Fact, Fiction and Fun for Forty Years

I was fortunate to be at the first Book Festival in 1983 in Charlotte Square featuring the wonderful Douglas Adams, and regardless of moving to the Isle of Man in 2000, I have been in attendance most years. The variety of authors and events is staggering and I’m never disappointed. My outstanding memory is of Gina Miller with Ruth Wishart when she received a rapturous standing ovation from the audience in the Baillie Gifford Main Theatre, not a common response in my experience.

It has been interesting to see the changes in audience behaviour and reactions over the years, from the first time a swear word was uttered, to now laughing along with Chris Brookmyre and Alexei Sayle when in full flow. All credit to the British Sign Language interpreters!

All of life is presented through the written word and the very varied programme, and I have been moved to tears on occasion. Music also plays its part, from moving tributes to sing-alongs. Thomas Keneally had us join him in Waltzing Matilda! The opportunity to meet and briefly talk to the authors at the book signings is a thrill and queues notwithstanding, worth the wait.

My heartfelt thanks to all the staff involved in this enormous undertaking each August. It appears to run like clockwork even in Edinburgh’s unpredictable weather, and front of house staff are always helpful and polite. A special mention to Chris Close for his superb photos of the authors, always a delight to behold.

Well done everyone. Huge thanks and best wishes to Nick Barley for his leadership and input despite the difficulties, especially Covid, and then relocating in recent years.

Roll on another August!


M.B. Grahame