July is here and we’re turning up the heat (well, if it’s anything like June we might literally have to turn the heating back on).
It’s a month to go until that pilgrimage that is the Edinburgh International Book Festival. So to get you in the mood before then, here’s our literary event picks of the month to whet your appetite.
Sunday 6 July, 12pm-6pm, Arches
The Arches are opening its doors and rooms for the Festival of the Common Weal. A day-long celebration bringing together a diverse group of organisations, the event is meant to bring people together to “unite the energy of those who demand a progressive future for Scotland”.
Alongside spoken word from Jenny Lindsay and Sam Small and discussions led by Gerry Hassan and Richard Walker, The Arches will be jam-packed with music, art, children’s activities and comedy. A positive way of joining in with other people to think about and discuss the future that lies before our country – a great way to spend the afternoon.
Friday 11 July, 7pm, Summerhall, Free
Auld Enemies is touring Scotland! 6 towns, over 40 poets and a feast of new collaborations that you CANNOT miss.
Auld Enemies goes to Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Lerwick and Kirkwall. Although each of the events look cracking, I’m sticking my neck out to recommend the Edinburgh night on the 11th in particular, if only because two of my favourite poets have teamed up.
Billy Letford and Ryan Van Winkle are (for me) the highlights of the Edinburgh evening. Alongside them are the fireworks that are SJ Fowler, Colin Herd, Elspeth Murray, Luke Allan and Rachel McCrum to name but a very short few.
On the Margins – Nina de la Mer & Liam Murray Bell
Wednesday 9 July, 6pm, Waterstones Sauchiehall, Free
A gem of an event that looks at two brilliant novelists whose characters are ‘on the margins’ of society in their books. Writers Liam Murray Bell and Nina de la Mer discuss their new novels with Claire Squires, looking at the importance of creating characters in contemporary fiction who face tough life choices, and dissecting the process of creating unique, edgy voices in their work.
Liam Murray Bell’s new novel, The Busker, tells the story of young musician Rab Dillon, who is offered a chance to make it big as a folk singer but quickly loses everything and ends up facing a life on the streets.
Nina de la Mer’s second novel, Layla is a bold and unflinching story following a week in the life of a young, reluctant lap dancer who dreams of a quieter life with her baby son.
Saturday 19 July, 7pm, Platform Glasgow, £12.50
The East End Social has a belter of a line-up and thankfully it hasn’t neglected a bit of spoken word banter. Step in Neu!Reekie! who are having a Glasgow-only event this month – The Summer Sizzler!
Full to the brim with SAY Award nominees (The Pastels), folk-rock legends (Broken Records) “poet and tragedian[s]” (Jock Scot), visual artists (Rachel Maclean) and extraordinary novelists (Jackie Kay), those Reekie! lads Williamson and Pedersen have certainly turned up the heat!
(What was that? A spot of free whisky you say?)
Wednesday 23 July, 8pm, Scottish Storytelling Centre – Netherbow Theatre, £8
The double sell-out play written by author Alan Bissett and poet Michael Pedersen will be coming to the Scottish Storytelling Centre for an evening of laughs, philosophy and a bit of puppetry.
Joining Bissett and Pederson are TeenCanteen lead singer Carla Easton and singer-songwriter Eugene Kelly from The Vaselines to give a quirky and unforgettable performance.
There will also be mini individual performances from all four, giving a real eclectic flavour of acting, voices and shenanigans. Plus, puppets! (Did I already mention that?)
For Falkirk’s Sake
Wednesday 30 July, 7pm, Behind the Wall, £7
It’s great to suddenly see Falkirk as a new place for up-and-coming talent. New publication [Untitles] is doing great work in encouraging local writers and poets to get their stuff out there.
As part of the For Falkirk’s Sake Festival, [Untitled] are hosting an evening of spoken word from the best writers to come out of the fair town. Performers to include Alan Bissett, Janet Paisley, Dickson Telfer, Samuel Best, Bethany Ruth Anderson, Paul Cowan and Gordon Legge (yes, THE Gordon Legge).
Oh, and I’ll also be performing, though I don’t count myself as part of the “best writers” bit…