Review: The Unthanks – Music in the Imagination, EIBF 2017

As rain batters down on the roof of our tent, competing with the various noises particular to Edinburgh at this time of the year – fireworks from the Tattoo, the crashing drums and bass from the band playing in the Spiegeltent next door – our host for the evening quips “it’s like being in the womb of a mother at a Metallica concert”. But when Rachel Unthank stands to sing, she holds us all captive with her presence. It is just her voice, and the story that she is telling, that fills this space. 

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Review: Harry Giles and Katherena Vermette, EIBF 2017

“This is a nice way to meet the audience!” trills our host, Ryan Van Winkle, as he passes out little red books to a roomful of expectant listeners. Inside, excerpts of ten writers’ work. Five are Scottish, and five are from the Americas. The Outriders project, of which this book is just a small part, saw these writers paired together not only to share stories, but to travel together in different corners of the New World, which of course is the Old World too, though this is often forgotten. 

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Review: Tariq Ali – Revolutionary Road, EIBF 2017

An expectant queue snakes around the boardwalk that rings the wet Saturday morning grass of Charlotte Square Gardens. Edinburgh’s International Book Festival may have just begun, but the venue is sold out and there’s that unmistakable ripple of pre-event anticipation travelling up and down the line. We’re here to see Tariq Ali, who will be discussing his most recent book, The Dilemmas of Lenin, published in commemoration of the Russian Revolution’s centenary. 

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