘peripheral Scotland’ were telling and accurate … The book kept me guessing and I was genuinely sorry when there was nothing left to read’. The Ossians features one of Johnstone’s biggest passions – music. He’s a singer, songwriter and instrumentalist in his band Northern Alliance, which has become something of a cult hit.

Doug Johnstone’s new novel, The Jump, features a mother trying to seek redemption in the wake of her son’s suicide.

Rob Doyle : Here Are the Young Men

Here Are the Young Men depicts life for four young men on the savage streets of Dublin.
Rob Doyle was born in Dublin, and holds a first-class honours degree in Philosophy and an MPhil in Psychoanalysis from Trinity College Dublin. For the past several years he has lived in Asia, South America, the US, Sicily, and London, and he currently lives in Paris.

Doyle turns his attention back to Ireland, and his hometown of Dublin, in his debut novel, Here Are the Young Men. Matthew, Rez, Cocker and Kearney face the void of their post-school lives, and spend their first summer of freedom in a savage apprenticeship on the streets of Dublin. Roaming aimlessly through the city, fuelled by drugs and dark fantasies, the teenagers spiral into self-destruction, fleeing a reality they despise.

Here Are the Young Men brilliantly captures the anxieties and the fears of teenage years and is an ambitious portrait of a jilted generation. Fellow Irish novelist John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, described the book as ‘a powerful, passionate and electrifying novel’.

Gavin Francis : Adventures in Human Being

Frances Hider interviews Gavin Francis about his latest book in another video from our Edinburgh International Book Festival author interview series.

Edinburgh GP Gavin Francis spent over a year at a remote research station to write the Scottish Book of the Year-winning Empire Antarctica, but now he’s looking inwards for Adventures in Human Being. While we live with our own bodies, few of us really know what’s actually going on inside. Francis reflects on the surprising variety of ways the body has been imagined and portrayed over the centuries.

Michael Rosen : Every Day is a School Day

Bestselling author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen is issuing a passionate plea to parents, families and children: to look beyond the school gates to see and learn about the world afresh. From understanding politics and religion to enjoying poetry and practical jokes, Rosen offers engaging ways to calm anxious parents and inspire bored children.

Caroline Criado-Perez : Do it Like a Woman

Ricky Brown talks to Caroline Criado-Perez at the Edinburgh Book Festival about her book ‘Do it Like a Woman: … And Change the World’.

Winner of the Liberty Human Rights Campaigner of the Year award, Caroline Criado-Perez is well known as a champion of international feminism. In Do It Like a Woman she celebrates the heroic acts of women across the world, from the first woman to cross the Antarctic alone, to the members of Russian band Pussy Riot who dared to stand up to Putin. Today she presents her necessary manifesto for women everywhere.

Book Week Scotland, 23 – 29 November 2015

We interviewed Marc Lambert the CEO of Scottish Book Trust and author Anne Donovan about the exciting events at this years Book Week Scotland.

Book Week Scotland is a week-long celebration of books and reading that takes place every November. During Book Week, people of all ages and walks of life will come together in libraries, schools, community venues and workplaces to share and enjoy books and reading. They will be joined in this celebration by Scotland’s authors, poets, playwrights, storytellers and illustrators to bring a packed programme of events and projects to life.

Book Week Scotland 2015 will take place from Monday 23 – Sunday 29 November 2015.

A D Miller : The Faithful Couple

Olivia Vitazkova interviews A D Miller the author of Snowdrop on the moral undertow of his new novel The Faithful Couple. Two young British men on the cusp of adulthood, meet at a hostel in San Diego. They strike up a friendship that, while platonic, feels as intoxicating as a romance; they travel up the coast together, harmlessly competitive, innocently collusive, wrapped up in each other. On a camping trip to Yosemite they lead each other to behave in ways that, years later, they will desperately regret.

Miller’s tale is of a relationship built on shared guilt and a secret betrayal, The Faithful Couple follows Neil and Adam across two decades, through girlfriends and wives, success and failure, children and bereavements, as power and remorse ebb between them.

Patrick Gale : A Place Called Winter

Bridgett Richards talks with Patrick Gale about his new novel A Place Called Winter which moves far from his customary Cornwall location. The novel evokes the harsh landscapes of the Canadian prairie for those who emigrated from Britain to make their lives there. This warm-hearted, devastating story has an added twist: it’s the breathtaking fictionalised tale of Gale’s own great-grandfather.

Sean Michaels : Us Conductors

Ali Millar interviews Sean Michaels on his debut novel, Us Conductors. The novel concerns the creator of one of the world’s strangest instruments. Locked in a cabin aboard a ship bearing him back to Russia and away from the love of his life, Lev Sergeyvich Termen begins to type his story: a tale of electricity, romance and the invention of the the theremin. He recollects his early years as a scientist forging breakthroughs during the Bolshevik Revolution and his decade as a Manhattan celebrity and reluctant Soviet spy.

Steeped in beauty, wonder and looping heartbreak, Sean Michaels’s debut novel explores the lies we tell, the truths we imagine, and the lengths we go to survive. Us Conductors is only the second debut to win Canada’s prestigious Giller Prize.

Louise Welsh : Death is a Welcome Guest

Louise Welsh recently published Death is a Welcome Guest, the second part in her Plague Times trilogy following last year’s A Lovely Way to Burn. Welsh believes good thrillers are a reflection of the times they are written in. ‘The thrillers I like best are well-observed, redolent of a particular place, fast-paced and political,’ she tells us.

At the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Welsh talked about the worlds she has been able to construct within her trilogy. ‘The trilogy follows the progress of a few survivors during a contemporary pandemic,’ she explains. ‘It’s a love letter to the times we live in. I walk around thinking how wonderful our flawed world is and imagining its collapse.’

Rachel Cusk : Outline

In conversation with Ali Millar at the 2015 Edinburgh International Book Festival, Rachel Cusk introduces her new novel Outline, a novel the New York Times has described as ‘lethally intelligent’ and ‘a heartbreaking portrait of poise, sympathy and regret’.

Herring Tales : Donald S. Murray

“How the silver darlings shaped human Taste”

An interview at the Shetland Library, with Donald S. Murray, author, poet and educator. Murray is a Hebridean by birth now resident in the Shetland Isles where he works and writes in collaboration with Doug Robertson who did the illustration. Taking a fresh look at the importance of the humble herring in the diverse cultures and communities in Europe and further afield, the writing is infused with a wealth of humour infused story telling, in the quirky, slightly irreverent tone which has become his trademark and follows from his earlier published work such as The Guga Stone, Small expectations et al.

A highlight of the evening was the appreciation of the rather arcane Hebridean delicacy the “Guga” a cured young gannet enjoyed in the Hebridean archipeligo from time immemorial, eliciting surprise and curiosity which Donald intends to offer for tasting this week at the Shetland museum at an event in aid of international refugees.

Andrew Cockburn : Kill Chain

As the methods of warfare get more brutal, subtlety and secrecy become valid tools in overpowering enemy forces. For his book Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins, Andrew Cockburn, the Washington editor of Harper’s, has been quietly researching the US policy on drones. Despite the lack of evidence for their effectiveness in both Afghanistan and Iraq, these high-tech assassins have become a crucial weapon in Obama’s wars.

To learn more about these important issues and Kill Chain watch our video interview with Andrew Cockburn at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Jack Klaff : Martha Gellhorn

The work and life of Martha Gellhorn, the great war correspondent who covered practically every trouble-spot on earth for six decades, including the Spanish Civil War, D-Day, Dachau, Viet Nam, Greenham Common, El Salvador and Mandela’s inauguration. Gellhorn’s main message was, ‘War 
happens to PEOPLE.’

She married Hemingway, learned from him and then, journalistically, outstripped him. Presidents, geniuses and generals sought her friendship, but she never lost the common touch. Scores of today’s foremost journalists were cheered on, championed and
 inspired by her.

Jack Klaff recalls his own encounters with Gellhorn in a piece at the Summerhall Fringe Festival 2015 interweaving her wildest and wittiest stories with her unmatchable war reports.

O’Bheal : Weekly Poetry Night in Cork


Welcome to Ó Bhéal, Cork’s weekly poetry event. Featuring guest poets, a poetry challenge and later open-mic, Ó Bhéal has become a prominent, thriving feature in the cultural landscape of the Cork arts community.

Ó Bhéal (Irish for ‘by word of mouth’) creates an original platform for established and non-established poets alike, allowing the public consistent access to contemporary poetry. Many as a result have engaged with the art form for the first time, and a number of these have remained actively writing and seeing their works accepted into print.

The event is held on Mondays at 9.30 pm, upstairs in The Hayloft bar, above The Long Valley, one of Cork’s favourite and most iconic poetry venues. It is inclusive of all poetry styles and adult demographics. Do come along and experience some contemporary poetry in a friendly setting.