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All the fun of the fair

Posted By Ferelith M. Hordon, 27 August 2018
All the fun of the Fair YLG is fun – especially when it provides the excuse to go all the way up to Edinburgh to the Book Festival. I am not saying that I had the honour of actually doing anything, but knowing that members of the Committee (yes, a potential added perk) were chairing various sessions it seemed the perfect opportunity. I knew Edinburgh, of course, having grown up there – but that was before the Book Festival. Nor was I staying for long; three packed days that were well worth the journey. The programme was (is) mouth-watering; the opportunities missed! Phillip Pullman, Joy Court chairing sessions on the Carnegie and the Greenaway, Chris Riddell, Marcus Sedgwick....but let us not repine. I was able to enjoy not just one session with Melvin Burgess wowing a tent full of teenagers with his anarchic views but a brilliant discussion chaired by Agnès Guyon involving Melvin, Steven Camden and a new author on the block. Liz MacWhirter. Look out for their books – The Lost Witch from Melvin, Steven’s Nobody Real and Black Snow Falling by Liz MacWhirter. A beautiful package; let us hope it makes its way south since it has been published by a small independent Scottish press, Scotland Street Press. Of course the Festival is not just aimed at children. As at Hay the main programme is devoted to an adult readership. But a children’s librarian cannot be so confined. As a result I had the great pleasure of hearing Martin Salisbury as he took us a quick canter through the history of the Ilustrated Dust Cover from the early 20th century to the 1970s. It was fascinating to see how many established artists also created these covers – Edward Bawden for one. Then since translation has become a real interest and focus, it was fascinating to attend the Translation Duel hosted by Danny Hahn at which he invited two expert translators to translate the same text and then discuss the differences – many. I ended my stay with a conversation between Hilary Spurling and Jenny Uglow around their recent biographies; and guess what, Jenny Uglow’s deals with that icon of children’s nonsense, Edward Lear. A fitting conclusion I felt as I ran for my train south.

Tags:  Edinburgh Book Festival 

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