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International Festival 0131 473 2000 Military Tattoo 0131 225 1188 Film Festival 0131 623 8030

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Imprisoned Writers :5 (town. free tickets. Melvyn Bragg and l itinx Puma-r; Challenge censorship.

The Writing Business (‘7 .::‘\;~~t. :‘5

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George Monbiot I‘dt‘pn‘. :,‘:~‘ :‘tv‘

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John Irving 8pm. Y8 ti‘t“ See ;)lt}\.tt":'.'. Alastair Reid 8.30pm. L‘h‘ E‘o‘. Alan



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The author of the Mma Ramotswe detective series tackles our festival Q&A

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What is the first book you read?

My goodness! The very first? Probably See John Run when I was four or five. Where was John running? Now that one comes to think of it, why was John running?

What’s the best book ever? Another difficult question. I suppose that Tolstoy must have written the best novels and Auden the best poetry.

And the worst?

Again. difficult to say. I suppose that I could answer this by referring to the worst book which I happen to have read. and I'm afraid | Simply cannot remember. Nowadays I won't carry on With a book which I don't like. If I am very cross wrth a book. I throw it ill the bin. Then I feel guilty and take it out. remembering what an effort it must have cost the authOr.

Which dead writer would you like to have been? WH Auden. But if I had been Auden I would have tried not to smoke as much as he did. The martinis were a different matter.

Should stand-up comics be allowed to write novels? They should be allowed. but disc0uraged. They should also be discouraged from being stand-up comics too. come to think of it.

What's the most outrageous idea you’ve had for a book?

A book called Eat your Way to Mental Health with tempting recipes that made peOple happy.

ls fact stranger than fiction?

lnevitably. People do astonishing things in their real lives. Novelists would generally not get away with describing what people do.

Which relatively unknown writer will we be talking about in five years' time?

Ronald Frame is quite well-known, but I believe that he will come into his own over the next few years and be apprecrated internationally.

Do you have a favourite line from a book?

Without doubt. that opening line from Out of Africa: 'I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong hills'.

What’s your favourite joke about writers?

What '5 funny ab0u1 writers? Are you trying to poke fun? Seriously. I don't know any. I know very few jokes.

I 23 Aug. 1.30pm, £7 (£5); 24 Aug, noon, £7 (£5).

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Victoria Finlay & James Runcie

John Irving ' ' Duff Hart-Davis '. Susan Elderkin. Ben Rice & Adam

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