Unbound with Edinburgh Gin: 2019 listings

Your nightly guide to the events of Unbound with Edinburgh Gin, taking place in the Book Festival's Spiegeltent, Charlotte Square Gardens, from 9pm. Each and every one is FREE – get down early to secure your seat

Feature by The Skinny | 01 Jul 2019
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Sun 11 Aug 
Scotland goes Bertsolaritza!
Bertsolaritza is a phenomenon, an improvised competitive poetry form founded in the Basque region which attracts 10,000 people to the grand final every year. Tonight, novelists Uxue Alberdi and Danele Sarriugarte (translator of the likes of Angela Davis and David Foster Wallace) take you on a poetic journey with a dash of audience participation. Eñaut Elorrieta, lead singer of Ken Zazpi, one of the best Basque rock bands, provides musical entertainment. Discover extraordinary poetry as you’ve never heard it before.
Part of Scotland goes Basque

Mon 12 Aug
A Sting in the Armellodie Tale
From Glasgow-based record label Armellodie come some of the most interesting, clever and quirky bands playing today. One of Scotland’s best indie labels arrives at Unbound for a night of fresh entertainment: revel in the music of Dan Lyth and the Euphrates, The Scottish Enlightenment and Thirty Pounds of Bone, who perform alongside three of the world’s best short story writers – Nicole Flattery, Wendy Erskine and Kevin Barry – who all cut their teeth in The Stinging Fly literary magazine.

Tue 13 Aug 
Vic Galloway Brings the Ruckus! 
Taking inspiration from Will Ashon’s future-classic Chamber Music: About the Wu-Tang (in 36 Pieces), BBC Radio Scotland DJ Vic Galloway is back at the Book Festival exploring ideas of identity, love, soul and struggle. Live music comes courtesy of Joseph Malik, Callum Easter, Heir of the Cursed and an acoustic set from Vic’s own band. Saskia Vogel reads from debut novel Permission, Dean Atta brings poetry collection I Am Nobody’s Nigger and debut novel Black Flamingo, and they’re joined by Will Ashon himself. Bring the ruckus!

Wed 14 Aug
Outriders Africa 
Five Scottish and British writers have been paired with five African writers, with each embarking on a different journey across Africa later this year. Outriders is one of the Book Festival’s most exciting projects, and to celebrate its launch, tonight’s Unbound reveals some of the continent’s incredibly rich culture, through music, performance, poetry and dance. Join artists including Tsitsi Dangarembga from Zimbabwe, Okwiri Oduor from Kenya and Nigeria’s Donna Ogunnaike with her band.

Thu 15 Aug
Hollie McNish & Friends 
Hollie McNish is one of Britain’s best poets and spoken word artists. She has released one album and five books of funny, forthright and fearless poetry, the latest being Plum in 2017. After several brilliant Unbound appearances, she hosts her very own night, bringing her inimitable style as well as her top picks from the worlds of music, poetry and performance.

Fri 16 Aug 
The R.A.P Party 
R.A.P stands for Rhythm and Poetry and this party promises an exhilarating live literature experience. Founded by the acclaimed Inua Ellams, R.A.P is a nostalgic, no-clutter evening of poems inspired by hip-hop culture, wrapped up in fresh beats from the scene. Joining Ellams himself are Theresa Lola, Rachel Long, Malaika Kegode, Jenny Lindsay, Harry Baker, Joe Dunthorne, Tania Nwachukwu, Tyrone Lewis, John Osborne and resident R.A.P Party DJ Sid Mercutio. Produced in association with Edinburgh International Festival.

Sat 17 Aug
Bang Said the Gun 
This is poetry for people who don’t know they like it. Normal rules don’t apply. One of the brilliant UK poetry scene’s best nights, Bang Said the Gun is a rollercoaster of emotions: loud, raucous, political, trivial, serious and very funny. Featuring wordsmiths Salena Godden, Rob Auton, Laurie Bolger, Martin Galton and Daniel Cockrill, with music from jazz legend Gwyneth Herbert. Let tonight grab you by the collar and drag you into another world. As Kate Tempest said: "It’s like mud wrestling with words"!

Sun 18 Aug
Writers vs the Apocalypse
Two authors must fight for survival in an apocalyptic dystopian hellscape designed at random by sadistic audience members. Max Brooks (Minecraft: The Island, World War Z) and Dave Cook (Killtopia, Vessels) talk about their books and careers while trying to survive their increasingly brutal scenario. Come along and make their lives a dystopian nightmare. All the while, artist Craig Paton (Killtopia) will record the adventure drawing the adventure as it develops.

Mon 19 Aug
Back to Night School                                                
Glasgow-based Night School Records are at the beating heart of the city’s famed music scene; a label and promoter commanding huge respect with an eclectic mix of electronic talent. They’ve helped foster some of the country’s finest sounds and introduced international friends to our headphones, all while staying true to a vision of emotionally-charged, infinitely listenable synth-driven music. Tonight they take us on a journey to that special place where love, romance and music collide, with performances and readings from J. McFarlane’s Reality Guest, author Michael Amherst, and Canadian artist Sean Nicholas Savage.

Tue 20 Aug
Tongue Fu 

One of the UK's best spoken word shows, Tongue Fu brings awesome energy and improvisation to the Spiegeltent. Poets jostle with storytellers, rappers rub up against comedians as they perform to jaw-dropping improvised soundtracks and films from the genre-hopping Tongue Fu Band, led by creator and host Chris Redmond. Prepare to be dazzled with death-defying, deftly-delivered doses of poetry and music. You couldn’t make it up. But they do!

Wed 21 Aug
The Lark Ascending 
Our countryside isn’t all babbling brooks and skylarks: it’s rife with power struggles, protest movements, and poetic inspirations. From Vaughan Williams’ romantic orchestral The Lark Ascending to 60s counterculture and the rave scene of the 80s, tonight’s entertainment travels across the decades. Artist and author Richard King is your host for a lyrical, literary journey through our landscapes with music inspired by classic poetry from the 90 years of Faber & Faber. Join musicians Marcus Barcham-Stevens and Christina Lawrie from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Scottish folk great Karine Polwart and a few surprise guests for a joyful night.

Thu 22 Aug
Finding Home 
Where, or what, is home? It’s one of the fundamental questions of our age and will be for a long time. Tonight’s Unbound explores burning questions around migration, racial division, the rise of populist nationalism, otherness, and the language that frames them all. Finding Home features and follows poets and storytellers through fractured lives and national crises, over perilous routes and across borders, as they stretch language and build bridges over the walls put up by politicians. A night of vital words and verse.

Fri 23 Aug
Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers 
It’s been another astonishing year for the most well-read, well-written rock’n’roll band. The Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers have hit new heights with radio and festival appearances over the last few months, even taking to the stage at Glastonbury. This August they return to their roots, to where it began – a set in the Spiegeltent for Unbound. Prepare to murder some tunes and welcome back this limitlessly talented lot: Luca Veste, Stuart Neville, Doug Johnstone, Chris Brookmyre, Mark Billingham and Val McDermid.

Sat 24 Aug
Neu! Reekie! Indonesia 
On the back of their 2016 tour of Indonesia, Edinburgh’s original cultural noisemakers present some of the most exciting artists from the archipelago. Yoshi Fe, a poet and stand-up tragedian, joins video artist Sinar Ayu Massie, whose 2007 road movie 3 Hari Untuk Selamanya (Three Days to Forever) has become a cult classic, and Benk Riyadi, a poet and activist involved in the Sebumi community. The trio are introduced with the usual panache of hosts and poets Michael Pedersen and Kevin Williamson.
Supported by Ministry of Education and Culture, Republic of Indonesia and Creative Economy Agency of Indonesia (BEKRAF)

Sun 25 Aug
365 Tunes & Tales 
365 is a gorgeous written-and-recorded call and response. After James Robertson penned a story each day for a year, LAU fiddler Aidan O’Rourke reacted with music – and all their songs and stories can be experienced in the Book Festival’s George Street Bookshop. For Unbound, the duo are joined by Kit Downes and a collection of incredible collaborators including musicians Kate Molleson, Esther Swift, and Sorren Maclean, and readers Gerda Stevenson, Tam Dean Burn and Matthew Zajac. Celebrate something truly special tonight.
Presented in association with the PRS Foundation’s New Music Biennial, newmusicbiennial.co.uk

Mon 26 Aug, 7pm
Flint & Pitch: We Need New Stories 
Poet, performer and spoken word scene dynamo Jenny Lindsay brings us a special edition of Flint & Pitch for the firework-infused Festival Finale. Using the Book Festival’s theme ‘We Need New Stories’, this night brings some of Scotland’s best new voices to the Spiegeltent stage and bounces in a few big hitters to send the place sky high. Some sneaky special guests might take a turn too! Celebrate the Festival’s end with a carnival of literary cabaret.