Thursday, 16 June 2011

Edinburgh International Book Festival, 2011 - Part 2, Birlinn ...

The theme of EIBF 2011 is revolution, and if you’re holding out for a hero we can help. In the 1930s rich young men tended to buy islands as weekend getaways. Not so John Lorne Campbell who bought Canna to try and preserve its Gaelic traditions before handing it to the National Trust for Scotland. Ray Perman’s biography – The Man Who Gave Away His Island, the only one on John Lorne Campbell – tells of his dreams and struggles. The rights and wrongs of land ownership is a subject close the heart of Andy Wightman whose superb The Poor Had No Lawyers explores how millions of acres of common land ended in the hands of a chosen few.

Robin Harper
Politicians are not always universally considered heroes, but as the first Green parliamentarian Robin Harper has certainly cleared a path for others to follow, as he describes in his Technicolor autobiography Dear Mr Harper. Tam Dalyell is a hero to some, to others ... well, probably best not to ask. Let’s just say the title of his much-anticipated autobiography The Importance of Being Awkward says it all. Everyone who fought for freedom in World War II was a hero, but Allan Burnett chooses just a few true tales of heroism in his latest book for children. And a hero for our time if there ever was one is Bob Servant, the hilarious alter ego of Neil Forsyth, who takes on email spammers at their own game.

But sometimes it is the quiet things that make the biggest changes. Mairi Hedderwick’s charming Peedie Peebles will enchant and distract young readers with his exploits. And inside every one of us is a silent revolution, our DNA. Alistair Moffat and Jim Wilson use cutting edge technology to trace the history of the Scots in The Scots: A Genetic Journey. And it’s changing a few beliefs on where they came from!

So make sure you get in quick on 26th June to buy your tickets, and we’ll see you in Charlotte Square – hopefully in the sunshine!