Mio Matsumoto The threat of cancer loomed large over this young Japanese artist, but she turned her pain into a graphic novel of much renown. See Books, page 17.

Optimism Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre’s colourful adaptation of Voltaire’s Candide kicks off the EIF’s 2009 theatre programme. See Theatre, page 60. Mark Thomas Indisputably one of the key standard bearers of British political comedy, the authority-bothering TV fella lays out his own manifesto. See Comedy, page 24

EH1 Festival The biggest club event Edinburgh has ever seen, with genres ranging from house to techno via rave and drum & bass, and over 100 acts including Carl Cox and Orbital. See Clubs, page 83.

Jen Hadfield In a year of poetry shocks, this Shetlands-based writer made a few waves of her own, scooping the massively prestigious TS Eliot prize. See Books, page 15. The Tartuffe Wonderfully innovative, irreverent and blasting adaptation of Moliere’s classic text courtesy of the award-winning Belt Up theatre. See Theatre, page 68.

Anna & Katy Madames Crilly and Wix pull out all the Pythonesque stops with a raving hour of lunacy. But in a good, funny way. See Comedy, page 30

Sea Wall Hauntingly beautiful family saga by Simon Stephens, which subtly explores an age old theological debate. See Theatre, page 64. Alan Davie Remarkable retrospective from one of Scotland’s greatest living artists at the Dovecot gallery. See Visual Art, page 78.

Alun Cochrane One of the nation’s merriest daydreamers delivers another heavenly set. See Comedy, page 32