There’s something different about Aye Write! this year. I suspect it has more than a little something to do with the influence of the new festival director. Anyway I shall be there more often than not during the next 8 days (juggling work at the same time.) Unlikely to have the time to tell you the stories as I go along – I’ll catch up later. In the meantime, here are the pictures from today, which was, apart from an exploding microphone (poor Rosemary Goring!), perfect in every way.

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Here are some awards:

Chairman of the day: Chris Dolan who led 2 literary discussions. In the first 4 authors discussed the challenges of writing historical fiction; in the second 2 authors discussed the challenges of writing historical crime fiction. A little crossover, as you would expect, but not much. No readings at all! So no dead time. Erudite discussion all the way and a much greater insight into the craftmanship of  the novelists as a result. (And I suspect more titles added to my wishlist than would have been the case had I had to endure 6 x 10 minute readings.)

Discovery of the day: Stewart Conn – the first Edinburgh Makar (even though born in Glasgow). His event featured a 40 minute reading from his collected poems, interspersed with reflections and anecdotes from his life.  This might seem to be a contradiction of what I’ve just said but I enjoyed this also because it wasn’t just straight reading. The poems were put in context, nor did I find the language and imagery opaque and pretentious.

Wit of the day: David Ashton,  who has set his historical crime series in Edinburgh. When asked by myself, coz sometimes you just have to stir it, why Edinburgh, not Glasgow?, he replied …. Something controversial that I’ll have to tell you once I’ve read his books.  Plus he corrected me.  They’re set in the people’s republic of Leith, not technically Edinburgh at all!