Great news! If book festivals are your thing,
Crispin Hershey David Mitchell is among dozens of authors from around the world slated to appear at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August.
If you haven’t attended a book festival with Mr. Hershey, now’s an important time to go over the rules governing how you should approach him: Stay in a neat, single-file line, avoid eye contact, don’t complain if he calls you a punter, and under no circumstances are you ever to bring up the name Richard Cheeseman. That pubic-bearded rectal probe will pay for his savage review of Echo Must Die, which is one of Mr. Hershey’s best novels, according to Mr. Hershey.
Fortunately David Mitchell is the polar opposite of his surly alter ego, and if you like how music shapes chapters like “Tokyo” from Ghostwritten or Robert Frobisher’s letters from “Cloud Atlas,” you’ll probably dig what the organizers of the book festival are planning with Mitchell:
“David Mitchell (the author of Cloud Atlas rather than the comedian) will be taking part in a special event in collaboration with David Greilsammer, reading micro stories interspersed with piano music in the magnificent surroundings of St Mary’s Cathedral. Mitchell will also be presenting more events exploring the boundaries between books and music featuring percussionist Evelyn Glennie, composer Sally Beamish, novelist Hari Kunzru and folk duo The Unthanks.”
If these micro-stories are anything like the other short stories Mitchell has penned for various art shows and publications, they’ll almost certainly be set in the wider Mitchellverse, and chances are good that they’ll involve familiar characters. There will be several opportunities to see Mitchell read his stories as he collaborates with different musicians, organizers said.
This year’s theme is “Brave New Worlds,” and festival director Nick Barley says each event is structured as a two-way exchange, so audience members can “get involved, ask questions and say what they think.”
“We’re taking the opportunity to continue changing the kind of events that we deliver,” Barley told The Scotsman. “The stereotypical idea of what a book festival event is has been changing over the years. It continues to change and evolve. The audience profile is shifting, it’s becoming younger, it’s becoming broader in terms of demographics and we need to try to accommodate that.”
The festival’s program is massive, with hundreds of events scheduled over a 16-day period from Aug. 12 to 28, and a cast of novelists, poets and musicians from more than 50 countries. Some events are already sold out, so grab those tickets while they’re still available. For tickets and information, visit the festival’s official website.