Comics @ Edinburgh International Book Festival 2017


Tickets go on sale today for events at the largest literary festival in the world, the Edinburgh International Book Festival which this year runs in the Scottish capital from 12 to 28 August. As ever BookFest has a selection of comics related talks and workshops, mainly under its theme of Stripped, named for the major festival-within-a-festival that BookFest ran in 2013 on the subject of comics and graphic novels.

This year the BookFest has expanded out of it traditional Charlotte Square Gardens site and into George Street with many of the comic events taking place in the new Bosco Theatre venue. The comics and comics people events are as follows –

Metaphrog: The Little Mermaid
Mon 14 Aug 2:30pm – 3:30pm
Bosco Theatre (George Street)
£5.00
Ages 8-12
Popular graphic novelist duo Metaphrog present The Little Mermaid, a beautifully illustrated new version of the Hans Christian Andersen classic. Learn how they turn well-known tales into graphic novels and watch in awe as they recreate some of their magical illustrations.

David Bishop and Steve MacManus: How a Comic Book Icon Rose to the Top
Tue 15 Aug 8:15pm – 9:15pm
Bosco Theatre (George Street)
£12.00
For anyone with even the merest interest in comic books, the story of 2000AD is an essential part of their education. David Bishop and Steve MacManus have been editors of the publication in very different eras and are in a privileged position to discuss the inside story. Maybe they’ll have juicy stories to regale us with about the likes of Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison.

Stef Penney on Modesty Blaise: Reading Workshop
Wed 16 Aug 1:00pm – 2:30pm
Writers’ Retreat
£15.00
Join novelist Stef Penney to look at the character and manifestations of Modesty Blaise. A talented young woman with a criminal past, she first appeared as a British comic strip created by Peter O’Donnell and Jim Holdaway in 1963. It was later adapted into numerous films (sic), 11 novels and 2 short story collections. Expect an open discussion from the start: you can either read the work ahead of the event or be inspired to dip into it afterwards. Chaired by Janet Smyth.

Mathieu Burniat and Thibault Damour: The World of Quantum Physics as a Graphic Novel
Sat 19 Aug 2:15pm – 3:15pm
Garden Theatre
£12.00
Dubbed as ‘Tintin meets Brian Cox’, Mysteries of the Quantum Universe gets its head round the mind-bending world of quantum physics in a graphic novel which took France by storm. The authors, Mathieu Burniat (graphic illustrator) and Thibault Damour (theoretical physicist) discuss the book’s phenomenal success and how the graphic novel was the best way to get their points across in an accessible manner.

Roger McGough and Chris Riddell: Performing Poetry with Illustration
Sat 19 Aug 8:15pm – 9:30pm
Baillie Gifford Main Theatre
£12.00
On the 50th anniversary of The Mersey Sound, the anthology that launched his career, we are thrilled to welcome Roger McGough, one of our most celebrated and distinctive poets. He is joined by Chris Riddell, one of the UK’s best-loved illustrators and cartoonists, to talk about their new collaboration on McGough’s Summer with Monika, discuss McGough’s 50 years at the helm of British poetry, and, of course, to perform poetry with live illustration.

Comic Creations with Neill Cameron
Sun 20 Aug 4:15pm – 5:15pm
Baillie Gifford Imagination Lab
£5.00
Ages 8-12
Hear Neill Cameron, author of How to Make Awesome Comics and Mega Robo Bros, talk about what it takes to create rocket-powered adventures, watch him recreate some of his most imaginative illustrations, and pick up some tips for creating a comic book of your own.

M R Carey and Joe Hill: Terrifying Dystopian Dramas
Sun 20 Aug 5:45pm – 6:45pm
Garden Theatre
£12.00
DC and Marvel writer Mike Carey ditches his first name and uses his initials to indicate he’s back on novel-creating duty. The Boy on the Bridge follows up the monumentally successful The Girl With All the Gifts and sticks to similar post-apocalyptic territory, while Joe Hill continues his hugely popular mystery-thriller ways with The Fireman, which has a globe-threatening virus taking hold of America.

Hannah Berry and Sarah Laing: Graphic Novels of Influential Women
Sun 20 Aug 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Bosco Theatre (George Street)
£12.00
Katherine Mansfield was the only writer of whom Virginia Woolf was jealous. The New Zealand icon, who died from tuberculosis at the age of 34, is brought to vivid life through Sarah Laing’s new graphic novel memoir. Hannah Berry’s Livestock is a savage satire in words and pictures in which human cloning is legalised while the government is concerned about the political activism of a vastly popular female singer.

David Baillie and Rob Davis: Comic Capers of a Deadly Kind
Tue 22 Aug 8:15pm – 9:15pm
Bosco Theatre (George Street)
£12.00
A must for fans of dark graphic novel fantasies. David Baillie has set his Red Thorn series in a modern-day Glasgow which is fuelled by Scottish mythology and characters who make some bad decisions. Rob Davis follows up award-winning The Motherless Oven with The Can Opener’s Daughter as we find out more about Vera Pike and her idiosyncratic family.

Pant-astic Parties with Sarah McIntyre
Sat 26 Aug 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre
£5.00
Ages 4-7
Prince Pip cannot wait to pick out his special birthday pants, but when he goes to the drawer it’s empty! How can he go to the party without them? See award-winning illustrator Sarah McIntyre draw the crazy underwear found in The Prince of Pants and then create some of your own in this event packed full of… pants!

Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve: Funfair Repairs
Sun 27 Aug 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre
£5.00
Families & 7+
Dynamic duo Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve return with their highly-anticipated fourth adventure, Jinks & O’Hare Funfair Repair. Emily loves living on Funfair Moon but when chaos strikes, she must step up to save it from doom. Help Sarah and Philip to come up with some crazy funfair repairs – can you stop the marauding candyfloss creature in its tracks?

Debi Gliori and Pam Smy: Grey Area
Sat 26 Aug 4:45pm – 5:45pm
Baillie Gifford Imagination Lab
£5.00
Ages 12+
Debi Gliori shares her experience of depression in the beautiful Night Shift, while in Thornhill Pam Smy builds an emotional connection between two people separated by time but drawn together by place. Meet these two exceptional illustrators and learn why they chose to use only black and white images to carry the weight of their stories.

There are more details of the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2017, and how to book tickets, at the BookFest’s website.

Jeremy Briggs

News, reviews, interviews and features for print and on-line: Spaceship Away (since October 2005), Bear Alley (since February 2007), downthetubes (since June 2007), and Eagle Times (since October 2008). Plus Titan’s Dan Dare and Johnny Red reprints, Ilex’s War Comics: A Graphic History and 500 Essential Graphic Novels, and Print Media’s The Iron Moon and Strip magazine.

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