With news of this year’s event programme still fresh, and my heart still pounding like a Spaniard’s drum at a Euro ’12 football match, I thought I’d take a moment to highlight a few of the events that I’m most excited about in this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival programme. It’s early days, and I’m sure I’ve overlooked a ton of stuff, but as it stands these are the upcoming events that I’m already wagging my tail hard for (author links lead to event pages on EdBookFest website)
The magnificence of translated fiction
So, I may still be absorbing the sheer quantity and quality of events featuring at this year’s EdBookFest, but a few favourites stand out. Obviously I’m super excited about the wealth of foreign fiction that’s coming to EdBookFest again this year. IFFP winner, Aharon Appelfeld, Dutch author Gerbrand Bakker (latest novel, The Detour (Harvill Secker), Norwegian Karl Ove Knausgaard (A Death in the Family (Harvill Secker)), Hungarian László Krasznahorkai (author of classic novel, Satantango (Tuskar Rock) who’s in conversation with Carlos Gamerro (The Islands), author of publisher And Other Stories, who publish some amazing works-in-translation), and the French author taking the translated literary world by storm right now – Laurent Binet, with his novel HHhH (Harvill Secker). I’m also excited by the concept of the ‘translation duels’ events – two in total: one covering French, and the other, Spanish – which pit leading translators against one another in a duel..well…hopefully not to the death.
Short fiction goodness
My short fiction appetite looks to be sated by this year’s offerings at EdBookFest. Top of the bill is of course Sunday Times Short Story Award winner Kevin Barry, who returns to EdBookFest for his third year in a row. This year, Barry’s joining in an event with Isreali short story legend Etgar Keret, and I can’t even put into words just how excited I am. And if that’s not enough for me, Nathan Englander is also coming to the festival, not only to join in short story conservation with Junot Díaz, but to also feature in a Masterclass with Etgar Keret. Wow, just WOW! Tag on the fact that Bloomsbury short publishing authors Jon McGregor (This isn’t the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You) and Lucy Wood (Diving Belles) are also coming to this year’s festival, and really, I don’t think my heart will be able to stand up to this much short fiction excitement during the month of August.
The delicious First Book Award
Regulars to RobAroundBooks will know that I have a soft spot for debuts, and having focussed on the First Book Award quite a lot at EdBookFest last year, I’m delighted to see that the award returns again this year, under new sponsor Anobii. It would take me way too long to run through those of the 45 nominated authors that I’m most excited about discovering, so I’ll name just three non-foreign authors (because I’ve covered my favourites in that category above) – Jenni Fagan (The Panopticon; William Heinemann), Will Wiles (Care of Wooden Floors; HarperPress) and Greg Baxter (The Apartment; Penguin Ireland) – and leave you to browse the other nominated authors and their books, at your leisure.
So, in a nutshell, this is what I’m most excited about so far, for this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival ((I forgot to mention an appearance by Joyce Carol Oates, who I missed in 2010 and regretted ever since). The organisers have once again in 2012, put together a programme of events that is staggering in its breadth and beathtaking in its depth. Every year I think the festival can’t get much better, but it always does. In reality I want to go to every event, but that of course is impossible. And so I will embrace those events which mean the most to me, and enjoy a connection with the authors and forms which never fail drive and motivate me, or to nurture my soul.
But of course, it’s not only the authors themselves that thrill me, and many other people, when it comes to EdBookFest. Perhaps more than anything else it’s the presence of the festival itself that enthrals. The atmosphere, the buzz, the meeting of beautiful minds, the unbridled love for literature – Charlotte Square Gardens is a truly magical place to be in August. It’s a true mecca for booklovers, and just being there is what probably motivates and drives me the most. 7 weeks and counting? However will I stand the strain? .
Your turn dear reader. If you’ve had the chance to browse this year’s EdbookFest programme (if not, why not? ), what are the events that you are most excited about? I’d love to know, just in case I’ve skimmed over something ‘golden’ . Please drop your comments in the usual place below.