We’ve been bringing people together in communities in Edinburgh, across Muirhouse, Liberton and Wester Hailes, to interrogate the word ‘Citizen’. We’ve asked people young and old what it means to them, what it inspires and how they think the idea of being a citizen relates to local communities, to the country and the wider world. This strand takes inspiration from those community discussions. Explore and express your own ideas around being a citizen in Citizen events, including a free drop in session on 20 August, and hear from authors in conversations about the culture of food, everyday activism, housing schemes, refugees, belonging and home.
READING AND REDEMPTION IN SYRIA
Tuesday 13 August 12:30 - 13:30
The extraordinary true story of an underground library that flourished in Darayya after it was besieged by government forces, Syria’s Secret Library is a moving portrayal of human resilience and the power of books, under extreme circumstances. Come and hear BBC World Affairs correspondent Mike Thomson talk about this remarkable haven of hope and the people who made it happen, in discussion with author Daniel Gray.
Bernardine Evaristo & Linda Grant
STORY OF OUR TIMES
Wednesday 14 August 12:00 - 13:00
Novels reveal insights into the mood of the places they were written. Not surprisingly, Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other and Linda Grant’s A Stranger City feel timely, as Britain finds itself in flux. Evaristo’s book is a love song to modern Britain and black womanhood, while Grant’s is a meditation on London as a place of exile or expulsion. It seems, more than ever, that ‘home’ is a complex, contested idea.
STILL IN BLOOM
Friday 16 August 10:00 - 11:00
Lesley Riddoch’s Blossom was a joyful intervention into Scottish independence discussions before the 2014 referendum. The award-winning journalist shone a light on community action and the everyday heroes who showed Scotland has the potential to grow and succeed. Five years later, as Brexit tears at the fabric of the nation, is Riddoch still optimistic? Find out as she discusses the timely update to her glowing book.
Clare Hunter & Esther Rutter
SPINNING NEW YARNS
Saturday 17 August 16:00 - 17:00
The radically restorative powers of crafting, knitting and sewing are the threads that bind two inspiring authors. In Threads of Life award-winning community textile artist Clare Hunter evokes an entire history of protest through the eye of a needle. In This Golden Fleece, writer Esther Rutter weaves Britain’s past together by knitting across the country. Hear them spin fascinating yarns which pack a powerful punch.
SECURITY, SUSTAINABILITY AND SOCIETY
Saturday 17 August 19:30 - 21:00
Scotland has a polarised food culture: our products are lauded around the world, yet many Scottish people don’t have reliable access to quality food. How can we resolve this discrepancy? Can food create a stronger society? Food campaigner Jack Monroe and Scottish chef Gary Maclean are joined today by participants of the Book Festival’s Citizen programme, who have been looking at the ways food fosters community.
WHAT DOES 'CITIZEN' MEAN TO YOU?
Tuesday 20 August 10:30 - 14:30
We’ve been working with our Community Writing Group as part of the Book Festival’s Citizen programme in locations around Edinburgh. The group has designed a day of activities to challenge and explore the ideas of citizenship, community and neighbourhoods. Does today’s digital world affect how we perceive these notions? Come along and give your perspective.
Miles Glendinning, Stefan Muthesius & Stefi Orazi
Tuesday 20 August 12:30 - 13:30
Britain faces a housing crisis: what can the nation’s last major building scheme teach us? Architectural historians Miles Glendinning and Stefan Muthesius analyse the high-rise revolution in Towers for the Welfare State. Stefi Orazi widens the perspective with Modernist Estates — Europe, exploring some of the continent’s housing schemes with input from residents. Today they debate the social impact of what we build.
Ellie Harrison & Jemma Neville
A TALE OF TWO CITIES
Tuesday 20 August 14:00 - 15:00
Meet two activists who dig beneath the stereotypes to real lived experience. Jemma Neville campaigned for human rights law, and in Constitution Street explores global rights issues through the stories of the residents of one road in Leith. ‘Think Global, Act Local’ is the inspiration for artist-activist Ellie Harrison, and in her new book The Glasgow Effect she sheds light on the inequality and disconnection of people in Glasgow communities, putting forward a new vision for sustainable living. The two authors discuss their ideas with fellow writer and social historian Daniel Gray.
GIVING A VOICE TO COMMUNITIES
Tuesday 20 August 18:00 - 19:30
Join us to celebrate Citizen our latest long-term creative programme working in partnership with organisations across Edinburgh, listening to people’s views about the communities in which they live. Led by Scottish-based writers-in-residence, Claire Askew and Eleanor Thom, Citizen aims to give a voice to communities, offering residents an opportunity to explore their connection to each other and their relationship to neighbourhoods. Come to hear, see and meet some of those who have been taking part so far.
Being a Citizen: Creative Writing Workshop
WRITING FOR EVERYONE
Wednesday 21 August 18:30 - 20:00
Our Citizen Schools Writer-in-Residence Claire Askew has been busy working in three Edinburgh secondary schools, finding out what being a citizen means to young people today. Taking the fear out of creative writing, she offers practical tools for tackling it in classrooms and wider community settings. Her deceptively simple approach offers a way to get people of all interests, ages and abilities to feel confident about expressing themselves.
Dina Nayeri & Nick Thorpe
SEEKING JUSTICE AND A HOME
Thursday 22 August 12:15 - 13:15
Iran-born writer Dina Nayeri arrived in the US at the age of ten and in The Ungrateful Refugee she compares her journey as an asylum seeker to those battling for status today. Journalist Nick Thorpe bore witness to the millions who fled the Middle East and travelled through the Balkans, which he recounts in The Road Before Me Weeps. A timely, vital discussion on the fate of refugees.
LITERARY FREEDOM FIGHTER
Saturday 24 August 18:30 - 19:30
Goenawan Mohamad is a legend in Indonesia. A poet, essayist, playwright and editor, his decades of work amount to an incredible body of fiction and non-fiction. A champion of creative independence and journalistic freedom, he was among the writers and intellectuals who signed the 1963 Cultural Manifesto and is now a dissenting voice on social media. It is an honour to welcome him to the Book Festival to discuss his life and work.
Kerry Hudson & Sarah Smarsh
WORKING CLASS LIVES
Sunday 25 August 13:30 - 14:30
Two writers revisit their experiences of working class life in Britain and the US. In Lowborn, prize-winning Scottish writer Kerry Hudson returns to the poverty-stricken towns of her youth to discover what being poor means today, while Heartland by Sarah Smarsh is a touching memoir on the destitution of Kansas farming life and 'being broke in the richest country on Earth'. Hear two honest takes on wealth inequality.
While we take every opportunity to ensure the details for Edinburgh International Book Festival Themes: We Are All Citizens are accurate, we always advise that you contact the event organiser before setting out for the event to avoid disapointment.
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