Thus far the book festival season has failed to tempt me. The recent Boswell festival, and the current Borders event, both have excellent speakers and, tempting though it is to travel just to hear the superb John Sessions, I’ve refrained.
But it may be different in a couple of weeks. Here’s a list of just a few of the names on offer, at one event, many of which the regular reader may recognise from previous witterings on these pages:
That’s quite a line-up, and one that would tempt me many a mile. It’s all part of the Littoral strand of the East Neuk Festival, and it takes place over the first week in July.
East Neuk? I hear some say. Which quaint part of some hobbitesque grove is that?
Actually it’s my ancestral stomping ground, for I hail from a long line of farm labourers in a certain corner of the Kingdom of Fife – that’s correct, cross the Forth Bridge and turn right, and keep going, and going a bit more.
Kilrenny church is one of the venues, and they’ll be trampling the ancestral bones in that ancient kirk-yard. Ainster (that’s Anstruther to the outside world) is another favourite too, venue of one of the best fish suppers on offer, and an excellent museum, focussing on fishing and life for my ancestral fishwives.
So it’s a good spot for genealogy in this household; ergo a trip just might be possible. There’s stuff for the weans too, a Foraging Workshop, on at the same time as Creative Writing, an insight into landscape writing, outdoors with wellies and notebooks on the hoof, with Linda Cracknell. I’ve one of her works on the shelf, part of the reading destined for an impending trip back to Netherlands with tent and bikes. But sod it, that workshop clashes with Miriam Darlington talking about otters. Angst indeed.
Esther Woolfson, who has an excellent essay in today’s Sunday Herald, is talking about birdsong; and John Lister-Kaye will be being himself, tales of Aigas, and otters and Maxwell perhaps. Gavin Francis will be there, with his massive mitts and snoticles.
But, I’m told, it’s the same weekend as The Ghamelawallah’s birthday bash, and it’s his half-century. Move the party through to Fife I’m thinking, but I might have a tough job selling that to The Mistress. Mind you their elder offspring is just up the road in Clootie City…….