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On the first day of August…

August 1, 2009

August. What a lovely, delightful month so full of promise and hope but tinged with sadness, regret and melancholy as we steadily approach September, where, unfortunately, we must return to studying. Until then, of course, we can enjoy the Summer (or the cold and wet and dull weather) with copious amounts of reading material, good food and fine wine or water, if you’re into the whole sobriety thing.

My August is really the start of my holiday; the previous two months were mere precursors to the fantastical and wonderful events of this month. On the fifteenth, I shall be heading to Edinburgh to attend the Literary Festival, International Festival and hopefully some of the Edinburgh Fringe. The programme of events looks something like this:

Edinburgh Literary Festival:

Iain Banks

Festival favourite Iain Banks slips effortlessly between his two writing personae – mainstream novelist and grand master of science fiction. From family business shenanigans in The Steep Approach to Garbadale to revenge on distant planets in Matter, these tales are the product of one of our most wildly imaginative literary minds. Always unmissable.

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman’s awe-inspiring creativity sculpts uniquely provocative stories. From his multi-layered graphic novels to his illustrious Newberry Medal-winning The Graveyard Book, his imagination knows no limits. Norman Mailer described his Sandman series as a ‘comic book for intellectuals’. Meet this master weaver of tales in an exceptional event. Ideal for families and absolutely not to be missed.

Richard Price

Oscar-nominated for The Colour of Money and writer on HBO’s phenomenally successful series The Wire, Hollywood screenwriter and novelist Richard Price is a master of dialogue. In his much-acclaimed novel Lush Life, he explores the cracks and shady underground networks beneath New York’s glamorous façade with characteristic exuberance; wry, profane, hilarious and tragic, sometimes all in a single sentence.

David Crystal

A great friend of the festival, the renowned and respected language expert has had a long and distinguished career picking apart the peculiarities and potency of our language. His new memoir Just a Phrase I’m Going Through, reflects back on his life and career, and looks at how and why we talk and write as we do in the 21st century.

Alasdair Gray

The celebrated novelist and artist Alasdair Gray was once better known as a playwright, a profession to which he recently returned. He wrote his first play aged eleven and has since written dramas for radio, television and stage. Join him for an unforgettable hour as he discusses and performs his dramatic works, including an intriguing glimpse at the as yet unmade movie of his fictional masterpiece Lanark.

Edinburgh International Festival:


Silviu Purcarete’s wild adaptation of this iconic tale is a large scale work with industrial music, pantomime, remarkable staging and a huge cast. Prepare to be assaulted by a vision of base instincts as you’re drawn (literally) into Faust’s apocalyptic nightmare of life and death. Agony and ecstasy in a land of orgies, torture and murder.

The cast includes Ilie Gheorghe as Faust, Ofelia Popii as Mephistopheles and over 100 actors and musicians. A section of this production is promenade.

Macabre theatre on a grand scale.


Turning a quizzical eye to the woes of the heart and reeking with scandal and scurrilous vice, Optimism transforms Voltaire’s classic satire of enlightened insanity, Candide, into a cutting commentary on the no-worries bravura of the Australian swagger.

Australian comedian Frank Woodley leads a wonderful bunch of clowns in this remarkable road trip. Religion, sex, disease and philosophy all cross our hero’s path as he travels across five continents through a multitude of moods.

Join the criminally cheerful Candide for an optimistic journey to Utopia and back.

Can’t wait.

So, where are you going on holiday…or where have you been this year? Also, has anyone else been to a literary festival before?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2009 5:48 pm

    “book-with-a-face or” – you are HILARIOUS! At my library, you can only use a computer for one hour. After that, you are logged out for the day. I never use computers at the library though, I’m there for the BOOKS 🙂

    Here’s a link to my answers.

    • August 4, 2009 1:44 pm

      Well thank you. That’s a good system. I agree, I have nothing against computers….I’m using one right now, but the most important part of a library is the books. Or something.

      Also, you posted your comment on the wrong post.

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