Friday’s highlights include Julian Cope, one of contemporary music’s most interesting chaps – as well as one of the busiest, judging by his output as a musician, author, historian, antiquarian, cultural commentator, and now, novelist. He’ll be talking about and reading from his self-proclaimed ‘time shifting, gnostic, hooligan road novel’ One Three One. Comedienne, writer and actor Katy Brand will also be talking about her debut novel, Brenda Monk is Funny, which tells darkly humorous story of the fragile underbelly of being professionally funny. Scotland’s upcoming independence referendum will be also front and centre when former prime minister Gordon Brown talks with award-winning writer and journalist Alistair Moffat about his new book My Scotland, Our Britain: A Future Worth Sharing.
Saturday will see the handing out of the inaugural Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. The prize of £20,000 comes from Morgan’s own estate with the mission statement of rewarding the best poets in Scotland under 30. The event will have the shortlisted poets giving readings, followed by judges Stewart Conn and Jen Hadfield deciding on the winner, and Scottish poet and novelist> Jackie Kay presenting the award. Tartan noir author Christopher Brookmyre will be discussing his latest novel Flesh Wounds in conversation with BBC Scotland’s political editor Brian Taylor, and in a joint event, writers Karin Altenberg and Dea Brøvig will be discussing their recently-released and acclaimed novels, Breaking Light and The Last Boat Home, the latter of which is nominated for the festival’s First Book Award.
On Sunday, the primary artist of the Walking Dead comic books series, Charlie Adlard will be talking about his art, and how it feels to be involved in something of a pop-culture phenomenon following the outrageous success of the post-apocalyptic horror series on the back of having spawned a wildly popular TV show of the same name. Northern Irish author Maggie O’Farrell will be talking about how she constructed her most recent, and highly-praised, novel Instructions For a Heatwave. Another highlight is Cambridge historian and naturalist Helen MacDonald discussing her memoir H Is For Hawk, which was released last month to almost unanimous 5-star reviews. It tells the touching story of the author’s quest to become a falconer by acquiring and training the wildest of British birds – the goshawk – after the sudden death of her father, and inspired by the writings of TH White.
Additionally, the Edinburgh Book Festival Fringe will be ongoing throughout the weekend at Word Power books, featuring a plethora of free readings and discussions daily.