Sunday, 17 August 2008

Tales from the author's yurt

I flew up to Edinburgh yesterday and checked into my hotel - The Carlton on North Bridge. On the bus from the airport and walking up from Waverley Station I was struck by what a fantastic city Edinburgh is. I certainly can't think of another British city to match it for scale and grandeur.

I did a really well attended Amnesty event in the afternoon in which writers read the work of persecuted writers from around the world. I read the poems of Tasmila Nasrin.

In the evening I went for a meal with other Bloomsbury authors at the festival. It was a chance to meet Celia Rees (and her husband) and Sally Grindley, and to renew my acquaintance with Mark Walden whose H.I.V.E books have been a big hit with my son.

I made the mistake of allowing Mark to persuade me to hit the bar with him afterwards until about 2 in the morning. At least I had the foresight not to actually drink anymore (tempting though their range of malt whiskeys was), because I felt completely wrecked when I awoke after a night listening to the various whoops and peals of laughter coming from the street outside my hotel room.

My event went well though. I met Bloomsbury publicist Ian Lamb in the author's yurt (yes - author's yurt) at about 10.30. Hanif Kureishi was standing in the doorway at one point and I was very jealous of the queue of people snaking round Charlotte Square for his event.

I was really impressed by how well organised it all was. I had a really good crowd who all listened attentively and then asked lots of good questions. I read 'Climb Not' from Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror'.

I then signed a few books before going for a wander around Edinburgh and then back to the hotel to pick up my bag and head off to the airport to catch my plane to Stansted. I hope I'll be invited back next year.

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