Edinburgh Here I Come

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014 Brochure Cover


During the Festival Fringe we have regularly rented a house or flat in some cheaper part of Edinburgh to accommodate family, friends and company members while my husband Tim puts on a show at the Traverse.

This means a part of my August has often been spent in a mad rush of shows, galleries, and keeping the children happy (Edinburgh Dungeon, Zoo, etc.) while the old man works. Hours, perhaps even days, have been spent eating chilli nachos and drinking Hendricks and tonic in the Traverse Bar, waiting for the next show, or for Tim to be interviewed, or meeting actors, playwrights, directors and bookers from around the world. It has always been fun, but it has also been frantic.

Edinburgh Book Festival, located in a collection of marquees in the delightfully bosky Charlotte Square, is my bookish retreat from all that Fringe madness.

It is an international festival with a stellar line up, and I have always been a grateful and enthusiastic punter. First as an aspiring children’s writer-illustrator, then as an aspiring novelist, then as a published novelist.

With my kids, I have seen many great children’s authors and illustrators there, including Michael Rosen, Jacqueline Wilson, Sara Fanelli and Lauren Child. My youngest and I once attended a fantastic young people’s screenwriting session by William Nicholson (he of Gladiator). I have also slunk off either on my own or with my older two to see many adult authors, including Esther Freud, Julie Myerson, Jeanette Winterson, Ali Smith and Lionel Shriver and I’ve done dozens of writing workshops there over the years, too.

But I  have never, ever, had access to the hallowed authors’ yurt. Oh, except the one time my then-publicist Sam “I-can-fix-it-for-you” Eades got me in as one of Neil Gaiman’s extended posse. Yeah. That was pretty cool. And it’s true, there’s free EVERYTHING in that yurt.

But what I mean is I have never had access to the yurt as an appearing author.

But guess what? Thanks to Sam, (by way, I like to think, of a parting gift to me before she left for another publisher):


So, in a couple of weeks’ time, I am taking Tim up to Edinburgh (he’s not doing a show there this year) on my ticket. We are staying in a nice hotel, just the two of us, (the children having for the most part, grown up), and I am appearing with Jean Hanff Korelitz to talk about the things we’d rather forget, in relation to our two latest novels, You Should Have Known (Jean) and The Long Fall (me). I’ve just read Jean’s book, and it was, quite literally, unputdownable (if my next one is late to hit the shelves, I have Jean to blame for taking me away from it for two whole days).

If you’re around town, do come and see us. We’re on Mon 18 Aug, from 8:30pm – 9:30pm in the ScottishPower Foundation Studio. More info here.

I’m also proud to be reading for the Amnesty International Imprisoned Writers series at 5.30pm on 17 August in the Royal Bank of Scotland Garden Theatre (free event).


While we’re there, we’ll also (*plug*) be taking in Lorraine and Alan (*plug*) 1.30pm, 30th Jul- 25th Aug at the Pleasance. Why this particular show? Because, having grown up eavesdropping in the Traverse Bar, my Nel has written and directed it. That’s why. And it’s bloody good, too – a modern retelling of the Selkie myth with live music, real water, and hundreds and hundreds of plastic bottles (*plug*). Go and see it.

One thought on “Edinburgh Here I Come

  1. I have had it pointed out to me (not by the man himself, I must add, who has shown remarkable restraint) that Tim has got a show on at Edinburgh this year. His relay play HOST, which opened at Brighton Fringe Festival this year, is on at The Drill Hall, hosted by Forest Fringe.

    But he’s still coming up on my ticket.

    Not that it’s a competition or anything.

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