Edinburgh Festivals


I’m back in Japan where thankfully August is over and the temperatures are starting to drop. The ice pillows have been put away for another year and I no longer need to shower every fifteen minutes.

This trip home was a blast, short, sweet and rocketing between intense and wonderfully relaxing. I spent some time chilling out at Loch Morlich where The Waves Burn Bright climaxes and down in Perthshire, an area I don’t know so well. The sun shone more than could reasonably be expected and I got something approaching a holiday. Stopping in Renfrewshire for a friend’s wedding and some long overdue dancing to 90’s classics, the rest of the trip was monopolised by Edinburgh.


On the 19th I read in Word Power Books with Kate Tough, my stablemate on Tapsalteerie. Neither of our pamphlets are out yet but we took the opportunity to read our poems to a handful of enthusiasts. It was something of an experiment and as I’ve only really read from novels recently, something of a departure for me. Reading haiku after haiku can be a touch tedious, the impact of each lessened by proximity to its neighbours but it seemed to go well and I can heartily recommend Kate’s pamphlet when it comes out later in the year.


The 25th saw my debut appearance at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The temporary village in Charlotte Square is Valhalla to book geeks like myself and I had a huge fanboy moment being in the same room as James Robertson, and it was a shame that I never had the chance to introduce myself and have a chat. Another time. I was on stage with Glenn Patterson, author of numerous books and old hand at the EIBF, and his ease with proceedings helped me to relax. The lack of alcohol in my system didn’t. Hip flask next time. Sara Davies was an excellent chairperson and the turn out gratifyingly healthy, and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting new readers and old friends and some stalwarts of the Scottish literary world. I’ll never get used to meeting people whose work I know and admire, and who I feel like I’ve known for years, but have never actually encountered in the flesh. The internet gives us a false sense of closeness which face-to-face meetings belie.


And so I’m home again, with a huge stack of books (the festival book shop is kryptonite to my bank balance), some new friends and wonderful memories. This year I’ve been in the Word Festival in Aberdeen and the Book Festival in Edinburgh, two of my dreams / ambitions since I was a teenager sullying paper with my bad poems. I’ve seen so many of my literary heroes on those two stages and getting the chance to add my name to the bottom of that esteemed list is something for which I will be forever grateful.


Now I have to write the next book. Once the temperature drops a few degrees further I’m going to set up my desk in the garden and get to work.

“He stood looking out over the shimmering mirror of the loch, the last of the sun blazing on the hills, the ground beneath his feet.” The Waves Burn Bright


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