EdBookFest Day 8 – Aussie Authors, Writing Careers and Ian Rankin’s Shoes

It was the day of writing careers, as I helped 32 individual writers and an audience of 60 negotiate their professional writing lives, in two separate events. First up, I got to chat with three other bona-fide literary ninjas about non-traditional ways to get your writing heard.

Thanks to Allan Guthrie, Peggy Hughes and Gavin Inglis for making up my panel – we had a good ole chinwag about blogs, Twitter, ebooks and spoken word performance, though we didn’t get chance to talk about zines.

The afternoon was devoted to the 1-2-1 Writing Clinic, inspired by the Melbourne Emerging Writers’ Festival. It was a very new format for EdBookFest, and while there were a few tiny logistical glitches, it seemed to go well.

The new writers were pleased with their 15-minute conversations with agent Jenny Brown, tutor Sam Kelly, publisher Neville Moir and my City of Literature colleague Ali Bowden.

BBC Radio 4’s Evan Davies seemed determined to get into the event, but it turned out he was lost and looking for the Authors’ Yurt – I sent him on his way.

He must have found the Yurt, because there he had his portrait taken by Chris Close – just a few hours later, it was printed and on display.

It was BBC Radio Scotland that followed us about, chatting to many of the writers and specialists involved. The piece will air on the BBC Book Cafe on Monday 29th August.


Australia was the parallel theme of the day – Nick Barley gave a lovely speech about how Edinburgh and Melbourne have forged their partnership, based on their twin UNESCO City of Literature statuses.

I met Sydney authors Kirsten Tranter and Malcolm Knox, and discovered the lovely Steven Amsterdam had taken my recommendation to go and see Roslin Chapel. The Deputy High Commisioner really did say ‘bugger’ in his very refreshing speech, and there were shrimps on the barbie as canapes.


The night ended with Sleepers taking to the Unbound stage, preparing for Post-it note poetry and audience participation.

Louise Swinn of Melbourne indie publisher Sleepers compered the night – Sleepers specialises in supporting very new writers.

Daily Shoe Challenge

Had a cracking pair of shoes – my third favourite pair, in fact.

Clare from Aussie publishers Allen & Unwin was my photographer as I messed about on the brightly lit seating of the Book Fest’s Party Pavilion.

The Shoe Challenge So Far >


Edinburgh’s Ian Rankin, for many years a stalwart City of Literature Trustee, went toe-to-toe with me in the Authors’ Yurt as the day’s shoe challenger.








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