Just 5 hours to the online launch of the 2016 Edinburgh Book Festival Programme, always a thing of great wonder and surprise. Having been invited to and attending the official offline launch at 10:15 a.m this morning, I hope to have stopped hyperventilating by then!
I’ve always wondered how I would programme a festival like this. So for the purposes of this post, let’s pretend this year’s Edinburgh Book Festival has been programmed by me, just for me. Here are the 20 events on that programme, not necessarily in order of preference, apart from event number 1. It will be interesting to see how my fantasy programme matches up with reality later today.
Stream 1 – German Literature (because that’s my thing)
1 A German Translation Duel with translators Katy Derbyshire and Donal McLaughlin-Because I know both translators and I’d give my right arm to hear them knock spots off each other – in a friendly way – about whether that long Germanic construct should be punctuated with a semi-colon or a comma, or even separated with a full stop. Oh, and by the way I’m left-handed. :)
2 Alina Bronsky – Because Rosa in The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine has to be the feistiest, most self-deluded matriarch in world literature and I want to hear Bronsky talk about her and her new heroine Baba Dunja.
3 Ilja Trojanow – Because his Collector of Worlds has been in my TBR for ages and I want an excuse to read this and his new novel, The Lamentations of Zeno.
4 Heinz Helle – Because I’m interested in the dilemmas of modern man, and, yes, his book, Superabundance, is in my TBR.
Stream 2 – Events about Other Books In My TBR that I want to read sooner rather than later
5 Suzanne Fletcher – Let Me Tell You About A Man I Knew – Because I adored Corrag and I love Van Gogh. His Irises adorn my hallway; his Cafe Terrace at Night my dining room.
6 Tim Winton – Because Eyrie was my Book of 2015. (No chance of this happening, as he hasn’t got a new novel out this year. Another year, perhaps?)
7 Thomas Keneally – Napoleon’s Last Stand – Because of 6, I’m trying to read more Australian fiction this year and I’ve never read Keneally.
8 Gail Jones – A Guide to Berlin – Because of 6, I’m trying to read more Australian fiction this year and the Berlin setting chimes with my Germanophile tendencies.
9 Charlotte Wood – The Natural Way of Things – Australian, Winner of the 2016 Stella Prize and Shortlistee for the 2016 Miles Franklin Prize. Need I say more?
10 Ann Patchett – Commonwealth – Because I loved, loved, loved Bel Canto.
11) Frances Hardinge – The Lie Tree – The 2016 Costa Book of the Year, beating Kate Atkinson to the post.
Stream 3 – The Literary Zeitgeist
#shakespeare400/#cervantes400 A celebration is in order with so many possibilities such as:
12) A homage event based on the And Other Stories anthology Lunatics, Lovers and Poets.
13) Homage event inspired by the Hogarth Shakespeare Series.
14) James Shapiro on 1606 – William Shakespeare and The Year of Lear
15) William Egginton on The Man Who Invented Fiction: How Cervantes Ushered In The Modern World. (This is not – yet – in my TBR – but leads me nicely to the next stream,)
Stream 4 – Books that need to join my TBR pronto!
16) Sarah Perry – The Essex Serpent – Because I’ve heard nothing but superlatives about this.
Stream 5- Reading Workshops
17) Edith Grossmann on Don Quixote – because of #cervantes400 and last year’s workshop by Rosamund Bartlett, translator of Anna Karenina, was a revelation ….)
18) Jill Dawson on Patricia Highsmith’s Mr Ripley – because I think Dawson would be very knowledgeable, given her recent release, The Crime Writer.
19) Jolien Janzing on Villette to coincide with the bicenntenial of Charlotte Bronte’s birth and I think she would be knowledgeable, given her recent release, Charlotte Bronte’s Secret Love.
Stream 6 – Last but definitely not least
20) Michael Collins – A completist author of mine, who I thought had retired from writing. But, in the biggest surprise of 2016 so far, a new novel, The Death of All Things Seen, will publish on 1.7.2016. Besides, he was the first author I ever saw at the Edinburgh Book Festival in 2003.
I’m confining myself to a list of 20, but I’m also hoping for events with Joanne Harris, Maggie O’Farrell, Javier Marias and Patrick Modiano. Plus …. No best leave it there lest I come across as greedy. 😉