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University of Edinburgh’s School of Law – A Public Lecture by John Calder

October 13, 2013

We live in a time when the internet has made pornography freely available and computer games and movies thrive on a spectacle of violence and sex. It is interesting to note that in post-WWII Britain ‘no four letter word could be printed’ and ‘acts legal to perform could not be described’ in...

National Poetry Day: Kapka Kassabova and C.K. Stead

October 7, 2013

The theme for this year’s National Poetry Day was water. An audience of thirty in Edinburgh’s Scottish Poetry Library were given a thorough soaking in the verse of C.K. Stead and Kapka Kassabova. Both writers have connections with New Zealand. Kassabova was born in Bulgaria, studied in New Zealand,...

Muriel Spark: A Glance through An Open Door

October 3, 2013

In July 1992, Muriel Sarah Camberg Spark, daughter of Edinburgh, returned to the city of her birth for the formal presentation of some of her papers to the National Library of Scotland at George IV Bridge.  Anyone granted access to the papers will be astonished at the bulk, range, and variety of the...

New Poetry Reviews: George Gunn ‘A Northerly Land’ and Patricia Ace ‘Fabulous Beast’

September 26, 2013

A Northerly Land, by George Gunn, seems, at first glance, to be an unprepossessing collection. The production of the book is not good – the text of the poems is badly centred, to the point where some of it is some of it is cut off at the edges; the copyright information, the acknowledgements and epigraphs...

Found at Sea

September 19, 2013

Heaney is dead and buried. ‘Death of a Naturalist’ holds no comfort, only brings streams of tears. Instead, I have turned to Greig for solace, for escape and for meaning. Greig has a similar honesty. He has the depth of emotion I crave, but without the watering eyes. Greig’s Found at Sea lives...

EIBF: Christopher Clark

August 30, 2013

26/08/2013 19.00: Christopher Clark You would be forgiven for shrugging your shoulders on hearing there has been yet another book published on World War One. But with the centenary of its outbreak now less than a year away there will be plenty more to come. Therefore it was no surprise that Christopher...

EIBF: Ceri Levy chaired by Bryan Talbot

August 28, 2013

25/08/2013 20.30: Ceri Levy  ‘My job tonight is very easy. I don’t have to do anything,’ said chair Bryan Talbot after his paltry introduction to documentary film maker Ceri Levy. The rest of the event was given over to Levy. He talked about the genesis of his new book, Extinct...

EIBF: Marcel Theroux with John Gray

August 26, 2013

24/08/2013 15.30: Marcel Theroux with John Gray John Gray introduced Marcel Theroux’s novel Strange Bodies as a ‘speculative thriller’ that explores transhumanism, i.e. the possibility of escaping death through technology. Gray was an ideal chair as his 2011 book The Immortalization Commission:...

EIBF: John Gray

August 24, 2013

23/08/2013 15.00: John Gray Esteemed political philosopher John Gray  has written The Silence of Animals, a sequel to his 2002 publication Straw Dogs. Gray lectured for fifteen minutes on his philosophical position before the audience was given a chance to respond. He made clear...

EIBF: Laurie Penny with Faisal Islam

August 24, 2013

Edinburgh International Book Festival 20/08/2013 16.00: Laurie Penny In July 2012 two feminists, Laurie Penny and Molly Crabapple, headed to Greece. Their plan was to experience and document the civil unrest spreading through the country. The result is Discordia, a 30,000 word journalistic...