Comics @ Edinburgh BookFest

With only a week to go before the start of this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival it seems that the comics related events have proved to be exceedingly popular. So popular in fact that the majority of them are already sold out. Last year’s EdBookFest events were featured in a downthetubes photo review here.

This year’s Festival begins on Saturday 15 August with a Beano character workshop for children in which former Dandy editor, DC Thomson archivist and author of The History Of The Beano, Morris Heggie, former Beano and BeanoMAX editor Euan Kerr and Minnie The Minx artist Jim Petrie will take over the Studio Theatre to create a new Beano inspired character with the help of the children in the audience. This appears to be a repeat of their workshop at the Glasgow Aye Write book festival and, like the Glasgow one, is a sell out. Indeed most of the comics related workshops are sold out – Mio Matsumoto’s manga art workshop, Gary Erskine’s comic art workshop, David Bishop’s adult writers workshop, Metaphrog’s comic creation workshop and Chie Kutsuwada’s manga art workshop are all sold out. In addition Gerald Scarf’s political cartooning talk is sold out, as well as both Neil Gaiman’s solo talk and his talk with Ian Rankin on their graphic novel work, plus writer Mark Millar’s talk about his graphic novels.

At the moment there are still some tickets left for Mio Matsumoto’s talk about her autobiographical manga book My Diary on Saturday 15 August, comics academic Dr Mel Gibson’s talk entitled Visual Literacy, Learning and Graphic Novels on Thursday 20 August and Tony Lee’s talk on his new Robin Hood graphic novel on Tuesday 25 August. Hopefully this ability for the Festival’s comics related events to sell out will stand them in good stead with the new Festival Director due to arrive in 2010 whoever he or she may be.

Entrance to the Book Festival in Edinburgh Charlotte Square Gardens is free and there are two major book stall tents at the site. It is worth pointing out that most of the Festival’s guests do a signing session immediately after their talks which are normally accessible to those without tickets for the talks themselves and will often sign additional copies of their books which are put on sale at cover price in the book stall tents. So if you are in Edinburgh, and you have missed the chance of getting tickets, it can still be worth turning up on the day for autographs.

More details of the events are on the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s website.

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