Unbound 2017: The Programme

A night by night guide to goings on in the Charlotte Square Spiegeltent. Events kick off at 9pm, although you might want to arrive half an hour earlier to join the queue (or more, if it looks like a popular choice). Each is, as always, completely free

Feature | 04 Jul 2017

The Art of Neuroscience
A unique creative collision of words, music and aroma, bringing together stories and curiosities from the world of neuroscience. As the Department of Clinical Neuroscience prepares to relocate to Little France after more than 50 years at the Western General, musician and composer Alex Menzies and cross-media artist Susana Cámara Leret join writer Gavin Inglis for the first Unbound you’ll experience with your eyes, ears AND nose. A sensory sensation.

Island Getaway
Take a break from the urban bustle of Edinburgh’s festivals and join the editors of the Island Review, Jordan Ogg and Malachy Tallack, as they bring together a spirited crew of writers and musicians for their Unbound debut. Expect celebration, rumination and elaboration on the extraordinary appeal of islands, told in story, song and verse by guests including Amy Liptrot, Miss Irenie Rose and Kevin MacNeil. A night not to be missed by the islo-curious and islomaniac alike.

After Dark
A night of unsettling stories and music – when the thrills become terrifying, dark, brooding shadows grow and our dreams become nightmares. Come hear two of Argentina’s most exciting new writers, Mariana Enriquez, author of the gothic Things We Lost in The Fire, and Samanta Schweblin, whose Fever Dream is a haunting tale of broken souls. They’re joined by two of Scotland’s best musicians: Rachel Newton, who revitalises traditional Scottish folk tales, and Ela Orleans, who soundtracks a journey through the underworld.

Shoreline of Infinity's Event Horizon
Edinburgh’s monthly live SF cabaret breaks out for Unbound with a special show celebrating Ken MacLeod’s Guest Selected series of Book Festival events and featuring science fiction writers from the Festival plus a mix of poetry, songs, music, drama and art. It’s science fiction, and it’s alive! Shoreline of Infinity is Scotland’s science fiction magazine, published quarterly with short stories, poetry, artwork and articles.

The Donaldsons Strike Back!
After storming the Spiegeltent in 2015, legends of children’s literature Julia and Malcolm Donaldson return to the Unbound stage for more rambunctious stories and songs. The creators of the world-famous Gruffalo have escaped for one night to captivate the big kids. Enthrallingly entertaining, mesmerisingly magnificent – staying up late on a school night has never been so much fun.

Kayo Chingonyi & Friends
Kayo Chingonyi is one of the most exciting new voices in UK poetry. His debut collection Kumukanda is a powerful, hilarious exploration of race and masculinity which kicks hard against easy notions of identity. Host of wordy wonders in London like The Poetics of Grime (ICA) and The Blend, for Edinburgh he has created a special Unbound night featuring the likes of poet Miriam Nash, local alt-folk singer-songwriter Genevieve Dawson and East London rapper and MC, Eklipse.

Babble On Poetry Party
Still think of poets as wallflowers hiding in their garrets? You’ve obviously never been to their parties – but tonight’s your night. Hosted by armchair revolutionary Elvis McGonagall, Saturday’s Unbound sees an eruption of wild voices. Ten-time slam champ Vanessa Kisuule, mysterious ‘Poet Laureate of Twitter’ Brian Bilston and New Zealand’s Hera Lindsay Bird – whose poems caused a social media stir earlier this year – all take to the stage, while 2017’s Scottish National Slam winner Daniel Piper shares his special brew of comedic performance poetry. An unmissable, unforgettable night of new verse.

True Stories Live – Lost & Found
Love The Moth? This intimate storytelling event asks ordinary people to tell true stories from their life to the friendly Spiegeltent crowd. With the theme of Lost & Found, the stories might be heartwarming, revealing, funny, shocking or sad – or all of these at once. Molly Naylor introduces a mix of storytellers, including some Festival performers. Sign up for the True Stories workshop earlier in the day and you get to be one of the storytellers.

Beating New Passages
A soulful night of music exploring Scotland’s relationship with India. Yorkston/Thorne/Khan perform hits from their critically acclaimed debut album Everything Sacred and follow-up Neuk Wight Delhi All Stars – a mingling of traditions from Britain and India via the Appalachian Mountains. Aziz & Dal present their electrifying blend of British beats and Asian blues, interspersed by readings from Abir Mukherjee and Nalini Paul.

Meet The Last Poets
Formed in the crucible of 1960s black rights activism, with the Black Panthers at the peak of their powers and an irresistible mood of revolutionary hope in the air, The Last Poets have come to be known as ‘the godfathers of hip-hop’, such has been their impact on generations of musicians. This, their first ever appearance in Scotland, is unmissable for true fans of the genre. Tonight they perform their vital, vibrant, often furious work and are joined by Christine Otten, whose novel The Lost Poets captures their lives.

Fun Lovin' Crime Writers
Descending upon Unbound like a group of maverick loner cops brought together to crack one last case, a musical literary incarnation of Avengers Assemble, crime writer supergroup, the Fun Lovin' Crime Writers will storm the stage with a selection of suitably inspired tunes. Join literary superstars Mark Billingham, Doug Johnstone, Stuart MacBride, Val McDermid, Chris Brookmyre and Luca Veste plus a collection of murderously good guests for their first live gig together. Dare we say, it would be criminal to miss it?

Muldoon’s Picnic
Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon, this show is described by Muldoon himself as ‘an omnium-gatherum’, by Time Out as a ‘music-and-literature extravaganza’ and by us as a stonkingly good night out! Rarely staged outside New York, and in Edinburgh for one night only, Muldoon and his house band Rogue Oliphant (including  Cait O’Riordan of The Pogues, Chris Harford and Ray Kubian) are joined by special guests: Steeleye Span-singer Maddy Prior, singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan, award-winning writer Bernard MacLaverty and leading Scottish poet Don Paterson. Produced by Poetry Ireland and supported by an Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon and Arts Council of Northern Ireland Touring Grant. Hosted in New York City by the Irish Arts Center.

Neu! Reekie!: Jock Scot Unbound
'I woke up in a ditch clutching a pack of Sugar Puffs, it was 1970’. Join Neu! Reekie! hosts Kevin Williamson and Michael Pedersen for a night paying tribute to the legendary Edinburgh poet Jock Scot. A dead-pan performer with an irascible personality, his work captured life on the edges in 80s Britain and celebrated his love for his native city. Co-programmed by Davy Henderson and featuring the likes of The Sexual Objects, Salena Godden, Gareth Sager, Tam Dean Burn, Don Paterson, Kevin Harman and Faye Banks.

Dive: Homage
Promising to blow fresh glitter up the arse of any festival in their wake, Dive Queer Party bring back their sell out 2016 hit Homage with a special literary plot twist. Travel to the ends of the rainbow with chief weirdo Miss Annabel Sings, a smörgåsbord of homegrown performance talent and a handpicked selection of international guest stars. Strap yourself in for a mind-blowing celebration of the heroes of queer culture from books, music, film and fashion from the past 70 years – on the 50th anniversary of the UK decriminalising homosexuality. Featuring Le Pustra, Alice Rabbit and many more.

The Flint & Pitch Revue
A delicious mash-up of spoken word, poetry and music featuring some of the best rising stars of the literary and music scenes in Scotland. The bill includes poetry and spoken word from Rachel McCrum and Sara Hirsch; up-and-coming 404 Ink author Chris McQueer; music from Laurence Made Me Cry and more, all brought to you by Scotland's finest champions of new voices, Flint & Pitch.

MONDAY 28 AUGUST (7pm til late)
Dive: The Last Night on Earth
Ladies, gentlemen and everyone in between! Anarchic entertainers Dive Queer Party conjure the spirit of ’47 to stage a closing cabaret party of epic proportions. With fakery making the headlines and the world falling apart around our ears, the glitter-spattered minds at Dive Towers have had time to reflect: what would we do on our last night on earth? Well this, obviously. Join Miss Annabel Sings, the Dive family and the queerest pick ‘n’ mix of the Fringe as they conga their way into a brave new world – one where you can be whoever you want to be, however you want to be, whenever you want to be. It’s the closing night of the Festival: party like it’s your last!