‘Carl put the headphones down, clicked the mouse a couple of times to exit from and shut down the programme. He swivelled around in the chair. ‘Awright Terry, ah ken ah owe ye a favour mate.’

‘Well,’ Terry began. ‘thir is a wee something . . .'

Carl braced himself. sucking air into his lungs. A wee something. There was always a wee something. And thank fuck as well.‘

I Consignia Theatre, 24 Aug. 8pm, £8 (£6).

Patricia Duncker 8: Margot Livesey Field and Lawn Marquee, 72.30pm, £7 (£5). Duncker gained much attention for her part mystery drama. semi intellectual romp Hal/ucinating Foucault while our favourite Livesey title has to be the spirited Eva Moves the Furniture. George Monbiot 8. Alan Shipman Consignia Theatre. 7.30pm. £7 (£5). The pros and cons of globalisation discussed.

New Writing 1 1 Studio Theatre. l.30prn, £7 (£5). An introduction to some of the finest new scribblers in the c0untry. with editors Andrew O'Hagan and Colm TOibin hosting. Andrew Pyper & Ruaridh Nicoll Field and Lawn Marquee, 2.30pm. £7 (£5). Nature's attractions and the extremes of human behaviour connect these two hot literary prospects.

John Sulston 8. Georgina Ferry Studio Theatre. 3.30pm, 8 7 ($5). This esteemed pair present a story of science, politics. ethics and the human genome.

Noreena Hertz Field and Lawn Marquee, 4pm, l.‘ 7 (535). Being dubbed the new Naomi Klein is either a curse or a CV-enhancer. Hear her arguments against globalisation as expressed in The Silent Takeover.

Sue MacGregor Consignia Theatre, 4.30pm, [‘7 (f5). Ruth Wishart. a woman in the media. chats to Sue MacGregor, a woman in the media. about how far a certain group have come. Women in the media. that is.

Will Hutton Studio Theatre, 5pm,


lndelible acts from writer of the absurd

537 (5.1)). Assured to upset British conservatives and Bushian Americans alike. the politics and economics human encyclopaedia offers a new Vision for the world. Imprisoned Writers Field and Lawn Marquee. 5.30pm, free but ticketed. lain Heggie and Stewart Home hail the songwriters and comedians who have been persecuted for their art. Susie Orbach Censignia Theatre. 6.30pm, 538 (536). This renownet psychotherapist once famously wrote that fat was a feminist issue. Hear some more top stuff like that. The Writing Business Field and Lawn Marquee. 6.45pm, £5 (5.73;. Lessons in keeping the kids happy with the stories you read to them. Iain Heggie Studio Theatre. 7pm. E8 (536). One of the c0untry's finest playwrights (Love Freaks. A Wholly Healthy Glasgowr discusses the dramatic state of our national theatre. Alternative Health: Should we Swallow It? Spiege/tent, 7.30pm. 5T8 (C6). John Burnside is among those tackling this tricky question. Tim Bowler, Julie Bertagna, Kate Wilson & Elizabeth Cross Children's Theatre. F..’)’()pni, 5 ‘.’)’.:’>(). Want to know the secrets behind writing for teenagers? Here’s your chance. Richard Holloway Cons/gnia Theatre, 8pm. 5‘8 l5‘(>‘i. ()ne of God's more pleasant pioneers takes the church to task for their more retrograde opinions ‘.‘.’il|l(} he offers Forgiveness. Alan Warner Studio Theatre. 8.30pm, 5‘8 (5‘6). See l)l'()‘./l(}\.‘~/. page 40. Toby Litt, Stewart Home & Emma Forrest Field and Lawn arquee, 8.30pm, 5‘8 l5‘b‘i. Three young ‘uns (relatively speaking; who fire off tough, controversial and thOughtprovoking tomes before the rest of us have got out of bed. Guess which one of them wrote a book entitled, charmingly, Cunt? Spiegelbar Spiege/tent, 9pm, tree. Chat. sup and tap your toes alter a day's browsing. listening and enquiring.

‘lt’s what the reader thinks that’s important’

The release of a new volume of AL Kennedy short stories is a major event. For impatient fans, it must seem aeons since Kennedy’s last collection, Original Bliss, first hit the Scottish Fiction section of major booksellers. That book’s theme was love, in all its magnificence and horror, and took a close-up look at relationships both offbeat and uncomfortably familiar, from the woman who dreams about deafening her lover with a sharpened pencil to a porn-addicted academic.

lndelible Acts, Kennedy’s collection of 12 new stories, provides further evidence of the author’s fascination with the absurd, the peripheral and the perverse. Each of her protagonists exhibits some need for escape, love, sex, drink - that provides a distraction from their simmering despair. Most memorable among these are the teenager from a dysfunctional family who longs to be a ‘bad boy’ like his new pal; the solicitor almost destroyed by his desire for a male colleague; and the woman whose erotic fantasies don’t always concur with her lover’s.

Kennedy herself remains somewhat coy about her work, refusing to be drawn when I ask if she agrees that her view of relationships has moved on, become bleaker, since the last collection. ‘It’s what the reader thinks that’s important,’ is all she’ll allow. She claims her short story collections often come into being accidentally. ‘I usually realise I have a collection about halfway through, although with Original Bliss l deliberately set out to write a whole book on the same theme, which was an interesting experience more disciplined.’

Where Kennedy is more verbose is on her love of Edinburgh’s book festival, at which she will be reading from lndelible Acts and her new novel. ‘lt’s in a nice setting, and you get a very good audience, some of whom have been showing up for about the last ten years.’ You suspect l;.’..’i’()pin, 5‘/' r5‘:')'i. Humour. lyricism they’ll still be rolling back to hear Kennedy in decades to come. and social comment from the best (Allan Radcliffe) monikered poet on the block. .‘SpIegeltenf, ."J Aug. '(lfi‘tlam, 5‘7 l5‘5i.

Saturday 24

AL Kennedy Spiege/tent, lo..’)’()ani. 5.7 (5‘5). See prevrevvr. right.

John Byrne Consignia Theatre. ll.3()ani. 5‘7 (5‘5). 'lilda's bloke and renaissance man extraordinaire chats about his varied and wonderful lite. Alistair MacLeod & Michael Crummey Studio Theatre. noon, 5"/' (5‘5). Canada is the popular hangout for this pair With Crumrriey launching his novel River Thieves.

The Penguin/Orange Readers Group Prize Event l-los/iita/Itl’ Tent. noon, 5‘7 (5‘5i. Sue MacGregor hosts this event which has some scribes discussing the books that inspired them as flippers. Performance Poetry: Jem Rolls Field and l awn Marquee,