EdBookFest Day 4 – Children’s Literature, the Great Downpour & a Water Concerto

As the heavens opened, the Yurt filled up with authors, steaming gently next to the wood-burning stove. The scent of wet wool mingled with tomato soup, and I hear sales of hot chocolate in the cafe were brisk.

I went trudging out in the rain to greet a group of 12 lovely Finnish children’s writers, here to see literary Edinburgh and take part in the Festival.

They asked me to talk about the reading campaigns I’ve been part of, from Kidnapped to Carry a Poem. I hope to get chance to chat more about translation with them while they’re here – they are appearing at the festival in a Beyond Moomins event.

The group was one of many I meet though the year, here to learn about our literary centres like Scottish Book Trust, the beautiful Scottish Poetry Library and our unique Scottish Storytelling Centre. I catch-up regularly with our own Scottish children’s literary folk too – in the Bookshop cafe I met author Vivian French and literary agent Kathryn Ross, having some of that hot chocolate.

Kirstin Hersh of Throwing Muses was taking centre stage at Unbound, an event I sadly missed as I was invited to see the Montreal Symphony Orchestra at the Edinburgh International Festival.

Thus continued the watery theme of the day, from Debussy’s La Mer to Tan Dun’s magical oriental journey through the Water Concerto (the same composer who wrote the Oscar-winning score to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.) We were treated to not one, but two encores from the visting company, led by charming maestro Kent Nagano.

At the lock-in reception afterwards I finally got to meet the French artist of some of the incredible Lyon murals – I’d love to see Edinburgh using its blank space in this way. With a literary theme, of course – the public here loved the St Andrew Square buildings bedecked with literary quotes, which the Scottish Poetry Library’s Peggy Hughes and I had a lot of fun selecting.

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Daily Shoe Challenge

Though wellies would have been more appropriate, they wouldn’t have worked well at the Usher Hall, so I compromised on slightly soggy green flats. My only pair of flats, in fact.

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