Unbound at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

<strong>Unbound</strong> events happen every night from 15 to 30 August in the Highland Park Spiegeltent in Charlotte Square, part of the Edinburgh International Book Festival. All events bar the closing party are free and unticketed. To get in, simply turn up on the night. We suggest arriving in advance of the start time for a better chance of securing a seat. Events start at 9pm and the bar is open until 1am

Feature by Rosamund West | 29 Jun 2010

Sunday 15-Aug 9-11pmA Night in the Gutter: McSex
They’re only on their second issue, but Glasgow-based Gutter magazine are already challenging preconceptions of what a literary magazine is. They come to Unbound to extend that challenge to the literary event, and also show off all the exciting things they do for the rest of the year. Taking the rather terrifying subject matter of Scottish erotic writing, the event will feature four published and three unpublished authors discussing whether such a tradition exists. Authors so far confirmed include Ewan Morrison and Zoë Strachan. Turn to page 39 to read an interview with editor Adrian Searle.


Monday 16-Aug, 9-11pmDiScomBoBuLaTe
Based in Glasgow, DiScomBoBuLaTe is a regular night run by renowned Scottish writer Alan Bissett and stand up comedian / playwright / musician / multi talented artists type person Ian Macpherson . They’ve been presenting DiScomBoBuLaTe for a good few years, allowing literature and comedy to collide in a live setting and opening the floor to writers ranging from the celebrated to the emergent. Poet Magi Gibson, comedians Simon Munnery and Arnold Brown, and of course Alan Bissett and host Ian Macpherson are so far scheduled to appear.


Tuesday 17-Aug 9-10.30pmWilly Vlautin
Vlautin is an American author and lead singer of alt-country rockers Richmond Fontaine. He’s doing a more conventional author event at the Book Festival to publicise his new book Lean On Pete, but tonight he gets to blend together his two trades in an informal evening of storytelling and music.

Wednesday 18-Aug 9-11pm Christopher Brookmyre: The Songs behind the Stories and the Stories behind the Songs
Chris Brookmyre's events at Aye Write! have typically been the most hilarious events there – he's been funny at the Edinburgh International Book Festival too, but somehow more subdued... Until now, when he brings musician Billy Franks with him to try and storm the Highland Park Spiegeltent. He's described a previous event like this: "It had a cabaret feel to it, which made for a different atmosphere than the usual author reading. It was good fun, and the audience seemed to respond to it.” With Brookmyre planning a move away from the satirical crime genre where he's had such success to something "that’s – I hesitate to say serious, but one that’s a bit more down to earth than what I usually write,” this might be a good point to see what all the fuss is about – and the Unbound is the ideal venue for this mix of words and music. [Ryan Agee]

Thursday 19-Aug 9-11pm Poetry Night
Poetry Night puts exciting debut poets alongside more established names for a night of performance, comedy, surrealism, stories and reading. It claims it will be a poetry night that isn’t a poetry night. Names so far confirmed include Lorraine Mariner and Frank Kuppner, with more famous names in the offing.

Friday 20-Aug 9-11pm Irregular
Organised by Canongate Publishing, Irregular is a night which runs frequently, if not regularly, in Edinburgh. Bringing together writers, poets and musician, the night aims to bring a cabaret style to Edinburgh, a literary club night if you will where you can listen to some reading and some music, have a drink and maybe even a dance. So far confirmed to appear are Dan Rhodes and John Wray, with compere duties carried out by Dave Peron.

Saturday 21-Aug 9-11pm McSweeneys
Discover the life & times of Timothy McSweeney – long-lost brother, friend we all wish we had, geek in the corner, flagrant raconteur? Eli Horowitz, managing editor of the pioneering literary magazine, takes us on a journey of discovery through the stories, people, designs, and misadventures, capturing McSweeney’s unique view of America.

Sunday 22-Aug 9-11pm Year of Open Doors: New Writing
Editors Rodge Glass and Mark Buckland have put together a collection of new Scottish writing called The Year of Open Doors. The event will feature stories from the book, including authors Kapka Kassabova, Daibidh Martin, Allan Wilson, Sophie Cooke, Helen Lynch and Anneliese Mackintosh.


Monday 23-Aug 9-10.30pm Words with A L Kennedy
In 2005, literary hero A L Kennedy slid a foot into the shady world of stand-up comedy. She’s kept it there ever since, performing regularly at The Stand’s Wicked Wenches night – a celebration of all things female and funny – and rocking the Fringe with shows crammed full of beautifully crafted comedic observations. It makes sense: Kennedy has the ability to whip language into whatever obscure shape takes her fancy and uses her linguistic superpowers to good effect in her musings. Her mighty back catalogue (including the Costa prize-winning book Day) inevitably loom behind her, even in the lightest moments of whimsy, as do her strong lefty politics. Both provide a beautifully odd contrast to the... well... fun of her performances and presence. Unbound will be a chance to see some of the many, bloody entertaining, guises of A L Kennedy. [Siân Bevan]

Tuesday 24-Aug 9-11pm Writers’ Bloc
If you’re looking for thought-provoking, amusing, chilling and invariably gripping tales that are well told, then the established and new authors who make up this Edinburgh-based ‘spoken word performance collective’ will certainly give you an evening to remember.

With work published professionally in the UK, US and elsewhere – and their self-published, critically-acclaimed chapbooks regularly selling out – the members making up Writers’ Bloc are modern-day champions of an often overlooked Scottish literary tradition – the fantastique. As with their literary predecessors, Writers’ Bloc’s tales of the weird and wonderful have foundations in solid ground; in these stories, often harsh realities invariably are entwined with even harsher supernatural worlds.

Although the evening’s line-up is yet to be confirmed, the collective’s slogan – “Better read than dead” – perfectly describes their work’s intelligence, wit and political awareness; this will be an exciting opportunity for a wider audience to discover a unique element in Edinburgh’s literary world.[Paul F Cockburn]

Wednesday 25-Aug 9-11pm Golden Hour
A mixture of structure and chaos, brought together in a night of music and literature Organiser Ryan Van Winkle has booked three bands to perform at this Festival edition of his cabaret night usually housed in Edinburgh’s Forest Café. Black Diamond Express, Withered Hand, Jed & Hailey will be joined by some as yet unannounced writers and readers (they're keeping their cards close to their chests until just before the event) who will bring the necessary unpredictability to the mix.

Thursday 26-Aug 9-11pm Dragon's Pen
In partnership with Edinburgh City of Literature
Like Dragon’s Den, but with aspiring writers from seven of Scotland's creative writing schools pitching their novels to a panel consisting of published authors, publishing houses and agents. The panel is as yet a closely guarded secret, but the event should provide plenty of entertainment for an audience eager to see dreams being both crushed and made.

Friday 27-Aug 9-10.30pm Simone Felice
Despite the superfluous ‘e’ in his first name (yes, Simone is definitely a dude), Felice is otherwise preceded by an understated reputation. His musical output is categorised as Country Soul, but if you can imagine Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer and Robert Frost collaborating on songs and forming a band, you might have a more accurate idea of what to expect from Felice. His lyrics, poetry and prose give voice to a new Americana: a continued wholesome wonder of the natural world, countered by emotive political stances on the Iraq war, confirming that Felice’s heart is embroidered on his sleeve, and that he will never want for a muse. Last summer saw the release of his album Nothing Gold Can Stay, as well as the publication of his first novel Black Jesus, so his occupation of a prime Friday night slot in the Highland Park Spiegeltent looks justified, and very tempting. [Renée Rowland]

Saturday 28-Aug 9-11pm Five Dials
Produced by London publisher Hamish Hamilton, Five Dials is a literary magazine available for free in pdf form from www.fivedials.com/fivedials, designed to be printed out and enjoyed away from the screen. Based around the theme of dialogue, the event will form a showcase of their product and a launch party for their latest issue. They also promise some top secret very special guests doing readings.

Sunday 29-Aug 9-10.30pm Louise Stern
Author Louise Stern presents an event mirroring the disjointed narrative techniques employed in her debut collection of short stories, Chattering: Stories, to create a uniquely interactive author event. Stern, who is deaf, will invite the audience to communicate through notes during the evening, letting their imaginations fill in the deliberate gaps left in her reading of one of her stories, The Velvet Rope.

Monday 30-Aug 7-11pm Closing Night - Bands & Books
The final shindig of the programme looks set to be one hell of a party. Featuring Rodge Glass’s band Burnt Island, a set from Chemikal Underground’s Adrian Crowley, and Ryan Van Winkle, Alan Bissett and many more writers to be confirmed doing readings. There is also a super secret ‘very special musical guest’, whose identity will remain a mystery until close to the night. This is the only event requiring payment, with tickets available for £10.