Getting ready for the Edinburgh International Book Festival (wherever you are).

It’s so exciting to think that after two years, the Edinburgh International Book Festival is back. And it’s even bigger. There are over 600 events happening over the fortnight (last two weeks in August) and many, if not most, are also live-streamed, with a ‘pay what you can’ fee. Bookings open next week (Thursday 23rd June at 10am to be precise) so my blog this month focused on my personal selection of things not to miss. But don’t take my word for it, have a look at the whole brochure on line and see what you think.
Of course the book festival is only a tiny part of the madness that is Edinburgh in August, so in case you are in the city, don’t miss out on the fringe as well. It is mad trying to choose anything; I suggest you just put in the time you’re available and see what’s on at the precise moment. The other way to choose is to wander down the Royal Mile and collect leaflets from the masses of performers who loiter there, begging you to come and see their shows.Also if you’re interested in comedy, go to one of the variety shows early on, like Laughing Horse where you will see anything up to 20 acts in 5-10 minute slots, and from that you can decide which one you fancy spending a whole hour with. My favourite comedians discovered at previous years’ fringes are Alasdair Beckett King and Foil, Arms and Hogg, though the latter are so popular now from their YouTube channel, that they are likely to sell out before August.
I’m getting excited already, and I hope my excitement is infectious. See you there – virtually or in person!
(photo below is Ian McKellan in his one man show at the last event I saw in real life a the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019)

How to write

This month’s recommended how to write book seems an appropriate one to offer you as we move towards the book festival, which is all about reading. I adore Lucy Mangan and so I was keen to read this book. It did not disappoint. It’s a mixture of memoir, fact and book review, full of interesting snippets. Did you know how the Hungry Caterpillar came out, for instance? How much do you know about Enid Blyton? All written in her charming and engaging style, I’m sure you’ll love this book too. (And I know it’s not a ‘how to write’ book exactly, but to write, you have to be a discerning reader, and part of that is thinking about the stories behind the books you love).

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