Of art, science, music, poetry - & Scottish festivities!


My half-Scottish heart is taking great delight in being back in Edinburgh for the opening week of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, catching up with friends, publishers and writers in this glorious city (you can see more on Blake Friedmann author events at the Book Festival here).


I’m also happy to be reading on Wednesday night at the Fruitmarket Gallery with poets Tom Chivers, Claire Crowther, Rob Mackenzie and Andrew Philip. I’ve read with local poets Rob and Andy at the gallery a few years in a row now, every time a great reminder of what skilled and entertaining writers they are. I’m looking forward to Tom and Claire joining us in their first Fruitmarket appearance. (See more on each poet on the Facebook event page above).


The reading kicks off at 8 pm, Wed 19 August, but doors will be open from 7.30 pm, so do take the chance to come and see the wonderful Phyllida Barlow exhibition before the readings start, or just say hello and have a glass of wine.


One of the poets’ tasks for Wednesday night is to write a new poem inspired by the work in the exhibition, and I’m very curious to hear what my fellow readers have done with it. They’re all fine poets, and it’s sure to be an interesting night. The gallery, right by Waverley Station, is usually open 11 am to 6 pm daily, but stays open to 7 pm in Festival time, and the exhibition is free, so if you’re in Edinburgh you can catch the exhibition between now and 18 October. And hope to see some friends this Wednesday night.


Next month I’ll be at another Scottish festival, the Bloody Scotland crime fiction fest in Stirling , and am excited to stop off at Sheffield on my way back to London to join in the launch celebrations for AB Jackson’s The Wilderness Party (a Poetry Book Society recommendation for Autumn 2015). AB Jackson is one of my favourite UK poets, and I can’t wait to read this collection and thrilled to be doing a short support reading at the Sheffield launch on Monday 14 September, along with Simon Barraclough – whose brilliant new collection Sunspots is also out from Penned in the Margins. You can also see Simon in his Sunspots show on tour in the months ahead.  Penned in the Margins publisher Tom Chivers is a busy man right now, with Penned in the Margins author publications, tours and prize shortlistings, but he’ll be reading from his striking collection Dark Islands at the Fruitmarket on Wednesday, as well as new work.


Great to catch up with so many authors and publishers at the Book Festival’s opening party last night, including my clients Margie Orford and Pippa Goldschmidt – South African crime writer Margie is on at the Book Festival tomorrow with Ben McPherson (Monday 17 August, 5pm at the Writers’ Retreat, guaranteed to be an intriguing discussion). Margie’s also appearing with Alexandra Sokoloff atBloody Scotland in Stirling on 12 September. And Pippa’s new short story collection The Need for Better Regulation of Outer Spacepublished by Freight Books, is a real treat for lovers of science, astronomy and short fiction. With Tania Hershman she’s also co-editing an anthology of stories on general relativity I Am Because You Are (also published by Freight Books) and you can hear her on this at the Orkney Science Festival on 6 September and at the Wigtown Book Festival with Marek Kukula, the public astonomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, on Sunday 27 September.


… & thinking of Scottish festivals, I can’t believe it’s almost a year since a really fun project I was involved in for the Sound Festival’s Skills Biennale 2014, with composer Stephen Montague and the BrewDog brewery in Ellon, Aberdeenshire,. Here’s a piece I wrote about the development and performance of that piece –  The BrewDog Howls – Poetry, Percussion and the Art of Collaboration’.  


You can see some pics here (scroll down a bit) and on the far left in the group pic of our brewery orchestra on performance day you’ll spot Iain Morrison, Enterprise Manager of the Fruitmarket Gallery, who gamely stepped in to read the poem for the piece – so we’re back full circle to the Fruitmarket!



Wednesday 19 August 2015, Five Poets at the Fruitmarket, Edinburgh

A reading featuring some new art-related poems written especially for the event - come see the Phyllida Barlow exhibition and listen to some poems! With Tom Chivers, Isobel Dixon, Rob Mackenzie, Andrew Phillip and Claire Crowther. A lively night at the Fruitmarket in Edinburgh Festival season.

8:00 pm, The Fruitmarket Gallery, 45 Market Street, Edinburgh EH1 1DF. £5


Monday 14 September 2015, AB Jackson's The Wilderness Party launch, Sheffield

I'm thrilled to be joining Simon Barraclough in reading some poems in support of the Sheffield launch of AB Jackson's new collection, The Wilderness Party, out in September from Bloodaxe.  The Wilderness Party is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Autumn 2015.

7:00 pm, The Fat Cat, 23 Alma Street, S3 8SA Sheffield. Readings will take place between 8 and 9 pm.