Tag Archives: Edinburgh International Book Festival

Paying attention

Birnam, the village where I live, and neighbouring Dunkeld, across the river, have a combined population of just 1,100 souls. For our size we’re unusual in having an arts centre, fully equipped with a 150-seater auditorium, studio and meeting spaces, … Continue reading

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Ends of the earth

In summer 2003 I was invited to chair an event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The book in question was by a writer I knew and admired but had never met. The event was sponsored by a small Edinburgh … Continue reading

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Other humans

I have been finding lately that a conversation about empathy is a good starting point for workshops on any kind of business writing. It breaks the ice and gets people talking together about something of which everyone has some kind … Continue reading

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Connection men

In Russell Hoban’s extraordinary post-nuclear novel Riddley Walker, there are characters known as ‘connection men’, storytellers whose job it is to try and piece things together, reinforce the codes that bind their small communities, and at the same time make … Continue reading

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Ex libris

The thing I most remember from my student days about the main Aberdeen University library was the carved mouse climbing the leg of each chair. It was a lovely touch, irreverent yet also somehow appropriate to what I remember as … Continue reading

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Curiouser and curiouser

A couple of times most weeks I take the train to Edinburgh. For several miles the line follows the Fife coast. There’s a long view south under huge skies across the Forth Estuary to Edinburgh and its acropolis, the Pentland … Continue reading

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Tall trees

A twenty-minute walk from my house there’s an eighteenth century pinetum, enfolded in a bend of the River Braan. The Hermitage, as it’s known, was created for the Dukes of Atholl as an extension of the gardens of their second … Continue reading

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Who dares …

I have spent most of this week in Charlotte Square, home of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, drinking too much coffee, eating too many sandwiches, but revelling in my annual literary fix – the company of other writers. Some are … Continue reading

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Yesterday – to borrow the immortal words of the unknown football commentator – was a day of two halves. Well … seven-eighths and one-eighth to be more precise, but the contrast was less unevenly marked. There’s an equation that goes: … Continue reading

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