Thank you for neighing like horses, buzzing like bees, chirping like birds and shouting “HAPPY BIRTHDAY OWL!” as if you really were popping out from behind a tree at a surprize birthday party. Audience at Edinburgh Books, you transformed a Thursday evening in a cosy old bookshop into a magical forest.
I had a few sleepless nights in nervous anticipation of the event so it was wonderful to see some familiar faces smiling back at me. Old friends, new ones, people I’ve met through social media, Miss Broadly from Flora Stevenson Primary (I met her the week before when running poetry workshops with her pupils) and lots of unfamiliar smiley faces too.
They were there, Anna, Adele and Lorna, each in a different place, each with a different friend. Lorna volunteered to throw the giant dice and Adele responded to a last-minute request for a banana (I needed it as a prop). On Sunday night we watch Downton Abbey together with hot Chocolate, treats and blankets, it’s great! Thanks Ladies (:
News and Reviews
Thanks to Phyllis at the Edinburgh Reporter for having me round for tea the day before to record this audio interview and preview for the festival. Thanks to Colin Galbratraith for coming along, joining in and writing such a brilliant review. Thanks to Ally Tibbitt for writing about The Edinburgh Reporter interview, Colin’s review (and near fatal fall) and the podcast in a blog round up for STV local.
West Port Staff
The festival holds many more happy memories for me. Janis Galloway’s fascinating talk, chatting with a brilliant new science teacher Su in the Travis. I met Erica who had stood on a banana slug. Erica’s University Emblem was also, the Banana Slug! For those who weren’t at the event, the first poem in my book is one I wrote when I was nine about an imaginary banana slug. Turns out the slug is real.
West Port Book Festival is the first event I’ve been to where I’ve met people who’ve told me they wanted to come to speak to me to tell me how enjoyed my event, but they didn’t dare! I can safely say I was flabbergasted, it happened twice, in the Travis Bar and at the Closing Party. Maybe if you’re a famous person you get sick of people talking to you but I’m not famous and I was totally delighted to hear someone enjoyed my event. It’s lovely meeting new people and finding out more about them so for the record, if you’re someone I don’t know, I’d like to say hello!
One Regret: Table Tennis
At the West Port Closing Party I played Ping Pong with an old friend, Edd McCracken. I wanted to play nicely, to try to get a long rally going, to play and chat, but no, spins, trick shots and smashed balls were hurtling towards me at rocket speed.
After a few initial protests like “that was fast?” or “you’re spinning it!?” I gave up on playing a ‘nice social game’ and started to fight back. Years of monopoly, pool, connect four and table tennis raced through my mind. Back then I wasn’t allowed to stop playing “Emily will only play if she wins, bad loser!.” I was forced to compete and forced to lose by a sister six years older.
Edd suggested we played first to 7, beat me 7-1 and left. At this point some of the lovely booky people came to the table, to play doubles. There were only two bats between us so we tried phones, they were too small. I grabbed a West Port Programme, it was too weak, four west port programmes, slightly better.
I found myself reaching across my partner Dave Poems to return the ball before he got a chance, I apologised as soon as I’d done it but I kept doing it. And then came the smash, would a pile of West Port Book Festival Programmes cut it on the table?
Whoosh went my programmes, BANG went the ball, narrowly missing Peggy Hughes’s ear and I…. grinned. Soon after she made an excuse about not wanting her pint to get flat and left the table. I realised I shouldn’t be playing and left too.
I could blame my sister, or Edd but really it was all me. Sorry to my table tennis partners. I’d temporarily forgotten about nice social games!
I also blogged about the West Port Book Festival before it happened here.