Over the course of the 2016 Edinburgh International Book Festival we have been very fortunate to cover some interesting, inspiring and hugely enjoyable events. To round off this year’s coverage, here’s a fourth report from Charlotte Square.
Don Paterson’s long and established career fed into this hour of poetry and live jazz, with the poems coming from his latest publication and the music drawn from an older canon. He was accompanied on stage by a double bassist, a pianist, and another on drums, who combined to create a warmth and a sense of laid back style that enveloped the audience. The poems themselves were of the moment, speaking of Scotland’s cities and its people. This was some treat for the paying attendees: no mere recital and cosy fireside chat!
It has been a privilege for us to cover the Book Festival for another year, and this event highlighted many of the most important and valuable parts of this annual event. The connections between writers, audiences and the festival itself; the exchange of ideas; the sense that these hour-long episodes are part of larger conversation that goes on year-round. The festival is a context for all this, but it is also a contributor and a participant, having a view and making its presence felt. It is there for all of us, and it is available to each of us.
There was a vital sense of connection between Paterson and those in the room, as though one were representing a body of work, while the other were representing all those who had an interest in it and had found meaning within it. A festival is more than a commercial exercise, it is a vital spark to reaffirm our motivations and values, and to amplify our belief in what we hold to be true and dear.