The Festival Bookshelf

There was a time when it was either/or – Book Festival for the writers, Fringe or International Festival for the performers. Now it seems everyone's an author. Or a performer. Or both. Sharpies out.

feature (edinburgh) | Read in About 4 minutes
Published 21 Jul 2019
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The Other Mother

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 837

Who: Sorry to disappoint, but no appearance from Dickens this year. But, the next best thing, perhaps, is the appearance of Eddie Izzard at the Book festival, reading from and talking about Pip's larks. Bonus points for anyone who gets their first edition Dickens signed by Izzard. You get two chances, as he's also doing a run at the Fringe.


So I Called Myself Pip, Charlotte Square Gardens, 10 Aug, 5:45pm

Expectations of Great Expectations (WIP), Assembly George Square Studios, 7 Aug–25 Aug, not 12, 13, 19, 20, 2pm

Happy Fat: Taking Up Space in a World That Wants to Shrink You by Sofie Hagen

Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4013

Who: The Danish comic and 2015 Best Newcomer is now a published author, gracing the Books Festival to talk about her memoir, Happy Fat. She's also back with a new show, The Bumswing, and if you don't catch those you can listen to her hit podcasts Made of Human and Secret Dinosaur Cult.


Telling Her Story, Charlotte Square Gardens, 17 Aug, 3:15pm

The Bumswing, Pleasance Dome, 31 Jul–25 Aug, not 12, 7pm

The Other Mother by Jen Brister

Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,7322

Who: Standup, writer, radio presenter, podcaster...and now author Jen Brister has been touring last year's justifiably sellout show, Meaningless, all year. Quite where she's found time to write a guide to parenting from a non hetero-normal perspective is anyone's guess. Brister is the titular 'other', i.e. non-biological mother to twins. 


Under Privilege, Monkey Barrel Comedy, 1–25 Aug, not 12, 7:45pm

The Holy Vible: The Book The Bible Could Have Been by Elis James and John Robins

Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,488

Who: Are you on email? You simply have to be these days. Nope? Then you probably haven't been initiated into the world of Robins and James, whose podcast on XFM, and now BBC Radio 6 Music has amassed them quite a cult following. Robins just happens to be a previous Edinburgh Comedy award winner, while James is one of Wales' best known (and bilingual) comics. He's busy being a new dad this August, but Robins is back. Vibe on.


Hot Shame, Pleasance Courtyard, 1–25 Aug, not 12, 7:30pm

Diary of a Drag Queen by Crystal Rasmussen

Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 57,160

Who: You might know them better as part of Denim, the drag queens who have glammed their way to success at the Fringe over the past few years. Denim aren't here this year, but Rasmussen more than fills the gap with tales of life in song, dance and, apparently, a children's swimming pool. Her Nobel-nominated memoir sits on shelves alongside a new book, Unicorn, from her co-queen in Denim, Glamrou, also known as Amrou Al-Kadhi.


Crystal Rasmussen presents The Bible 2 (Plus a Cure for Shame, Violence, Betrayal and Athlete's Foot) Live!, Underbelly Cowgate, 1–25 Aug, not 12, 5:50pm

Brave by Rose McGowan

Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,977

Who: Bestselling author, Rose McGowan. Also, actor, activist, model – she's the one who got killed by the garage door in Scream. Her memoir, Brave, gives an account of her assault by disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, and the aftermath. Her Fringe debut, Planet 9, moves forward positively and creatively from this horror, and is about creating new possibilities via a journey to a new planet.


Planet 9, Assembly Hall, 15–18 Aug, 1pm

Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay

Amazon Bestsellsers Rank: 149,358

Who: Who else but the poet, novelist, Scottish Makar and all-round wonder Jackie Kay. Her Memoir, Red Dust Road, has been adapted for stage by Tanika Gupta and premieres at the Edinburgh International Festival. It's about growing up in Glasgow to adopted parents and embarking on a 20-year search, all the way to Nigeria, for her real parents. It's directed by Dawn Walton, who also directed Fringe smash-hit Salt, by Selina Thompson.


Red Dust Road, The Lyceum, 14–18 Aug, times vary