Familiar faces greeted me all morning – not least amongst them that of Alasdair Gray, two portraits of whom line the walkways. The man himself gave his usual star performace, discussing his twin passions of art and writing – he’ll be back on closing night to perform in his play Fleck, when he takes on the role of Satan. Ian Rankin, Alan Bissett and Liz Lochhead are also taking on acting roles.
The popular Gruffalo made an appearance as part of Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson’s opening event: unnervingly, his head was spotted languishing on the rugs of the Authors’ Yurt once his appearances were over. Julia is a Guest Selector for the Book Fest, so I’m sure he’ll pull himself together for some of her upcoming events.
His head wasn’t the only I spotted today – Panda: A Window on our World was being launched, and this Giant Panda Skull sat peacefully on a coffee table this afternoon. Strangest sight in the Yurt so far, but I’m certain there will be odder apparitions to come.
My Story Shop programme began today with a great reading from Catriona Silvey, in front of an attentive, 100-strong Spiegeltent crowd. You can read her story, and listen to my interview with her, on the City of Literature website.
That’s it for the blog – I’m off to the Book Fest Launch Party. I’ll tweet as I catch up on the goss from the Scottish literary world.
I fell foul of the mud today, when scooting across the grass to sort out more stock for Strident Publishing’s debut author Matt Carney. Won’t make that rookie mistake again – just as well I started with a basic black pair.