All events are based in Charlotte Square Gardens. The box office

number is 0131 624 5050 and website is

Thursday 21

Robert Crawford & WN Herbert 10.30am, 5‘7 (E‘Si. Prodigious poetn, is your early morning wake up call. Steven Mithen & Gabrielle Walker Ham. 5‘? HE‘S». Fancy so'iie evolution for your eieyeitses’?

Claire MacDonald Noon, f‘f «5‘5: Fresh local produce is on the menu this lunchtime

Mikael Niemi l2.3()prn, 3‘? for. We said of Swedish scribe Nienii's Hornbyesgue Popular Music that it ‘was sweet and strange and Margaret Elphinstone & Diana Norman 2.30pm. 5‘." 5‘5. Historical fiction at its dandiest. liminstone's tomes include The Sea Float: and Hi Br‘asr/ while Norman has Catch of Consequence ano Srena and the V/rg/n.

Will Hutton 3pm, €71.95». Britain {it‘il the rest of the uniond: Wnat's our problem?

Iris MacFarlane & Antony Wild 3,30pr77. :77 if?) Tea and coffee: What's their problem?

Nigel Cawthorne & John Gimlette 4pm, 97 £5. For a second I thought they '0' t'eSi.7"'GCi€O the star of Yes M/rtlslef' and The r'i/r'at 'ness of King George, But no. Cain/thorne. like Gimlette. is in fact a writer of books on. the dark Side of Paraguay

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‘l'm always on the lookout for someone else out there named Doug'

David Starkey 4.30pm, 57/ if?» last year. Starkey's event threatened to degenerate into a shouting match ‘i.‘.’|ill a uni lecturer in the front row. And what a spectacle rt turned out to be. This year, the good doctor Will be ready for all contenders; ‘.‘.’llIl more chat about Henry Vlll and co.

Paul Kingsnorth & Philippe Legrain 53pm, .‘V' (£15,: A knockabout chat on the pros and cons of globalisation. (‘iood thing or bad? Lets have a heated debate. shall we? Imprisoned Writers :'>'..’)’Opm, free tickets. lhe BBC corresi>ondent Rosie Millard is among the throng looking at gender and sexuality.

Iain Banks (5.30pm. 5‘8 Life). He once appeared in a Monty Python rnovre. you know? But hammering out novels of social realism. pacy thrillm oi sci 4i is u‘xltai he was born to do. Somewhat intriguingly. his next book is about whisky Maybe the ‘M' stands for 'Malt'.

The Writing Business (Salopm. £5) (533). Some top insiders trom the book Industry pass on their tips on how to get published.

Carol Craig 7pm, {‘8 4‘6! The Scots contradicton. psyche is the hot topic here

George Monbiot 7.30pm. 558 rfG/. Another of these speoal 90-minute eyents With the anti-globalisation guru. entitled Fl‘Je Rounds wrth Monbiot. Go on. ask him about the Empathetic PrinCiple. Dare you

Paul Johnson, Rosie Millard & Julian Spalding 80m, £8 £6, Here's a question: has an lost its


Generation X creator goaded on by Edinburgh

Douglas Coupland, Canada‘s sharpest and most celebrated contemporary writer and designer. has a tenuous Midlothian connection. The prolific novelist and journalist boasts seminal early 90s slacker bible. Generation X, as his fictional calling card, but is also a tireless designer who created a series of Smirnoff vodka magazine adverts, and found time in recent years to pen a short story about Dolly the sheep for Time magazine.

Coupland, who remains an enthusiastic native of Vancouver. yet divides his time between Canada‘s windy city, Los Angeles and the north of Scotland, admits to having somewhat mixed feelings about the Caledonian capital. ‘Edinburgh scares the crap out of me because there are all these castles on top of huge mountains built before the era of Kubota tractors and PVC plumbing pipes.‘ he says. ‘What sort of deranged ancestors would build these things? I'm descended from them? Jesus, I‘d better start building castles soon. Edinburgh makes me jealous of the past. It goads me on to do bigger things. That‘s a good thing for a city to do.‘

Since the publication of Generation X in 1991, Coupland has certainly been goaded on to do bigger and better fictional things. His latest novel. Hey Nostradamusl, depicts the aftermath of a Columbine-style high school massacre on an insignificant Vancouver suburb from the point of view of four characters, traumatised by the event. While typically rich in cultural references and socio-political supposition, the book is also Coupland's saddest, most human work to date, and is strikingly more character-led than his usual ideas-driven writing.

Despite this, the author enjoyed something of a love-hate dependence on his characters. ‘They became far more real, far more shocking to me as they revealed themselves. It‘s a very screwed-up relationship - the one I have with my characters - and I think any novelist will say the same thing.‘ One relationship which the author sees unwaverineg positively is with his debut, Generation X. Although Coupland has consistently resisted ‘spokesman for a generation’ epithets, he refuses to see the hugely influential novel as an albatross around his neck.

“No, I’m lucky.‘ he says. “‘Generation X“ is almost like a one-word name like Sting or Cher. It makes it easier for people to remember me. That sounds facetious, but there’s a kernel of truth to it. And I'm always on the lookout for someone else out there named Doug. In the end I want to be remembered only by my first name: “Doug was there last night“.' (Allan Radcliffe)

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‘.'.'ay'_} Answering that one are the outspoken jourriai:st .Johnson, gallery guru Spalding and Millard. who pops up each Oscar year to file her report in some ariia/ingly floiincy eveningwear. David Thomson 8.30pm 5‘8 «for Is this is a litemry or lllf)‘.|(l‘ I(3f$il‘.’£ii. l‘ii: starting to ‘.'.rohder’.2 lhe latest (:ineaste to entertain the Square is the big screert addict ‘.'.'ho compiles the NO'.'/ Biographical Dictionary of I 31/7? and h; s some pretty (L()llll()‘.’(}ff§l£ii opinions about some of the 'greats' of cinema. Fellini '3; 'half baked' (1".(I Visconti is ‘triyiai'. that kind of thing, y favourite is Hugh Grant. .‘.’.'t() Dave has down as ‘an incipient sneeze looking for a vacant nose, Patrick Gale, Magnus Mills & Ardashir Vakil Bailout. 5‘8 are. A trio of idiosyncratic lirtglisr‘ author‘s. COrning from very different points on the literany compass. Of Mills" The Scheme for f-u/r [‘rnp/oymerif. oar critic stated that the ‘oirner‘ bus drivers prose is 'as deaopan and rip. nonsense as a (IlflOfSil‘JC biscuit arid makes for an amusing arid crigiriai diverSion'. Spot on. feéia. Spiegelbar 9;)!7‘, free Frtd ,our literan,’ endeavours for the day .uith music. drink and n‘ayrx: a little toe tap to yOurself.

Friday 22

Dance,“(iii/if'w:~:$.s'r:rwrit'§>";'1l<;f, and fish/or; the f

Bill McGuire 77am : l .‘:l

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‘As his father dived for the sheep, Hugh raised his hand in a small gesture of recognition and felt the blanket tear, the tranquillity shatter, the calm splinter in one long and terrible rush.’

I Michael Collins, Todd McEwen 8 Ruaridh Nico/l, 25 Aug.

70.30am, £7 (£5).

Colum McCann & Tom Pow 70.30am. f7 «(g-3r. Torn Per; takes illT‘B out from his in; l.‘.’.’).’r<Si‘.C{)S to

join up with the author ot the recent

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