Famous authors to capitivate crowds at city libraries

Iain Banks, Kate Atkinson and Louise Welsh will all be taking centre stage at the Central Library in 2013 as part of the popular Edinburgh Reads programme of author-led events.

The spring 2013 programme, which runs from 15 January to 2 May, will see a host of key figures from the literary world deliver talks and workshops in a number of libraries across Edinburgh. 

One of the first events of the new year, taking place this evening, sees former First Minister Henry McLeish, author of Scotland: the growing divide: old nation, new ideas, in conversation with writer and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch on the topic of Scottish devolution.

Other programme highlights include Case Histories author Kate Atkinson who will discuss her new novel, Life after Life, in March and best-selling Scottish author Iain Banks whose latest book Hydrogen Sonata (written under the pen name Iain M Banks) is the topic of his talk in April.

Also taking to the stage is The Cutting Room author Louise Welsh and Edinburgh City Libraries Reader in Residence Ryan Van Winkle, who will host a number of workshops in libraries across the city.

Councillor Richard Lewis, the city's Culture and Sport Convener, said: "Our popular Edinburgh Reads programme attracts a number of high profile and influential authors throughout the year and we're delighted to once again present another fantastic line-up of events. It goes to show that libraries are not just places to borrow books but are also community hubs where people can come to be inspired and learn more about reading."

All events are free and tickets can be booked online or by calling 0131 242 8100. Booking is essential for all events.

Book sales and signings will be available at most Edinburgh Reads events.


Tues 15 January, 6.30 - 7.30pm, Central Library

The Show in the Meadows

Graeme Cruickshank reminds us of the importance of the Edinburgh International Exhibition of 1886 to the city.

An 'Edinburgh Tales' talk

Wed 16 January, 2.30-3.30pm, Oxgangs Library

Bring in the New Year with Renga

Interested in Japanese Haiku? Why not come along and find out more about 'Renga', a type of collaborative poetry, and try your hand at writing too. Run by our inspirational writer in residence Ryan van Winkle.

To book a place, call 0131 529 5549 or email oxgangs.library@edinburgh.gov.uk

Wed 16 January, 6.45-7.30pm, Blackhall Library

Jenny Faulks- The Edible Garden

Jenny talks about planning your garden for the coming year and presents a slide show, showcasing the edible garden project which aims to help people grow their own vegetables and fruit, offering advice on how to get started. Come along to learn about vegetable varieties, sowing seeds, composting, pruning, harvesting, storing and preparing your produce,

To book call 0131 529 5595 or email blackhall.library@edinburgh.gov.uk

Thurs 17 January, 7-8pm, Central Library

Henry McLeish- 'Scotland - the growing divide'

Henry McLeish uses this book - a follow up to his 2007 analysis, 'Scotland: The Road Divides' to argue strongly for a second question on greater devolution appearing on the referendum ballot paper.  'Scotland wants to be a nation, a new politics, a source of inspiration, passion and pride. Why does this seem too problematic for Labour?'  Ex-First Minister of Scotland, in conversation with Lesley Riddoch, talking about the contemporary Scottish political scene.

Tues 22 January, 5.30-7.30pm, Tues 19 February, 5.30-7.30pm & Tues 19 March, 5.30-7.30pm, Muirhouse Library

Muirhouse Library Writers Workshop

Join experienced workshop facilitator and writer Laura Brown and explore the world of creative writing.  With a PHD in Creative writing, Laura and Ryan Van Winkle, (Edinburgh Libraries' writer in residence) get your writing juices flowing!

To book a place call 0131 529 5528 or email muirhouse.library@edinburgh.gov.uk

Tues 22 January, 7-8pm, Newington Library

Mr Malcolm MacCallum - 'The Human Race, a Curator's Perspective'

The Human Race exhibition held last year at the City Art Centre used Scottish medical and sporting collections, newly commissioned artworks and rare film footage to highlight some of the intriguing and often surprising advances that have taken place in sports medicine over the last 200 years.  Come and hear the curator, Malcolm MacCallum talk about some of the inspiration behind his exhibition.

To book a place call 0131 529 5536 or email newington.library@edinburgh.gov.uk

Tues 19 February, 6.30 - 7.30pm, Central Library

Firefighting in Edinburgh

Ian McMurtrie, retired Assistant Firemaster and Curator of the Museum of Fire, outlines the evolution of the Fire Brigade in Edinburgh.

An 'Edinburgh Tales' talk

Wed 27 February, 2-3pm, Stockbridge Library

Christine de Luca- And Then Forever

Christine De Luca, established Scottish poet and novelist writing in English and in Shetland Dialect, talks about and reads from her new novel - 'And then Forever'.

To book a place call 0131 529 5665 or email stockbridge.library@edinburgh.gov.uk 2 weeks before the event.

Tues 5 March, 2.30-3.30pm, Newington Library

Dr Morrice McCrae - 'The Genius of Sir James Young Simpson'.

A talk by Dr Morrice McCrae on Sir James Young Simpson.  Simpson contributed greatly to advances in several fields of medical science, most notably in the fields of anaesthetics and midwifery.

To book a place call 0131 529 5536 or email newington.library@edinburgh.gov.uk

Tues 5 March, 6.30 - 7.30pm, Central Library

Arthur of Scotland

Historian and storyteller Stuart McHardy reveals how and where Arthurian myth and legend is rooted in Scotland's history and landscape.

An 'Edinburgh Tales' talk.

Thurs 7 March, 7-8pm, Central Library

Julie Davidson - 'Looking for Mrs Livingstone' 

Award winning journalist, ex TV presenter and travel writer, Julie Davidson explores what really happened in the Livingstone marriage, and brings to life the real Mary Livingstone, forgotten by History, laid to rest in an obscure Mozambique grave.

Sat 16 March, 3-4pm, Central Library

Kate Atkinson - 'Life after Life'

Best selling local author, Kate Atkinson wonders "What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?"  Her new novel, published this month, tells the story of Ursula Todd born during a snowstorm in England in 1910, but two parallel scenarios occur - in one, she dies immediately. In the other, she lives to tell the tale. As the possibility of having a second chance at life opens up, Ursula lives through the events of the twentieth century again and again....

Thurs 21 March, 7-8pm, Central Library

Louise Welsh and Regi Claire- a literary friendship.

Writers Louise Welsh and Regi Claire both talk about their novels, 'The Girl on the Stairs' (April 2013), an uneasy, imaginative tale of Jane and Petra in Berlin anticipating the arrival of their baby, and 'The Waiting', another tale of two women- Rachel, a messed-up young Swiss PHD student and Lizzie Fairbairn, an elderly widow whose Edinburgh home she invades.

Tues 16 April, 2.30-3.30pm, Newington Library

Miss Chris Short - 'Three Female Surgeons'.

A talk by Chris Short on James Miranda Barry, Sophia Jex-Blake and Elsie Inglis, 3 pioneering female surgeons who achieved renown in what was then a male profession. .Their story also reflects the story of women in medicine. 

To book a place call 0131 529 5536 or email newington.library@edinburgh.gov.uk

Thurs 18 April, 7-8pm, Central Library

Iain M Banks - 'Hydrogen Sonata'

The Scavenger species are circling.  The End Days beckon for the Gzilt civilization.  Having made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions, they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence.  It seems that the final days of the Gzilt civilization are likely to prove its most perilous.

Come hear local author Iain Banks talk about his new novel.

Fri 19 April, 7-8pm, Central Library

Turkish Writers come to town

Turkish writers, Ahmet Ümit and Murat Mentes, visit Edinburgh as part of a British Council cultural exchange and celebration of Turkey in 2013 (part of the Cultural Programme of the Market Focus at the London Book Fair).  Ahmet Ümit is a leading figure in Turkish crime writing and several of his novels have been adapted for screen and television. Murat Mentes is an up-and-coming young writer who writes thrillers (but with a definite strand of crime).

Both will explore the theme of the event- 'Narratives of Crime in Fiction' , and focus on the role of cities (Istanbul/Edinburgh) in the context of this theme.

Tues 23 April, 6.30-8pm, Central Library

Edinburgh Zoo- Celebrate 100 years!

It's 100 years since Edinburgh Zoo opened its doors to the public. To celebrate this historic centenary, a guest speaker from Edinburgh Zoo will share stories about animals old and new, whilst looking to the future.

Thurs 2 May, 7-8pm, Central Library

Richard Holloway - 'Leaving Alexandria'

Richard Holloway, former Bishop of Edinburgh, talks about his memoir 'Leaving Alexandria', his birthplace, and his journey through the meaning and purpose of religion. Compelling and intense, his erudite exploration of faith will not fail to move you, the story of one man's exploration of 'Christianity, a great work of the human imagination'.

Tues 14 May, 6.30-8pm, Central Library

Edinburgh Zoo- Penguin Parade

Colin Oulton and Jo Elliott, penguin keepers at Edinburgh Zoo, talk about the history of penguins at the Zoo, the world famous Penguin Parade, captive management techniques from the past to the present day, penguin conservation and research and much more.

 "There can be no doubt that the 'crowning glory' of the Zoological Park is its magnificent display of Antarctic penguins." - Thomas Gillespie, founder of Edinburgh Zoo.

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