My favourite place to be on an August day is in the Scottish capital’s Charlotte Square Gardens with the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the world’s largest literary festival, in full swing around me.
Obviously it is best when the sun is splitting the trees, but it is Scotland and there is a certain charm to watching rubber ducks with BookFest ID tags bob in the bigger puddles to alert the festival goers to them.
Over the years I have listened as producer Gerry Anderson discussed what was to be his last television series, watched motorcycle adventurer Charlie Boorman be totally unfazed when the electricity failed and all the lights went out, was in the queue of people cracking very loud Dandy Whizbangs as former Prime Minister Gordon Brown walked by with his (presumably armed) protection detail, and saw the look on Neil Gaiman’s face when Ian Rankin put him on the spot about his then still secret Doctor Who script.
In recent years BookFest has included comics and graphic novels to a greater or lesser extent in its programming with some major names such as Watchmen’s Alan Moore and Doonesbury’s Garry Trudeau appearing. However in this the BookFest’s 30th year, the advent of the Stripped ‘festival within a festival’ adds a whole new dimension to the BookFest’s coverage of sequential illustration and I’m pleased to be one of the bloggers invited to share it with both comics enthusiasts and the wider public on the new Stripped blog. There is so much more to comics in the UK than the public’s perception of “The Dandy and The Beano” and a lot of it will be in Edinburgh this August.
The Stripped comics events through the entire run of the 2013 BookFest are listed in chronological order below. Those events marked with CP are Stripped events included in the Baillie Gifford children’s programme.
Monday 12 August
8:30pm – artist/ writer Chris Ware discusses Building Stories
Tuesday 13 August
8:30pm – artist/journalist Joe Sacco discusses Journalism
Wednesday 14 August
7:00pm – Chris Ware and Joe Sacco discuss their work
Tuesday 19 August
7:00pm – physicist James Kaklios discusses The Physics Of Superheroes
Thursday 22 August
6:00pm – artist/writer John Fardell looks at Tintin, Dan Dare and Heath Robinson (CP)
7:00pm – artist/writers Barroux and Cathy Brett discuss their themes of soldiers
Friday 23 August
1:00pm – writer/journalist Paul Gravett leads a workshop on Reading Graphic Novels
3:30pm – artist/writers Will Morris and Edward Ross discuss their work
4:00pm – artist/writer Melinda Gebbie discusses her work
5:30pm – writer/journalist Paul Gravett discusses the history of comics
6:30pm – artist Warren Pleece shows how to draw the living dead from Daren Shan’s ZOM-B series (CP)
7:00pm – artist/writer Barroux and translator Daniel Hahn discuss the translation of books into English
8:00pm – writer Grant Morrison discusses his career
8:30pm – writer Roger Gibson and artist Warren Pleece discuss using London as a setting in their work
Saturday 24 August
10:00am – artist/writer Adam Murphy gives a Phoenix comic workshop (CP)
11:00am – artist/writer Jon McNaught gives a full day masterclass on creating comics
12:30pm – Guardian cartoonists Stephen Collins and Tom Gauld discuss their inspirations
2:00pm – writer Robin Etherington and artist Lorenzo Etherington talk about their work (CP)
4:30pm – artist/writer Posy Simmonds discusses Mrs Weber’s Omnibus
4:30pm – writer Robbie Morrison and artist Jim Murray discuss Drowntown
7:00pm – writer Keiron Gillen and artist Jamie McKelvie discuss Young Avengers
8:30pm – artist/writers Hannah Berry and Gareth Brookes discuss their horror tinged work
Sunday 25 August
10:00am – artist Sonia Martinez shows how to create superheroes (CP)
10:30am – artist/writer Garen Ewing discusses the Rainbow Orchid (CP)
11:00am – artist/writer Gary Northfield gives a full day masterclass on creating comics
11:30am – artist Jamie Courtier and writer Vicky Kimm discuss The Adventures Of Tooki (CP)
Noon – artist/writer Bryan Talbot and writer Mary Talbot discuss their work
2:00pm – artist Sarah McIntrye and writer Phillip Reeve discuss Oliver And The Seawigs (CP)
2:30pm – Comic Consequences: artists and writers are challenged to create a story live on stage (CP)
3:00pm – 2000AD: Back To The Future panel discussion including Dan Abnett and Warren Pleece
3:30pm – artist Sonia Martinez and writer Craig Silvey discuss their work (CP)
4:00pm – writer Lauren Beukus and artist Inaki Miranda discuss Fairest Vol2: The Hidden Kingdom
4:30pm – artist Emma Vieceli gives a manga art workshop (CP)
5:00pm – 9th Art Awards Ceremony
5:30pm – Amnesty Imprisoned Writers Series – In Graphic Detail with readings by Hannah Berry and Garen Ewing
7:00pm – writer Paul Cornell and artist John Higgins discuss their work
8:00pm – writer Neil Gaiman discusses his work on Sandman
Monday 26 August
1:00pm – critic Stuart Kelly leads a reading workshop on Batman
2:00pm – artist/writers Rutu Modan and Leanne Shapton discuss their work
3:30pm – writer Rob Davis and political cartoonist Martin Rowson discuss their work on literary classics
5:00pm – The Beano At 75: a celebration of Britain’s best known comic with editors Morris Heggie and Mike Stirling
7:00pm – artist/writers Glyn Dillon and Jon McNaught discuss their work
8:30pm – writer Denise Mina and artist Andrea Mutti discuss their work on Steig Larson’s Millennium Trilogy
In addition on the weekend of 24 and 25 August, the free Stripped Mini Comic Fair featuring Scottish small press will take place at 5 Charlotte Square, opposite the gardens that the BookFest takes place in, plus the on the evenings of 24 and 25 August the free Jura Unbound events in the BookFest’s Speigletent beginning at 9:00pm will have comics themes.
• There are more details of all the Edinburgh International Book Festival Stripped events at the BookFest website.
• Tickets for all the events go on sale via the BookFest website on Friday 28 June 2013.
downthetubes Top Tip: Each event lasts one hour (unless otherwise stated in the programme) and there is a 30 minute gap before the next talk in the same tent to allow the audience to exit and the tent to be reset. Doors are normally opened 10-15 minutes before the talk takes place and close at the beginning of the talk with a strict policy of no latecomers admitted. It is therefore not possible to attend two events which begin one hour apart in different tents as the doors of the second tent will be closed before the audience exits the first tent. Be aware of this when booking tickets.
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 DC Thomson’s The Art Of Ian Kennedy, 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.