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Miriam Vaswani's Book Club

The Fringe isn't the only show in town this August; for many, the best of the action's at the Book Festival in Edinburgh's New Town.  In this blog, FringeGuru's Miriam Vaswani charts a literary course though an ocean of words, taking in the famous and the not-so-famous writers bringing their inspiring talent to Charlotte Square.

Keorapetse Kgositsile and Lesego Rampolokeng
Published on Thursday, 26 August 2010

Keorapetse Kgositsile and Lesego Rampolokeng have writing and performance styles which manage to be strikingly different yet complimentary. I've never seen such an effective event contrasting these two very different South African poets.

New Russian Writers
Published on Tuesday, 24 August 2010

I'm very excited about this event: five young, diverse Russian writers born after the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Unfortunately the five writers, who represent several regions and whose work crosses multiple genres, barely get a chance to speak, much less read their work. The event is completely dominated by the chair and publisher of the book containing their work, Natasha Perova, and director of the ten-years-running Debut Prize, Olga Slovinkova.

DBC Pierre
Published on Sunday, 22 August 2010

According to DBC Pierre, his new novel Lights Out in Wonderland is the third in a very loose trilogy, each forming an image of the first decade of the millennium. You've heard of the other two.

The Anna Politkovskaya Event: Masha Karp and Arch Tait
Published on Sunday, 22 August 2010

Since Anna Politkovskaya's appearance at the Edinburgh International Book Festival the year before she was shot and killed near the lift in her Moscow apartment building, there has been an annual event in Edinburgh dedicated to her work.

Emily Mackie and Robert Williams
Published on Saturday, 21 August 2010

Two first-time novelists and blogger favourites, Emily Mackie and Robert Williams, have taken over the Writers' Retreat. In case you were wondering, this is great news.

Nicolai Lilin
Published on Friday, 20 August 2010

Nicolai Lilin's story of hunting and tribalism under an authoritarian state draws a strange crowd who seem more interested in what sort of bullets he's carrying and where his tattoos are, than in the content of his writing.

Helen Dunmore
Published on Thursday, 19 August 2010

When I moved to Moscow last year, most of my knowledge of Russia came from Helen Dunmore's historical novel The Seige, set in wartime Leningrad (now St Petersburg). This might not seem like much to start a relationship with a country, but the novel gave me the advantage of knowing something of the personal lives and habits (albeit fictional) of Russian people, underneath the impassive faces on the Metro.

The Edwin Morgan International Poetry Competition
Published on Monday, 16 August 2010

In retrospect, the fact the event showcasing the work of the winners of The Edwin Morgan International Poetry Competition occurred the evening before Mr Morgan's death at the age of ninety becomes an excellent tribute to the national makar, and certainly one of the greatest poets in Scottish history.

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