This year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival kicked off with plenty of sun and big crowds. The bookshop queues were about 40-deep by lunchtime and no wonder, as there are plenty of the usual early exclusives, including the new Will Self and IDP:2043, which I’ll be grabbing as soon as possible. As I type this it’s barely 2pm and Russell G Sneddon already has lots of great portraits. And it seems Stewart Foster has one of him.
It would be easy to put Mackenzie Crook’s popularity down do his star status, but I think we can be pretty sure his audience in the queue can’t be old enough to know him as Gareth Keenan, or even in the Pirates of Caribbean films, so his book The Windvale Sprites really must already be a hit with the weans.
Also in the signing tent were Julia Donaldson and David Roberts, and an old friend of Julia’s, who was getting a lot of attention and high-fives. Be nice to Gruffalos in this weather, they can get very hot.
Opposite them was Lauren Child, best known for Charlie & Lola, and Clarice Bean, but she’s now also attracting a sizeable older audience with her Ruby Redfort series, with which I can’t say I’m familiar, but they look interesting.
My first event tonight is Letters Live with Simon Garfield and Shaun Usher which for some reason hasn’t sold out yet. Are you mad? Look at all the people who will be joining them! Patrick Kennedy, Lisa Dwan, Jackie Kay, John Lloyd, Richard Herring, Richard Holloway, Bridget Christie and Lucy Porter are all going to be reading their favourite Letters of Note. See you there.