Day One: Edinburgh. The book shelves are stuffed with referendum books - What is Britishness? The Scottish and English Union and Disunion; The Road to Yes. So many questions? Yet also the fact we are asking them is a good thing in itself. I hope after the Referendum that both Scotland and the rUK we are still asking the important questions - challenging and still actively engaged.
I always feel I have to come back down to earth after the whirlwind that is Edinburgh International Book festival 2014 (EIBF). For two and a half weeks each August Charlotte Square becomes a haven for book lovers, philosophers, poets, economists, and very much more. So many creative and artistically challenging people attend - both on the stage and in the audience.
I often think I'd like to photograph those attending also in their low key or laid back, academic or intellectually inclined creamy linen jackets and casual hats. This is a cultured crowd!
Some days there are themes - on one day several strong minded women - Kate Adie, Germaine Greer and Val McDermid. Other days political or economic figures. There is also a big children's section to the festival. The signing tent is lined with today's books and the cafe was full of home baked custard creams, shortbread and layered cakes and queues waiting for the authors signing. The oddest sight was when Huraki Murakami came as he didn't wish for any photos and he signed behind a red curtain.
The festival offers an informed blend of the old and new where the retro and the modern sit side by side here - imaginative fantasy with factual history, romantic poetry and detailed economy, the surreal novel, the researched biography alongside hard hitting political thought. The festival allows all voices a platform to be heard and to exchange ideas and aspirations and celebrates diversity of thought.
In Edinburgh the windy weather can be often dramatic - one moment brilliant sunshine the next torrential downpour for an hour. It keeps us alert for sure! I watch the sun on the elegant Georgian new town with the dark skies beyond.
It is my last day now. The girl in front of me has a strange blue skull tatoo on her back. Anything goes. I am both sad and tired too. Sad that's another EIBF and Edinburgh festival over, as festivals are intense by their very nature and they need to come to and end. It is also a time of reflection for me - I have visited my usual haunts over the festival, and walked the ancient cobbled streets of my home town memories and I wonder how much the festival effects the authors that attend.
EIBF 2014 BOOKS
Authors that caught my attention were mostly poets, journalist or professors
Lesley Riddoch - Blossom
Tom Devine - The Scottish Nation
Linda Colley - Acts of Union and Disunion
Ian Bell - Time out of Mind (on Bob Dylan)
Kate Adie - Fighting on the Home Front
Paul Henderson Scott - Scotland: A Creative Past, An independent Future
Haruki Murakami - Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki
A Bird is not a Stone - Palestinian poets