40 Glorious Years

I have been a Patron of the Book Festival for many years. I used to love to sit reading on one of the deck chairs in the middle of Charlotte Square.

I always tried to get a place in the poetry sessions. There would be just 12 of us reading, then analysing, the poet of that year and his/her poetry.

One of my other favourite stops was the 9 o clock tent where writers, performers or musicians without an evening performance came to entertain us on their way home.

The hourly writers’ sessions were many and varied. I discovered at least a couple of new authors each year. Gaël Faye (Rwandan/French) was my find one year. I now know that his music is very well known in France but he used to be fairly unknown in Britain until the Book Festival brought him to our attention when Small Country was published.

The Edwin Morgan Poetry Award always gave us a number of new writers. Niall Campbell comes to mind. When he reads his poetry I can feel the waves rolling up to the Scottish island shores and I can hear the wind. His first poetry book was Moontide.

The Book Festival is my favourite of the Edinburgh Festivals and luckily it lasts for a couple of weeks.

Nick Barley’s time as director is about to finish. Let us hope that his successor is as friendly, efficient and forward thinking as he is.

Long live the Book Festival, and the Friends and Patrons Quiz! (although sadly my team never win)


Val Greaves