Festival BooksWeekPlanner list.co.uk/festival

As with most of the festivals, the Book Festival is a scary prospect at first glance. Here, Lizzie Mitchell maps out a plan which should make the minefield a little easier to negotiate. All events are based in Charlotte Square Gardens. See list.co.uk/festival/books and edbookfest.co.uk

Box Office: 0845 373 5888 Saturday 15

Ruth Padel The opening event and the first of many on a Darwinian theme, this one by his great-great- granddaughter, the poet Ruth Padel. 10.15am, £9 (£7). The Beano Invent a new Beano- inspired character in this interactive retrospective. It says it’s a children’s event, but watch out for the kids who never grew up still channeling Beryl the Peril in the back row. Age 6-12. 10.30am, £4. Carlos Ruiz Zafón The Shadow of the Wind was the most successful Spanish novel since Don Quixote. With his second adult novel just released in the UK, it’s a good time to find out more about this master storyspinner. 3pm, £9 (£7). Hilary Spurling Winner of the 2005 Whitbread Book Award for her hugely acclaimed biography of Matisse, Hilary Spurling explains how the master painter helped to shape the course of modern art. 4.30pm, £9 (£7). Amnesty International Imprisoned Writers Series Free, daily readings focusing on articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Various speakers. 5.30pm daily, free. Carol Ann Duffy The new Poet Laureate speaks at the Big Issue event. Unfortunately for most of us, tickets sold out on the first morning of release. 8pm, £9 (£7).

Sunday 16

Alexander McCall Smith A Book Festival favourite returns, bringing Africa alive with his stories in an event for 6- 10-year-olds. 10.30am, £4. Ian Brown, Matt McGuire & Colin Nicholson Celebrating the launch of a new series of Edinburgh Companions to Scottish Literature, three editors and contributors discuss the fine holdings of contemporary Scottish literature and poetry. 11am, £9 (£7). Suchen Christine Lim, Simon Tay & Edwin Thumboo Three of Singapore’s most distinguished authors come together to give a precious insight into the literature and culture of Southeast Asia’s smallest nation. 4pm, £9 (£7). Elaine Showalter One of the founding figures of feminist literary criticism in the US discusses her new book A Jury of Her Peers: American Women Writers from Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx. 4.30pm, £9 (£7). Simon King The writer, producer, presenter and cameraman of countless nature documentaries talks about a career which has taken him from boiling a badger’s head to withstanding an

Magnus Mills A London cabbie once won Mastermind, so why on earth can’t a bus driver write novels? The subtle

tales of working life such as The Restraint of Beasts and All Quiet on the Orient Express have earned Magnus Mills great acclaim and his latest, The Maintenance of Headway, has him dipping into his previous life with the poignant and surreal look at a life of timetables and bus lanes. 16 Aug, 8.30pm, £9 (£7).

attack by a rabid cheetah. 6.30pm, £9 (£7). Spiegelbar Live music and bar in a Highland Park-sponsored traveling ballroom. Sit back, relax, and forget about edifying literature every evening. 9pm, free. Monday 17

Tony Ross The creator of Horrid Henry heads up an hour of drawing and introduces his new book Big Bad Bun. Ages 4-9. 10am, £4. Margaret Drabble In her first openly autobiographical novel, one of Britain’s most distinguished novelists discusses the jigsaw of her past and present in The Pattern in the Carpet: A Personal History with Jigsaws. 11.30am, £9 (£7). AC Grayling The lush-locked philosopher discusses Ideas That Matter in the 21st century, and challenges us all to start contributing to the big philosophical debates. 3pm, £9 (£7). Carol Ann Duffy If you missed out on the Big Issue event on 15 Aug, you might want to accompany the sprogs to an hour of Lost Happy Endings and

other stories and poems from the official national songstress. 5pm, £4. Iain Banks Another appearance from the Festival stalwart. 6.30pm, £9 (£7). Tuesday 18

Ten at Ten Ten minute reading to get you up in the morning. Something fresh every day. 10am daily, free. Tracy Chevalier More historical fiction from Chevalier, this time about Mary Anning, who at the height of the 19th Century vogue for fossils was busy discovering whole ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs in the cliffs at Lyme Regis. Highly appropriate in the Year Of Our Darwin 150. 11.30am, £9 (£7). David Reynolds How did Jefferson’s ‘empire of liberty’ become the world’s greatest superpower? David Reynolds unlocks some of the key historical events in the American rise to supremacy. noon, £9 (£7). Women and Islam What’s the real story about ‘women and Islam’? How fair is it to use an unadulterated language of subjugation and dispossession? Come and hear the different sides of the discussion from a


diverse and well-informed panel. 5pm, £9 (£7). Patrick McCabe & Colm Tóibín Two much-loved chroniclers of small- town Ireland bring their latest novels to the festival. 8.30pm, £9 (£7). Wednesday 19

Jonathon Green Alter kackers and scuttlebutts from the author of the Chambers Slang Dictionary. One of the more robust flavours of the week’s festivities. 10.30am, £7 (£9). John O’Donoghue An unsentimental account of mental illness from a poet and author who once spent a decade in and out of psychiatric hospitals, squats, foster houses and homeless shelters. 11am, £9 (£7). Dambisa Moyo The Zambian economist argues that foreign aid to Africa encourages dependency and corruption, and calls for the continent to adopt market reforms and updated financial models as the best way of funding development. 12.30pm, £9 (£7). Anthony Giddens The author of The Politics of Climate Change explains why current policy is doomed to abject failure in the fight against climate change, and why the environmentalists have got it wrong too. 1.30pm, £9 (£7). Lindsey Davis The queen of classical crime fiction talks about the latest adventures of Marcus Didius Falco, this time in Alexandria. Expect few pyramids and little respect for sacred cats. 4pm, £9 (£7). Kamishibai: Ancient Japanese Storytelling In rural Japan, storytellers used to cycle from village to village bringing stories on illustrated scrolls. Rediscover an old oral tradition in this event for 5-9-year-olds. 4.30pm, £4.

Thursday 20

Nothing But The Poem No need to do any homework beforehand; this relaxed session with Lilias Fraser of the Scottish Poetry Library asks you to look at the text of a single poem and nothing but. 11am, £12 (£10). Liz Lochhead A generous helping of vim and sass from one of Scotland’s favourite writers. 2pm, £9 (£7). Tom Holland & Barnaby Rogerson Two accessible historians sweep through a millennium-and-a-bit of Western civilization, going from the death of Christ to the last crusades and beyond in 60 minutes. 2.30pm, £9 (£7). Joan Bakewell The ever-admirable Dame Bakewell discusses her first novel, All the Nice Girls, the semi- autobiographical story of a wartime girls’ school which ‘adopts’ a merchant navy ship. 3pm, £9 (£7). Judith Kerr Childhood memories of fleeing Nazi Germany from the author of When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. Pink Rabbit is still wonderful, and so is Kerr. Age 9+. 5pm, £4. Alice Albinia & Justine Hardy Albinia traces the religious and political course of the Indus River, while Hardy journeys to the troubled region of Kashmir with a novel based on frontline experience and periods spent in military training camps. 8.30pm, £9 (£7).