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
Click here to purchase Banana me Beautiful


Debate: The Joy of Literature

20 08 2011

Joseph Brooker and Ray Ryan
Mid-afternoon and I fond myself in Peppers Theatre for a discussion between a Scotsman, an Englishman and an Irishman. No joke, and nor was the discussion.

The event had been billed especially for bibliophiles, in which Brooker’s analysis of British literature since the 1980s in a collection of essays called The Good of the Novel, co-edited by Ray Ryan, which “brings together some of the most strenuous and perceptive critics of the present moment, and puts them in contact with some of the finest novels of the past three decades.”

Chaired by the literary editor of The Scotsman, Stuart Kelly, we had the potential for a really interesting discussion. Brooker and Ryan provided a new angle on publishing, with the latter relating how “each novel sets its own constitution; the truth of fiction cannot be rendered in any other form.”

Ryan remains convinced that “small presses take chances on making reputations of authors whereas large ones are more cautious,” and I have to agree with him. In my experience this has been important in opening the door  to the proliferation of self-publishing.

On the question as to whether Shakespeare is a great writer, Brooker argued that “It’s far too early to say—maybe in another 400 years or so but how are we supposed to guess that now?” And bringing the discussion back (or forward) to the 21st century and the introduction of e-readers, Ryan commented that he was “amazed that these things still only display mainly text, and that even in the 21st century with all the technology available to use, people who use them still only want them for that sole reason.”

As for hyperlinks within text to websites and informative articles, “these things are a distraction,” says Ryan. “But for the publisher and critic alike,” explained Brooker, “they mean much more work!”