Comics @ Edinburgh International Book Festival 2011

The Edinburgh International Book Festival is not just the largest literary festival in the UK but, it claims, in the world and it returns to the Scottish capital’s Charlotte Square Gardens from 13 to 29 August. Last year, under its new director Nick Barley, BookFest shied away somewhat from the number of comics related events that had been prevalent in previous years. This year the majority of the comic events tend to be workshops in the Children’s Programme, which are generally aimed at advertised age ranges, rather than talks in the general programme.

The comics highlight of the 2010 was undoubtedly writer Alan Moore being interviewed by political cartoonist Steve Bell closely followed by Bell’s talk with Doonsbury creator Gary Trudeau. This year the standout comics item in the programme must be writer Grant Morrison talking about his new book Supergods. This will take place on Saturday 20 August at 9:30pm and, as Grant rarely appears at public events, we would expect the signing session afterwards to stretch into the night.

Earlier the same day as part of the Children’s Programme John Fardell will be talking about the art and craft of Herge’s Tintin books to a family audience advertised as 8+, while the day before, at 3:30pm on Friday 19 August, writer Tony Lee and artist Dan Boultwood will be talking about their graphic novel series The Baker Street Irregulars to an age range of 10-14.

The following week turns into something of a DFC reunion with Emma Vieceli, Sarah McIntyre and the Etherington Brothers all running workshops. Wednesday 24 August sees Emma running Drawing Vampire Academy for ages 12-15 at 6:30pm, while Robin and Lawrence Etherington will be running a Monkey Nuts workshop on Saturday 27 August for ages 9+. The Etheringtons will also be running a workshop in the School’s Programme on Friday 26 August while Sarah will be running two school workshops on Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24. Please note that School’s Programme events are not open to the general public although there are often public signing sessions in the Book Tents afterwards.

Emma Vieceli will also be appearing in the main programme with academic Dr Mel Gibson on Wednesday 24 August for a talk on the role of comics in education entitled Getting To Grips With Graphic Novels, while the day before at 8pm on Tuesday 20 August, after his strand of talks last year, Steve Bell returns for a solo talk on his work. Later that week Metaphrog will be running two workshops on their graphic novel series Louis at 4pm on Friday 26 and 3:30pm on Sunday 28 August both of which are for age ranges 12-15. In between those workshops at 5pm on Saturday 27 Tracey Turner will be talking to 8-12 year olds about her Comic Strip Big Fat Book Of Knowledge while the final comics events will be on Sunday 28 August at 8:30pm when William Goldsmith of Vignettes Of Ystov and Nick Hayes of The Rime Of The Modern Mariner will appear together and who are, according to the programme, “two writers proving that the graphic novel is a true modern literary artform”.

Tickets are a selection of prices running from £4.50 for the children’s workshops up to £10 for the main programme talks.

There are more details of all the talks at the Edinburgh International Book Festival website where tickets can also be purchased.

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