Once a week during the Fringe, Blackwell’s is hosting evenings dedicated to celebrating Scotland’s rich literary scene. Each event has five speakers; some are established authors, some have only just published their first book. However, Blackwell’s picks them wisely, and you can be assured that they will all have something interesting to say.
As one would expect at a literary gathering, everything was very understated and sophisticated. However, gone are the days of haughty pretension, these events are for anyone – including those wearing jeans – who want to know the best of what’s fresh off the press.
On this particular evening we had an impressively diverse array of writers. Starting with the rather mesmerising Michael Pederson - a young poet promoting his first and highly anticipated collection, Play With Me - we then heard from D A Meyrick, Marie Macphearson, Ruth Thomas and Christopher Brookmyre, who read from his seventeenth novel to date.
It is good to see Blackwell’s so committed to showcasing female authors in every event over the Fringe. Though it shouldn’t have to be noted, it is not often that women writers have such a proportional presence on platforms such as this.
Moreover, in a time that sees these literary evenings so often co-opted by heartless publicity drives, it was lovely to see this event retain such integrity. Each author speaks for around ten minutes, and though they are there to promote their new books, they seem just as interested to have a dialogue with the audience about their writing processes, their inspirations and their motivations. After the talks are done, a good half an hour is reserved for anyone who wants to talk to the authors one-to-one; how civilised!
Blackwell’s Writers at the Fringe is a fantastic – and free – counterpart to the expensive and at times uppity world of the Book Festival; a great way to spend an evening.