Do the drugs still work?

To the authorities' collective western mind. drug dealers are as evil as Islamic militia. internet paedophiles and serial rapists. Yet it's hard to imagine a journalist going out of their way to write a buccaneering, romantic adventure romp about common or garden mass murders. So. maybe

substance trafficking is'still considered rather

swell. It’s certainly given Robert Sabbag much

material to script true tales of bulk cocaine-

handling in Snowb/ind and dope-dealing

in Smokescreen. The war on drugs appears to have reached detente. I Studio Theatre. 24 Aug.

- 7pm, £8 (£6).

First book you read? I remember my mother reading me all the Narnia books. I know they're pernicious Christian propaganda but as Jonathan Franzen writes in The Corrections: ‘Gary had enjoyed reading them as a boy. and he had not. it was safe to say. grown up to be a religious nut.’ Best book ever? When I was a

teenager I loved Kurt Vonnegut's The Sirens of Titan. It was like the bible. but for secular rationalists. Now I adore Jonathan Coe's What a Carve Up! about how the evil ruling classes trick us into believing they're quaint Cluedo characters.

And the worst? I read Toby Young's How to Lose Friends and Alienate

People when l was in bed with a stomach bug recently, and I may be unfairly associating that book with my waves of debilitating nausea. Or then again. I may not be.

Most over-hyped? Alex Garlands The Beach was, for me. a hack teen fantaSy.

Which dead writer would you like to have been? Raymond Carver. because as he wrote himself he knew exactly the right place to put a full stop.

Should stand-ups be allowed to write novels? Only if they remember that jokes aren't enough.

Most outrageous idea you‘ve had for a book? I wanted to write ab0ut the lunacy of Reality TV from the inside. by becoming a Big Brother housemate. I was rejected because they said I was either too famous or not famous enough.

ls fact stranger than fiction? Of c0urse. That's my living.

I Field and Lawn Marquee. 22 Aug. 8.30pm, {T8 (536).




Literature and butterflies are the two sweetest passions':

Vladimir Nabokov

I Jon Ronson The former Frank Sidebottom cohort revisits his trips through the weird mindscapes of messrs lcke, Paisley and King. See the Write Stuff. Field and Lawn Marquee, 22 Aug, 8.30pm, £8 (£36).

I Alan Warner With the film of Morvern Ca/Iar set to take him onto the next level (whatever that means), the Oban writer may share his thoughts about the whole page-to-screen game, as well as chatting about his latest journey into the odd, The Man who Walks. See preview. Studio Theatre, 23 Aug, 8.30pm, £8 (£6).

I Al. Kennedy The Dundee- born writer may not like talking directly about her work but this merely adds to the allure of a fine shon story teller, cultural commentator and novelist. See preview. Spiege/tent, 24 Aug, 70.30am, £7 (£5).

I Harold Pinter Arguably the best British playwright of a busy post-war field, the rebel with many a pause has fought a tough personal battle to make this rare appearance. See Top 5. Consignia Theatre, 25 Aug, 4.30pm, £7 (85).

I David Starkey The man who has done more than most to make history cool delivers the RSA Lecture which wonders whether telly is the best way to absorb learning. Consignia Theatre, 25 Aug, 8pm, £8 (£6).

The Spiegeltent, Consignia Theatre, Field and Lawn Marquee, Studio Theatre and Children’s Theatre are all based in Charlotte Square Gardens. The box office number is 0131 624 5050 and website is

1).? Atigrr-f’) Sep 2002? THE LIST FESTIVAL GUIDE 39