Get to know the authors: Mary Paulson-Ellis @mspaulsonellis and Graeme Macrae Burnet @GMacraeBurnet

MESSING WITH THE MIND  Saturday 8th October 2.45-4.15pm     LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Mary Paulson-Ellis, debut author of The Other Mrs Walker,  joins Graeme Macrae Burnet, whose His Bloody Project has been short listed for the 2016 Man Booker Prize, to talk about what inspired them to write their novels. They’ll discuss how they got into the mysterious minds of their characters and the appeal of psychological thrillers and the exploration of secrets, lies and deception. 

Chair: Graeme Howard

 

Mary Paulson-Ellis            The Other Mrs Walker by [Paulson-Ellis, Mary]

Mary Paulson-Ellis is a writer living in Edinburgh, Scotland. She likes to write about what she call the ‘murderous’ side of family life – the dark, the quirky and the strange. Her debut novel, The Other Mrs Walker, about a woman who finds families for dead people, is published by Mantle/Pan Macmillan. You can read a review of The Other Mrs Walker on Portobello Book Blog by clicking here

Graeme Macrae Burnet        His Bloody Project: Documents relating to the case of Roderick Macrae (Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2016) by [Burnet, Graeme Macrae]

Graeme Macrae Burnet was born and brought up in Kilmarnock and now lives in Glasgow, Scotland. His first novel, The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau, was called ‘a captivating psychological thriller’ by The Herald. His second novel, His Bloody Project, concerns a triple murder a crofting village in 1860’s Wester Ross. ‘A gripping crime story, a deeply imagined historical novel, and gloriously written,’ said The Sunday Herald Books of the Year, 2015. ‘A fine achievement from an ambitious and accomplished writer,’ said The National.

Get to know the editor: Sean Bradley

KNOW YOUR PLACE Saturday 8th October 2.45-3.45pm  

PORTOBELLO BAPTIST CHURCH CAFÉ

Sean Bradley is Chair of the Edinburgh Old Town Development Trust, publisher and editor of The Evergreen: A New Season in the North, a journal in four volumes based on polymath and urban planner Patrick Geddes’s 19th century Evergreens. He will discuss the continuing relevance of Geddes’s work in urban renewal.

Chair: Bill Jameson

Get to know the authors: Catherine Simpson @cath_simpson13 and Isla Dewar @IslaDewar1

Saturday 8th October: 1.30-2.30pm, Library Upstairs

AN OLD LADY TALKING THE BLUES

Novelists Isla Dewar, Women Talking Dirtyand Catherine Simpson, Truestory, discuss their adventures while writing, the catharsis they’ve experienced and problems they’ve encountered. They exchange views on favourite books, favourite bits of books, books they’d wish they’d written and books they’d like to write. Find out about their heroines, both living and on the page, and about the characters they admire, fear, love and hate.

Isla Dewar             

Isla Dewar was born in Edinburgh but now lives in the East Neuk of Fife with her husband. Prior to writing and publishing her novels Isla wrote articles for newspapers and magazines. Her first novel, Keeping Up with Magda, published in 1995, has been followed by a string of bestsellers: Giving Up on Ordinary, It Could Happen to You, Women Talking Dirty, Two Kinds of Wonderful, The Woman Who Painted Her Dreams and Dancing in a Distant Place. Her most recent novel, A Winter Bride, is set in 1950s Edinburgh.

Catherine Simpson         Truestory

Catherine Simpson was raised on a dairy farm in Lancashire. She won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award for her debut novel, Truestory, which was inspired by her experience of raising a child with autism.  You can read a review of Truestory on Portobello Book Blog by clicking here.

Get to know the authors – Catherine Hokin @cathokin and Ajay Close @ajayclose

 

Saturday 8th October – 1-2.30pm – Portobello Baptist Church Cafe

Dangerous Women

Catherine Hokin is a Glasgow-based author with a degree in History from Manchester University. She started writing seriously about 3 years ago and her debut novel, Blood and Roses, was published in January 2016. Ajay Close is a Scottish-based dramatist and writer of literary fiction. Her novels explore the emotional flashpoints of place, politics and family.

They join us to talk about what inspired them to write about women who shaped history. Catherine explores the fascinating story of medieval Queen Margaret of Anjou in her debut novel Blood and Roses.  Ajay’s A Petrol Scented Spring follows the extraordinary exploits of Edinburgh suffragette Arabella Scott.

Chair: Viv Cree

Blood and Roses by [Hokin, Catherine]

Blood and Roses tells the story of Margaret of Anjou (1430-82), wife of Henry VI and a key protagonist in the Wars of the Roses. This is a feminist revision of a woman frequently imagined only as the shadowy figure demonised by Shakespeare – Blood and Roses examines Margaret as a Queen unable to wield the power and authority she is capable of, as a wife trapped in marriage to a man born to be a saint and as a mother whose son meets a terrible fate she has set in motion. It is the story of a woman caught up in the pursuit of power, playing a game ultimately no one can control…

Petrol Scented Spring by [Close, Ajay]

‘When Donella Atkins meets ambitious doctor Hugh Ferguson Watson it is love at first sight, but the marriage is not happy. Donella thinks she knows why. Before she met him, Hugh force-fed several hunger-striking suffragettes. The redoubtable Arabella Scott he kept in isolation for five weeks, meeting her every day, talking together, touching… What really happened between Hugh and his prisoner patient? Did he fall for her idealism, or her looks? Was the battle of wills intoxicating and did she return his love? Cupid”s itch takes many forms. The one thing Donella knows for certain is it cannot be ignored. Based on real people and events, Cupid”s Itch is a riveting portrait of the women who dared to claim equality with men, and a fascinating exploration of passion, repression, jealousy and love.’

 

Get to know the author – Edward Ross @edward_ross

Saturday 8th October – 12.15-1.15pm – Library Upstairs

Filmish – Edward Ross

Edward Ross is a Portobello based comic artist and illustrator. A movie fan from a young age, he was always fascinated by the inner workings of his favourite movies. Pursuing this passion, Edward took his love of film and transformed it into comic form. He is recently back from success at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival 2016 and joins us to discuss his debut graphic novel Filmish: A Graphic Journey Through Film, an engaging look at the history of cinema and the fascinating stories behind our favourite films.

Chair: Stephen Goodall

Edinburgh-based cartoonist Edward Ross uses comics to illuminate the ideas behind our favourite films. In Filmish, Ross’s cartoon alter-ego guides readers through the annals of cinematic history, introducing us to some of the strange and fascinating concepts at work in the movies. Each chapter focuses on a particular theme – the body, architecture, language – and explores an eclectic mix of cinematic triumphs, from A Trip to the Moon to Aliens. Sitting within the tradition of bestselling non-fiction graphic novels like Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics and the Introducing…series, Filmish tackles serious issues – sexuality, race, censorship, propaganda – with authority and wit, throwing new light on some of the greatest films ever made.

Get to know the author – Michael Meighan

Michael Meighan

Saturday 8th October – 11am-12noon – Library Upstairs

Michael Meighan has written widely about the local and industrial history of Scotland. From his book The Forth Bridges Through Time he talks about the history and heritage of the iconic bridges and other crossings that have spanned the river.

Chair:  Peter Ross

The Forth Bridges Through Time by [Meighan, Michael]

The River Forth is one of Scotland’s great waterways. It has a majestic history and heritage, part of which is the Forth bridges. Of these, the most iconic is the Forth Rail Bridge, which opened in 1890. But there is also the Kincardine Bridge, opened in 1936 and once the longest swing bridge in Europe, the Forth Road Bridge, opened in 1964, and the new Queensferry Crossing, due to be completed in 2016. In this book, Michael Meighan looks at all these bridges as well as the Clackmannanshire Bridge and the fords, ferries and smaller bridges which preceded these great crossings. The Forth crossings have a special place in the history and culture of Scotland, and in the hearts of all Scots, and Michael Meighan pays tribute to them in a wonderful mix of both old and new images.

Get to know the author – Rebecca McKinney @bexmckinney

 

Saturday 8th October 10.30-12.30pm – Portobello Baptist Church Cafe

Writing workshop – Crosscurrents: writing inspired by the sea

What does the sea mean to you? Sunny holidays, storm surges, separation, connection? In this two-hour workshop, Rebecca, author of Blast Radius, will use the sights, sounds and smells of the sea to inspire creativity, awaken the senses and capture vibrant images. We will visit the Promenade so dress for all weathers and bring pen, paper and imagination. Writers of all levels welcome.

Rebecca McKinney is a Scottish writer who came from America or an American writer who lives in Scotland, depending on your point of view. She lives near Edinburgh with her husband and two children. Her novel, Blast Radius, was published by Sandstone Press in February 2015.

Blast Radius by [McKinney, R.L.]

Sean McNicol’s best friend Mitch saved his life in Afghanistan, in an act of impulsive heroism. Now Mitch is dead and Sean has left the Royal Marines with a head full of ghosts and guilt. Mitch talks to Sean from beyond the grave, by turns encouraging him, cursing, singing and leading him to question his own sanity on a daily basis.Turning his back on his life as a soldier, Sean grudgingly returns to the downcast Scottish town of his childhood and takes a job moving second-hand furniture for the Once Loved Furniture Company. He is hired by a former schoolmate to clear her late father’s house at Cauldhill Farm, and gradually discovers that his own life is intertwined in the most unexpected way with the farm and its former occupants. In order to find the thing he wants most- a bit of peace- Sean must confront the unquiet spirits of his past: his alcoholic mother, his absent father, his old (almost) girlfriend Paula, his own fatal mistakes in Afghanistan and, of course, Mitch.

Get to know the author – Prof John Curtice


Over the next couple of weeks, we will be telling you more about some of the authors taking part in our festival. We begin today with Prof John Curtice. 

Friday 7th October – 6-7pm – upstairs in the library

Professor John Curtice will be a familiar figure to anyone with a keen interest in politics. He is a political scientist who is currently Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde and President of the British Polling Council. He is particularly interested in electoral behaviour and researching political and social attitudes. He is well known for his expert analysis on tv and radio. In this event, chaired by Jane Meagher, he will discuss the significance of polls and the recent upheaval in our political landscape.

What’s on @PortyBookFest – Sunday 9th October

PortyBookFest launch

SUNDAY 9th OCTOBER 

FAMILY SAGAS, FAMILY SECRETS   11.00am-12.30pm      LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Debut authors Mairi Wilson, Ursula’s Secret, and Shelley Day, The Confession of Stella Moon, talk about their different approaches to creating vivid and exhilarating explorations of the impact of secrets which span generations in a family. They discuss what is said and what is left unsaid as mysteries are uncovered. The authors will be in conversation with Anne Loughnane, whose second novel, A Clarewoman’s Journey, has been published recently.

 

THE OSCAR OF MOUNTAINEERING  12.15-1.45pm    LIBRARY

In Some Lost Place by Sandy Allan, who hails from Newtonmore, is an exhilarating and harrowing account of his ascent with Rick Allen of one of the last great challenges of Himalayan mountaineering: Nanga Parbet’s Mazeno Ridge. Both climbers were awarded the 2013 Piolet d’Or, the Oscar of mountaineering, for their unique achievement.

Chair: Larry Foster

TSUNAMI: SCOTLAND’S DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION  12.45-1.45pm  LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Acclaimed political writer, Iain Macwhirter, examines the shifting political landscape in Scotland in the light of the events of the past couple of years. Where are we now and what does the future hold?

THE LOCKERBIE BOMBING: THE SEARCH FOR JUSTICE  2-3pm LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Kenny MacAskill discusses his latest book which details his decision to release Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, on compassionate grounds. He sets it in the context of the commercial and security interests that have overshadowed events in the decades both before and after.

Chair: Alastair Cameron

MEET THE AUTHOR – JAMES ROBERTSON  3.15-4.15pm    LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

In James Robertson’s latest novel To Be Continued…., Douglas Findhorn Elder is in a sorry state. He has just turned fifty, split up with his partner and jumped (before he was pushed) from his job at an ailing Edinburgh newspaper. On the night of his birthday, he makes an unexpected new friend: a talking toad. When a new work opportunity takes the man from the city to the Highlands, the toad goes with him…….

Chair: Jim Gilchrist

 

PLAYING DIRTY  4.30-6.00pm    LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Competitive sports have recently come into international disrepute over accusations of doping, bullying and corruption. Richard Moore, journalist, author and former racing cyclist, Alan Bissett, novelist, playwright and Rangers fan, and Maddie Breeze, sociologist and author on women’s roller derby, discuss the state of sport in the contemporary world.

Chair: John Kelly

What’s on @portybookfest Saturday 8th October

PortyBookFest launch

SATURDAY 8th OCTOBER

WRITING WORKSHOP: REBECCA MCKINNEY

10.30am-12.30pm                 PORTOBELLO BAPTIST CHURCH CAFÉ

Crosscurrents: writing inspired by the sea

What does the sea mean to you? Sunny holidays, storm surges, separation, connection? In this two-hour workshop, Rebecca, author of Blast Radius, will use the sights, sounds and smells of the sea to inspire creativity, awaken the senses and capture vibrant images. We will visit the Promenade so dress for all weathers and bring pen, paper and imagination. Writers of all levels welcome.

 

BRIDGES OVER THE FORTH  11.00am-12.00 noon  LIBRARY  UPSTAIRS  

Michael Meighan has written widely about the local and industrial history of Scotland. From his book Forth Bridges Through Time he talks about the history and heritage of the iconic bridges and other crossings that have spanned the river.

Chair:  Peter Ross

BOOKBUG 11.30am-12.00 noon      LIBRARY

Bookbug returns to the Book Festival for a half hour of fun, songs and rhymes.

 

SPANISH BOOKBUG 12.15-1.15pm    LIBRARY

Bookbug goes international! Join Sonia for Spanish songs and rhymes.

FILMISH  12.15-1.15pm     LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Portobello-based comic artist Edward Ross, recently back from success at Toronto Comic Arts Festival 2016, discusses his debut graphic novel Filmish: A Graphic Journey Through Film, an engaging look at the history of cinema and the fascinating stories behind our favourite films.

Chair: Stephen Goodall

DANGEROUS WOMEN 1.00-2.30pm       PORTOBELLO BAPTIST CHURCH CAFÉ

Novelists Ajay Close and Catherine Hokin talk about what inspired them to write about women who shaped history. Catherine explores the fascinating story of medieval Queen Margaret of Anjou in her debut novel Blood and Roses.  Ajay’s A Petrol Scented Spring follows the extraordinary exploits of Edinburgh suffragette Arabella Scott.

Chair: Viv Cree

AN OLD LADY TALKING THE BLUES 1.30-2.30pm       LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Novelists Isla Dewar, Women Talking Dirty, and Catherine Simpson, Truestory, discuss their adventures while writing, the catharsis they’ve experienced and problems they’ve encountered. They exchange views on favourite books, favourite bits of books, books they’d wish they’d written and books they’d like to write. Find out about their heroines, both living and on the page, and about the characters they admire, fear, love and hate.

 

KNOW YOUR PLACE 2.45-3.45pm    PORTOBELLO BAPTIST CHURCH CAFÉ

Sean Bradley is Chair of the Edinburgh Old Town Development Trust, publisher and editor of The Evergreen: A New Season in the North, a journal in four volumes based on polymath and urban planner Patrick Geddes’s 19th century Evergreens. He will discuss the continuing relevance of Geddes’s work in urban renewal.

Chair: Bill Jameson

 

MESSING WITH THE MIND 2.45-4.15pm  LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Mary Paulson-Ellis, debut author of The Other Mrs Walker, 

joins Graeme Macrae Burnet, whose His Bloody Project has been long listed for the 2016 Man Booker Prize, to talk about what inspired them to write their novels. They’ll discuss how they got into the mysterious minds of their characters and the appeal of psychological thrillers and the exploration of secrets, lies and deception. 

Chair: Graeme Howard

NORTH EDINBURGH NOIR 4.30-6.00pm  LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Lesley Kelly, A Fine House in Trinity, and Alison Baillie, Sewing the Shadows Together, talk about the joys and pitfalls of setting crime stories in places they know really well. Come along to find out what inspired them and what the reaction has been to the places their crime novels are set: Portobello, Leith and Trinity!  

Chair: Caroline Dunford

 

BOOK QUIZ  8.00-10.00pm at the DALRIADA on the prom

£1 entry per person. No ticket required