Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Festivals 2010: a book at bedtime

The title is a bit of a misnomer; the books aren't at bedtime, they're all day - and bedtime is something that might happen at the very end if you're lucky. Someone joked that 'September' was an ancient word meaning 'time of rest' and in Edinburgh I could believe it.


So the Edinburgh International Book Festival is here. From August 14-30 the gardens in Charlotte Square are jammed with people who write and people who read. And for the first week, it's me on camera duty - not counting the Press photographers, which I don't... As is traditional, the Festival was opened with the Soweto Gospel Choir providing a joyful background of music. And as they sang, the sun came out...



And so it goes. The sun drenched the site, leaving the staff happy but sweaty, as some of the awnings and passageways resemble nothing more than picturesque, people-sized polytunnels.



It's not just sun, fun and merriment though. Philip Pullman pulled in a huge crowd for his event, discussing his new novel The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ two former Bishops, Richard Harries and Richard Holloway.



Foolishly, there were a fair number of children in the audience - presumably attached to adults who don't read beyond the author's name. It certainly filled the 500 seater main theatre though.



The sun continued to beat down, and those more accustomed to warm climates were entirely and unquestionably happy about this.



  By the evening of the first day some of the staff were beginning to look a touch frazzled.



There may or may not have been a party in the Spiegeltent.



At any rate, people were up late having fun.



I'll get day 2 as soon as I can fit it in!



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