I fear the next couple of weeks might break me. This morning we got an email previewing the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s 2015 programme and almost every paragraph reveals jaw-dropping events that will have queues up the street outside the Roxburghe Hotel on 23 June when tickets go on sale. I intend to plough through the EIBF 2015 programme, giving you the highlights over the next fortnight.
Probably the biggest name, and one which will sell out very fast is the face at the top of the post, Rev Jesse Jackson. Despite having been beaten in presidential primaries by Mondale, Hart and Dukakis (where are they now?) in the 1980s, he’s been a huge force in US politics before and since. And for one generation, at least, will always be a favourite guest on Sesame Street.
Ian Rankin is back as always, taking the chance to interview Alan Cumming, musicians Viv Albertine, Edwyn Collins and Belle & Sebastian’s Stuart David.
The theme is Around the World in 18 Days, an as usual it lives up to the international bit of its title. In the press release, festival director Nick Barley writes: “Charlotte Square Gardens will reflect the idea of the Global Village as we welcome authors from across the planet. Whether they are from Nigeria or North Korea; Colombia or China, these are writers whose stories shed light not only on the big changes in world power, but on the shifting nature of local cultures — changes that are also taking place in Scotland.”
There’s Jaume Cabré from Spain, Han Kang of South Korea, Denmark’s Helle Helle, Arne Dahl, Palestinian lawyer Raja Shehadeh, North Korean exile Hyeonseo Lee and many more. And we’ve not even seen the programme yet, which should be available from noon today.
The usual home-grown perennial fixtures such as Irvine Welsh and Val McDermid are joined by less frequent book festival visitors including the Rev Richard Coles and Terry Waite.
Another highlight is bound to be Mark Rylance, yes, Thomas Cromwell himself, reading from Paul Kingsnorth’s novel The Wake. Rylance owns the film rights to Kingsnorth’s Booker-longlisted novel, so he probably knows it pretty well by now.
I could go on, but some of us have to eat breakfast.