West Port Book Festival: David Gaffney and Hannah McGill

17 10 2011

WPBF Event: Hannah McGillPeter Bell’s Books was the venue for Sunday’s Short Story Hour. Reading first was Review Show regular, critic and writer, Hannah McGill. Her fiction is a delicately balanced mix of poetic phrases and story telling; you find yourself drawn into her reading.

Coming across as more nervous in front of the closely-packed twenty people as when I’ve seen on television, she nevertheless delivered her reading expertly and without question.

Also reading was David Gaffney, the superb author of flash and longer fiction books such as Sawn-Off Tales and Aromabingo, and the author of the newly available, The Half-Life of Songs.

WPBF Event: David GaffneyGaffney’s fiction is engaging and striking from the start—it has to be as most of the stories he deals with are around 150 words long—but it’s his ability to capture the nuances of human nature in every day situations, to tell a fully plotted story or deliver a funny tale with such an acute turn of phrase, that makes his brand of fiction stand out.

Immediately engaging with his audience as he read from Sawn-Off Tales, he showed why he is an expert at delivering great live readings to back up the excellent books he writes.

Related Links
www.davidgaffney.org
www.peterbell.net

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West Port Book Festival: Rob Shearman

17 10 2011

WPBF Event: Rob ShearmanShearman’s event was held in the very nice surroundings of a brand new bookshop in Edinburgh, Pulp Fiction, specialising in genre fiction. Shearman, who is most famous for writing the “Dalek” episode of Doctor Who, is more widely regarded by those in the know as an accomplished fiction writer.

He comes across as a very friendly and welcoming chap, who delivered a superb reading of a short story called Coming in to Land, complete with rolling pitches, comical and tension loaded pauses, and a sense of a real connection with his small, but attentive audience.

Expertly guided through his interview with Stuart Kelly of The Scotsman, Shearman admitted that he regards his Doctor Who connection as the difference “when people ask me if they know anything I’ve written. In the past they never used to, now I get to say well, yes, actually.” Yet despite his awards, he still regards himself and his acting as “stunningly mediocre”, something his audience generally disagreed with.

Pulp Fiction, apart from being perfect in the sense it’s a genre fiction bookshop, is also a splendid bookshop in its own right. There’s no stuffiness, it has an honesty about it, and the owners are very friendly to boot; a fresh and welcome addition to West Port’s growing collection of bookshops if ever it was needed.

Related Links
www.robertshearman.net
www.pulp-books.com





West Port Book Festival: Emily Dodd

14 10 2011

WPBF Event: Emily Dodd

Emily Dodd entertained a full house in West Port’s Edinburgh Books last night, with her own unique brand of poetry and song.

Through tales of insomnia as a child, to Percy the Puffin, meeting The Queen, and the amazing things that can be done with a banana skin and one’s knee, Dodd pushed the boundaries of children’s entertainment into the adult world, “so often lost in the ability to retain innocence through curiosity”, and even had the enchanted audience hooting like owls and neighing like horses.

It was a highly entertaining hour with one of the country’s fastest rising stars. Not only is she a working freelance writer, digital editor, presenter and educator, but her first book, Banana me Beautiful came out in July 2011 as an ebook, with the paperback following in January 2012.

She has also produced short films and podcasts for SCCIP, Changeworks, Greener Leith and the City of Edinburgh Council, and currently has a children’s TV series idea under pilot with BBC Scotland’s CBeebies production company.

Engaging and entertaining to an audience of all ages, it was as she recalled the week when she was due to be presented to The Queen at the Scottish Seabird Centre, but at the same had a suspected case of swine flu, did the evening provide most drama.

The future looks bright for Emily Dodd.

Related Links
http://auntyemily.wordpress.com
www.facebook.com/bananamebeautiful
www.edinburghbooks.net
www.westportbookfestival.org
Click here to purchase Banana me Beautiful