Festival Books

GEOFF DYER Merrily spinning a Thomas Mann- inflected yarn The main man in Geoff Dyer’s smartly- penned fourth novel Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi has a pretty devilish sense of humour. And it would seem that the same can be said for the character’s creator. So what does he have in store for us with his event alongside Otto de Kat? ‘I will try either to talk or read for the entire time so that he doesn’t get a chance to get a word in edgeways. Then, right at the


There’s nothing like a book event to get your tummy rumbling. Here is a clutch of goings-on to leave you satisfied Tom Kitchin The Michelin- starred, all-too aptly-named chef must feel like the cat who nabbed the cream as he launches his first cookbook From Nature to Plate. 17 Aug, 2.30pm, £9 (£7).

Sue Lawrence The 1991 victor of Masterchef has produced a book which has some very famous Scottish folk discussing their eating habits. The likes of Gordon Brown, Sharleen Spiteri and Midge Ure are among those spilling the beans. 15 Aug, 3.30pm, £9 (£7). Tom Parker Bowles In The Year of Eating Dangerously, Prince Charles’ stepson went travelling to different countries across the globe in search of outlandish food. From Korea to Spain, the hunt for bizarre scran proved to be an occasionally hearty, often stomach-churning voyage. 17 Aug, noon, £9 (£7).

Anna Del Conte She once advised Jamie Oliver to use a different pan when cooking his pasta (tall and thin-bottomed) and has little truck for the cult of the celebrity chef. Still, they seem to like her, as Delia Smith can’t get enough of her writing on Italian cuisine. 17 Aug, 8.30pm, £9 (£7). Fascinating Food Facts with Michael Cox Not sure whether it’s better to visit this one on a full or empty stomach as we discover the rather odd eating habits of the ancient European civilisations. Gulp. 17 Aug, 1.30pm, £4. (Brian Donaldson)


DANIEL DEPP Noir author related to you-know- who

end, to smooth things over, I’ll say, “sorry about that Otto, I just got carried away and lost all track of time. But maybe you could get me invited to a festival in the Netherlands and then I’m sure I’d be more time-conscious and we could have a proper chat”.’ Dyer describes his first novel for a decade as ‘a book of two halves. Lots of sex and coke in the first half, and all sorts of spiritual bollocks in the second, with the whole thing lightly drizzled with a pungent Thomas Mann reduction.’ As you might imagine, it’s a thoroughly compelling tale, but Dyer’s ability to spin a good yarn is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his creative output. ‘To be honest, I think that my last book, The Ongoing Moment, a history of photography, was as much a work of literature as many novels. It’s a shame that we have such a limited idea of where literariness might be found and what it might look like. I don’t place any greater value on my fiction than on the non-fiction.’ (Camilla Pia) 16 Aug (with Otto de Kat), 10.15am, £9 (£7).

California author and bookstore owner Daniel Depp’s first professional writing credit was shared with his famous step-brother Johnny on the latter’s 1997 directing debut, The Brave, which was nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Twelve years later, DP Depp (as his friends know him), has penned his first novel, Loser’s Town, a noirish tale set in Los Angeles that playfully plots the sleazy relationship between Hollywood and the criminal underworld. ‘I’ve always loved the noir/private

eye genre, and wanted to try it myself,’ Depp says. ‘The crime genre is amazingly flexible. It crosses all kinds of barriers of class, money and geography. You can draw from all

walks of life and it’s a great platform for social criticism, as well. But mainly it’s a lot of fun. I wrote Loser’s Town to be entertaining.’ Having been a part of Tinseltown,

Depp was in a unique position to utilise his insider knowledge. ‘I couldn’t resist taking a few playful pokes at all the Hollywood foolishness. I think it accurately reflects the way the town can take itself too seriously, and it certainly tries to show how dangerous the whole ‘star’ phenomenon can be for all concerned, especially the actors.’ Speaking of which, has Johnny read the book? ‘He said some very nice things about it in USA Today when it was first published,’ Depp says. ‘In fact, he gave me the most encouragement when I was writing the thing. I dedicated the book to him and I meant it.’ (Miles Fielder) ■15 Aug, 5pm, £9 (£7).

BEN MOOR Magical realist storytelling from Festival veteran ‘It’s good to do it again after four years, in front of a live audience,’ says writer/comedian Ben Moor, as he prepares to perform from More Trees to Climb, his recent collection of short stories. Adapted from three of his one- man shows, Moor emphasises the event will be less of a conventional book reading and more of a theatrical

ELEANOR CATTON Exploring the personality-shaping notions of adolescence Eleanor Catton’s The Rehearsal is a study of and search for reality. Following a group of teenage girls as they attempt to navigate adolescence with its attendant agonies and anxieties, it delves into the labyrinthine and precarious relationship between life and performance. ‘I think that adolescence is the time when a person really becomes their own audience for the first time,’ says Catton. ‘It’s the time when genuine self-consciousness sets in, and the time when a person begins to think about actively shaping their own personality. I’m pretty sure that I was about 12 or 13 when I first felt like I

was a witness to myself, and a critic of myself. So that chimed with the ideas of performance and performativity which were knocking around my head. It seemed natural to use adolescence as a kind of canvas or stage on which to explore those ideas.’ Canada-born Catton admits to not looking too far ahead and refusing to set the novel’s plan in stone. ‘The one relationship which was present in the story from the first draft and probably the emotional connection which I feel the most strongly about was the attraction between Julia and Isolde. That, for me, is the one moment of truth in the book, the one kernel of truthfulness and authenticity that all the other characters are trying to find.’ (Kate Gould) 15 Aug (with Colin McAdam), 8.30pm, £9 (£7).