EdBookFest Day 14 – Jackie Kay, Jenni Murray and the Scottish Book Awards

This  year’s Scottish Book Awards proved a fantastically fond and funny event that was worth that rarest of EdBookFest occurances – a late start. Host Dame Jenni Murray was held up by a motorway closure, switching routes and breaking the landspeed record from Biggar to Edinburgh as she hurtled up from the BBC’s Manchester studios.

Jenni went from car to theatre, taking to the stage in her radio attire and making us laugh as she read out an excerpt of First Book catagory winner Sue Peebles’ depiction of a jaded radio presenter.

Stewart Conn bantered about past prize ceremonies he’s attended, and talked about the evolution of his collection of love poetry; Leila Aboulela couldn’t attend but sent a letter of delight at her fiction catagory win, and a promise that for her next book she dreams of St Andrews; Sue Peebles inspired a touch of envy in Jackie Kay as she described her love affair with her Apple Mac.

Jackie Kay received a massive roar from the crowd as she was crowned the overall winner – she punched the air in delight and the sponsors joked that she could take her £30,000 cheque off to the iMac store.

She almost brought the canvas down as she read from her autobiography, making Jenni Murray cry with laughter at the tales of singing on family road trips (when we shouted out ‘oil can’ my father sang ‘My Ole Kentucky Home’.) Her parents were in the audience, and it deservedly felt like a warm and emotional family occasion.

Hear Jackie Kay read on the Guardian Books website.

A selection of Book Fest events are signed – requests can be made in advance and the Fest has an interpreter at as many events as they can.

< This is Jo Ross, who rose to the challenge of keeping up with Jackie Kay and translating Stewart Conn’s reflective poetry. Watching her was rather hypnotic, as she reeled off lists of Scottish towns, and the signing added a beautiful, dynamic dimension to the readings.

Jo signed Alexei Sayle’s talk, and was unaware that he was trying to catch her out with sweary words, pausing to look at her and chuckling heartily.

Alas, I had to leave Charlotte Square before Unbound’s excellent Words per Minute kicked off,  I am certain that the regular Glasgow event had a successful summer holiday in Edinburgh, and hope that it tipsily made the last train home from Haymarket.

Author Portraits

Shaun Tan drew Eric on his hand and Jon Ronson went a bit quackers.

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More Author Portraits >

Daily Shoe Challenge

There is a better photo of these teal T-bars with stripey wooden heels, but this blurry shot on the Book Fest boardwalks sums up that Day 14 feeling.

After seeing Ian Rankin’s patterned primary colour socks, I decided that I was not making the most of this creative challenge and went for patterned tights.

Only three more pairs to go – and I have a rather fun finale lined up.

The Shoe Challenge So Far >

Honourable mentions for two lovely literary ladies with fabulous shoes: Words per Minute’s Kirstin Innes came for my shoe crown with these fetching gold creations, and Story Shop’s Lynsey May rocked the Spiegeltent in these red mary janes.


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