English and Scottish Literature

LLC at the Edinburgh summer festivals 2018 - part two

This summer sees dozens of festival events featuring our staff, students and alumni. Here's what's happening during the Edinburgh International Book Festival (11th to 27th August 2018).

This year, Edinburgh celebrates its 71st anniversary as a world-leading festival city and the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC) is proud to play its part.

Following a highly-successful Edinburgh International Film Festival in June/July, we’re gearing up for the Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August.

In this second part of our coverage of LLC at the festivals, we focus on the Edinburgh International Book Festival (#edbookfest) which runs from 11th to 27th August 2018.

Booking is now open on the Book Festival website

How to Read a Novel / James Tait Black Prizes

Photo of a student reading
Olivia Ferguson, James Tait Black Prize Student Co-ordinator for Biography

How can we best appreciate works of fiction and what makes a great novel? We are delighted that, following its first edition in 2017, our Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) - How to Read a Novel - has been revised for 2018, using this year’s James Tait Black (JTB) Fiction Prize shortlist to explore its key themes of plot, characterisation, dialogue, and setting.

Developed and delivered in collaboration with the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the four-week MOOC is led by Dr Alex Lawrie, Lecturer in English Literature at LLC and one of the judges of the JTB Fiction Prize. Alex will be in conversation with shortlisted authors Omar El Akkad, Gwendoline Riley and Eley Williams at the Book Festival on Friday 17th August before the announcement of this year’s James Tait Black Prizes for both Fiction and Biography on Saturday 18th August.

Join the ‘How to Read a Novel’ MOOC on the FutureLearn website

Browse the James Tait Black Prizes events on the Book Festival website

Watch our interview with the Student Co-ordinators of the JTB Prizes for Fiction and Biography

Read our interview with Anna Girling, Teaching Assistant on the 'How to Read a Novel' MOOC

Research in conversation

Photo of a child holding a book
Growing Up With Books is currently on at the Museum of Childhood

The exhibition, Growing Up With Books, is enchanting adults and children alike during its six month run at the Museum of Childhood in Edinburgh. Dr Sarah Dunnigan from Scotland’s Early Literature for Children Initiative (SELCIE) will join the Museum’s Lyn Stevens to talk about drawing the exhibition together from an archive of over 15,000 books, spanning 200 years of children’s literature, in ‘What have children been reading?’ on Wednesday 15th August.

Book tickets for ‘What have children been reading?’ on the Book Festival website

Find out more about Growing Up With Books

As part of their transatlantic research project, Our Bondage and Our Freedom, English Literature’s Professor Celeste-Marie Bernier and Dr Andrew Taylor will be discussing the life and legacy of the self-emancipated African American activist and author, Frederick Douglass, on Monday 20th August. One of the Book Festival’s ‘Freedom and Equality’ events, the panel will include Walter O. Evans, one of the many collaborators involved in Our Bondage and Our Freedom. Chaired by Rosemary Burnett (formerly of Amnesty International), it will look at how Douglass - born 200 years ago this year - has become a symbol of social justice, reform and freedom to millions.

Book tickets for ‘Frederick Douglass: Abolitionist’ on the Book Festival website

Find out more about Our Bondage and Our Freedom

A photo of author Yan Lianke.
Yan Lianke will be discussing his new novel, 'The Day the Sun Died'.

If you missed Ali Smith’s Muriel Spark Society Annual Lecture at the National Library of Scotland last year, the celebrated author will be back to present an adapted version at the Book Festival on Tuesday 21st August. The School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC) is delighted to support ‘Spark and Time’ as part of Muriel Spark 100, celebrating the life and literary achievements of one of Scotland’s finest and internationally respected writers.

Book tickets for ‘Spark and Time’ on the Book Festival website

Shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize three times, Beijing-based writer Yan Lianke makes Edinburgh his first UK festival visit to discuss his new novel ‘The Day the Sun Died’ on Monday 27th August. This rare chance to see an acclaimed novelist is supported by The Confucius Institute.

Book tickets for ‘A Master of Chinese Literature: Yan Lianke’ on the Book Festival website

The Alwaleed Centre is sponsoring and supporting 'Insights into Islam' featuring bestselling author of 'The Islamist' and 'The House of Islam', Ed Husain. Chaired by Ruth Wishart, the event will take place on Monday 13th August. 

Book tickets for 'Insights into Islam: Ed Husain' on the Book Festival website

Graduates on stage and behind the scenes

Photo of a graduate
Graduate, Carolina Orloff, co-founded Charo Press

Ian Rankin, award-winning author of the Rebus novels, among many others, studied English Language and Literature at the University of Edinburgh in the late 1970s/early 1980s. In celebration of the 50th birthday of the University’s Main Library, he joins Rachel Hosker from the Centre for Research Collections and Damon Young, Australian philosopher and author of ‘The Art of Reading’, to discuss the role of libraries in our lives on Saturday 11th August.

Book tickets for ‘The Liberation of Libraries: Celebrating 50 Years’ on the Book Festival website

Charco Press was co-founded by Latin American Literature PhD graduate, Carolina Orloff, to promote new English language translations of outstanding contemporary Latin American literature. This year, the company is delighted that two of its authors will be appearing in the UK for the first time at the Book Festival: Daniel Mella, whose book ‘Older Brother’ will be released by Charco in August, translated by Megan McDowell; and Julián Fuks, whose latest novel ‘Resistance’ will be forthcoming in October, translated by Daniel Hahn. You can vote for both books in the Festival’s ‘First Book Award’ online.

Browse Daniel Mella events on the Book Festival website

Book tickets for ‘Julián Fuks & Gabriela Ybarra: Militants in Spain and Brazil’ on the Book Festival website

Read our interview with Carolina Orloff

New novel from our writer-in-residence

Award-winning poet and writer, Claire Askew, is currently writer-in-residence at LLC, where she organises our annual industry event The Business, advises our students on creative writing, runs writing prizes and much more. Claire’s new novel, ‘All The Hidden Truths’, explores a school shooting and the unanswered questions left in the wake of the killer’s death. She joins Alan Parks on Sunday 19th August to discuss their “crime debuts to die for”.

Book tickets for 'Crime Debuts to Die For: Claire Askew and Alan Parks' on the Book Festival website

Also look out for events featuring colleagues from the University of Edinburgh, including ‘Sri Lanka: Understanding the Past, Finding its Future’ (13th August), and ‘Freedom Debate: Gender in India and Pakistan’ (24th August), both supported by the Centre for South Asian Studies. Former Government minister, Jo Swinson, will be speaking as part of the Festival’s ‘Politics for Change’ series, in association with GenderEd, the University’s online showcase for gender and sexuality studies, and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o returns to the Book Festival to discuss tyranny, resistance and creativity on Saturday 11th August In association with the Centre of African Studies.

Are you interested in studying English Literature at LLC?

We are home to the oldest department of English Literature in the world, offering a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, both taught and research-led.

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Related links

Visit the Edinburgh International Book Festival website

Look back at our involvement in the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2018