Edinburgh Book Festival – Red or Blue Wall and Family issues in the USA – Fiction

Image of A M Homes with a USA flag in the background

The feature image above is used by the courtesy of David Shankbone under Creative Commons Licence CC BY-SA 3.0. We have changed the exposure, removed shadows, changed the contrast, and adjusted the colour. Charles Litster editing trademark, white shade at the bottom right of the image. This version is available to use under the same Creative Commons license – CC BY-SA 3.0 and if you use it you must display attribution to David Shankbone and Charles Litster

Remember, the amazement of the TV presenters when the Northern Red wall was broken?  100s of thousands of Labour supporters switched their voting allegiance from Labour to Tory in the 2019 General Election.

Book - by A M Homes front cover of the UnfoldingNow, there is an amazing book written by A M Home, titled ‘The Unfolding’.  A fictional story was written diary style. Highlighting the political conflict in the nation and one’s own family, polarizing to the two extremes. .  That is a conflict between the views of those on the right and left. Plus the general unhappiness and divergence from voters’ intentions.  The issue of what happens,  when the disillusioned voters switch and eventually find out that the governing party does not deliver too!  How will those voters react?

My personal view of the two far extremes of the left and the right is that on many issues they agree, mainly for a set of totally different reasons.  This fictional alternate life may give us a glimpse of the future of UK politics.  But do remember it is a work of pure fiction based geographically in the USA

Some quotes from the critics:

If you live in the USA or any other country except the UK, please click the  .com image  below




Edinburgh International Book Festival a Grrrrr-eat and Monster start on their opening Saturday

2021 Edi Book Fest Opening day

Saturday saw the opening of the Edinburgh International Book Festival.   Some lucky children were fortunate enough to meet up with a certain grrrrruff friend!  That is Gruffalo a character invented for children to enjoy by Julia Donaldson.


Julia conjured up the idea of the Monster’s name to end in O so that it would rhyme with “doesn’t he know”. The “Gr” being a fierce start to the monster’s name,  with a middle of “uffal” to make up that super name Gruffalo.  A fierce name that displays a pleasing image of a monster, and it also projects an image of a buffalo.  A buffalo more that is scary, fierce, friendly, and a fiend.

You can see Julia Donaldson in action here.  You will need to register, and the event can be seen after registration.


Sunday at the Edinburgh Book Festival

Image above is a fond memory of the 2017 Edinburgh Book Festival in Charlotte Square,.  A different world to the one of 2021.  A freer COVID19 free event, packed with live audiences and visitors to the gardens in the Square. All enjoying the sun and the atmosphere of the great literary celebs.

This year they are staging a hybrid  Festival. We hear there is a fabulous online programme of over 250 events for adults and children,  Their events are streamed live on the festival’s website.

Alongside this your are welcome in-person for a wide range of the events in the programme, which you can book using this link to their website , This year’s Book Festival  takes  place from Saturday 14 to Monday 30 August at their  new Festival home: the University of Edinburgh’s Edinburgh College of Art.

Sun 15 August

  • Activist and author of memoir-cum-manifesto The Properties of Perpetual Light Julian Aguon and prize-winning author of poetic essay collection Small Bodies of Water Nina Mingya Powles come together to discuss their books and environmental perspectives in a live event with an author Q&A. BOOK YOUR SPOT
  • Poet of the people and the first Young People’s Laureate for London Caleb Femi shares his debut collection which has been called ‘a landmark debut for British poetry’. BOOK YOUR SPOTFollowing the event, Caleb Femi will be doing an in-person book signing in the Festival Village.
  • Tara June Winch, winner of Australia’s most prestigious literary prize, brings her third novel to the Festival. Told in three masterfully woven narratives, The Yield is a celebration of language and an exploration of what makes a place ‘home’. BOOK YOUR SPOT

Don’t miss events with Joan Bakewell & Richard HollowayPat Nevin & Val McDermidTom Devine & Allan LittlePaul Sng, Kit de Waal & Tanatsei Gambura, Nick Bryant, and The Bad Seeds’s Warren Ellis. Tickets for attending these events in-person have all been snapped up but they are available to enjoy live online and on-demand on a Pay What You Can basis.

Stagecoach change bus timetables across Scotland tomorrow

Coronavirus (COVID-19) further update from Wed 1 April 2020 

Following further government advice regarding non-essential travel to combat COVID-19, we’ve seen a further reduction in passengers using our services. Accordingly, we will make some further changes to the services we offer from Wednesday 1st April.

We understand that travel on our services will still remain vital for many, and we’d like to thank all those who submitted feedback to us. We’ve done our very best to ensure that critical routes are maintained wherever possible.

The timetables listed below will begin running on Wednesday 1st April, and although they are temporary, they are in place until further notice across Fife, Perth & Kinross, Dundee and Angus.

Remember to check this page before your journey as updates may be made from time-to-time as the situation we are currently experiencing develops.

Please be assured that the well-established and rigorous cleaning regimes on board our buses will remain in place at all times, and that contactless payment is available on all our vehicles.

For more information about coronavirus, visit  www.gov.uk/coronavirus


Please note that any services not mentioned below, will NOT run from Wednesday 1st April until further notice.



Service 3/3AA special timetable will run from Monday-Saturday. No Sunday service.

Service 4A special timetable will run from Monday-Saturday. No Sunday service.

Service 5/5A –A special timetable will run from Monday-Saturday. No Sunday service.

Service 6/6ANo service until further notice.

Service 7/7A –A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.

Service 7B –A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.

Service 8/8B –A special timetable will run from Monday-Saturday. No Sunday service.
Please note that revised service 8 will not extend to serve Alloa and Kincardine.

Service 9/9A –A special timetable will run from Monday-Saturday. No Sunday service.

Service 11/12A special timetable will run from Monday-Saturday. No Sunday service.
Please note that service 11/12 have been re-routed to also serve Hayfield Road, Dunnikier Road (for Victoria Hospital) and Wilson Crescent.

Service 14– No service until further notice.

Service 19B A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.

Service 23– No service until further notice.

Service 28No service until further notice.

Service 32 – A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.

Service 33/33BA special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.

Service 36 – A special timetable will run from Monday-Saturday. No Sunday service.
Please note that revised service 36 will only operate directly between Newburgh and Perth Royal Infirmary.

Service 37/37A/X37 – A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.

Service 39C/39DA special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.

Service 41 – No service until further notice.

Service 42 – No service until further notice.

Service 43A/44AA special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.

Service 45 – No service until further notice.

Service 49 – No service until further notice.

Service 54 A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.
Please note that service 54 will serve Tayport and Newport. Normal route through both Tayport and Newport will be followed.

Service 66 – No service until further notice.

Service 67No service until further notice.

Service 77 – No service until further notice.

Service 81A A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.

Service 83 A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.

Service 85  – No service until further notice.

Service 86No service until further notice.

Service 87 – No service until further notice.

Service 89 – No service until further notice.

Service 92 No service until further notice.

Service 94 – No service until further notice.

Service 95 A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.

Service 97 – A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.

Service 99/99A/99B/99C/99D – A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.

Service 108 – A special timetable will run from Monday-Saturday. No Sunday service.

Service 747 – Due to a fall in passenger demand, service JET747 will not run until further notice. Customers wishing to travel to Edinburgh Airport can use our services to Edinburgh, then travel to the Airport with Lothian Buses or Edinburgh Trams.

Service B1 – No service until further notice.

Service X24/X26No service, however links are available with services X59 and X27 for travel from St Andrews and Glenrothes to Dunfermline and Glasgow.

Service X27 – A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.
All stops will be served between Leven and Kincardine.

Service X51 No service until further notice.

Service X54 – A special timetable will run on service 54 from Monday-Sunday. Please note that service 54 will serve Tayport and Newport. Normal route through both Tayport and Newport will be followed.


Until further notice, all Edinburgh Express service (X55, X58 and X59) will not serve Edinburgh bus station.
Passengers should get on/off their bus on Princes Street or at St Andrew Square (stop YD, opposite the pedestrian entrance to Edinburgh bus station).


Service X55 A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.
All stops will be served between Dunfermline bus station and Ferrytoll P&R.

Service X56 – No service until further notice.

Service X58 – A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.
All stops will be served between Leven and Ferrytoll P&R.

Service X59 – A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.
All stops will be served between St Andrews and Ferrytoll P&R.

Service X60 – No service, however links are available with services X59 and X27 at Halbeath park and ride in place of service X60.


Perth & Kinross

Service 1/2 – A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.

Service 4 – No service until further notice.

Service 5/6 – A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.

Service 7B A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.

Service 9 – A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.

Service 14– A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.

Service 15/15A – A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.

Service 16/16B– A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.

Service 17  No service until further notice.

Service 19 – No service until further notice.

Service 23/27 – A special timetable will run from Monday-Saturday. No Sunday service.

Service 34/34C– A special timetable will run from Monday-Saturday. No Sunday service.
See service 23/27 for services between Perth and Stanley.

Service 36 – A special timetable will run from Monday-Saturday. No Sunday service.
Please note that revised service 36 will only operate directly between Newburgh and Perth Royal Infirmary.

Service 56B – No service until further notice.

Service 57/57A A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.

Service 58  No service until further notice.

Service 59  No service until further notice.

Service 70  A special timetable will run from Monday-Saturday. No Sunday service.

Service 83  A special timetable will run from Monday-Saturday. No Sunday service.

Service X7– A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.
All stops will be served between Dundee bus station and Stonehaven.

Service X56 No service until further notice.


Dundee & Angus

Service 20/20C/21/21A A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.

Service 23/24/25 – No service until further notice. Please note that Moffat & Williamson now run these services in place of Stagecoach. Contact M&W on 01592 774785 for more info.

Service 27 A special timetable will run from Monday-Saturday. No Sunday service.

Service 30/30A – A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.

Service 34No service until further notice.

Service 43C/44 A special timetable will run from Monday-Saturday. No Sunday service.

Service 47 – No service until further notice.

Service 73/73A/73BA special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday. 

Service X7– A special timetable will run from Monday-Sunday.
All stops will be served between Dundee bus station and Stonehaven.

Service Disruption Updated 31 Mar 2020, 10:03

Kirk Suspends Church Meetings – Corona Virus Covid 19

As we all know there is a guideline issued by the Scottish Government not to attend busy places and this applies to everyone. You will see from the guidelines that religious meetings are also included. Therefore, the Church of Scotland have issued advice to all local churches not to have regular church meetings and services and these cease from 17th March until further notice.

You can find a copy of the advice here https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/resources/advice-for-churches-covid-19-coronavirus

Some churches are offering live streaming of daily talks and Sunday service meetings on the Internet. Please see a note below from Dalgety Parish Church written by Rev Christine Sime

‘Following advice from The Church of Scotland all worship services have been cancelled.

On Sunday mornings I will lead worship from the church – this will be livestreamed, we hope you can join us and know God’s presence and blessing.

Our church building will be open for prayer /reflection each weekday morning for the time being – please keep to advice on handwashing. Prayers will be said every morning in Dalgety Parish Church for congregation, community, nation, world – for all creation. This will be at 10am each morning – wherever you are add your prayers too.

And please help those unable to watch our ‘livestream’ know that they are remembered in prayer.


The text of the Church of Scotland Advice appears below

Advice for Churches: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Updated 17 March 2020

Worship – Cancellation of Services

The Scottish Government now advises that people should minimise social contact by avoiding crowded areas and large gatherings, including religious congregations, and smaller gatherings.

The Church of Scotland now asks, in the strongest terms, that all gatherings for worship should cease until further notice, with effect from Tuesday 17 March 2020. Other Scottish Churches are taking similar actions. This obviously includes Easter services. Some Presbyteries have already instructed this action. This will include, but not be restricted to: housegroups, meetings for youth work, and church cafes. It will still be possible for an individual to offer a livestream of a sermon and prayers. Further information on livestreaming, including information on copyright, can be found in this circular on the Law Department’s webpages here. Sunday broadcasts of a weekly service take place on Radio 4, and also on Radio Scotland; other radio stations are available. Several churches currently offer livestreams or recorded services; a list can be found on our website.

Church buildings can be kept open as a place for people to come and pray. Notices should be clearly displayed asking that visitors observe robust hand hygiene.


The Moderator, the Right Reverend Colin Sinclair, along with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and other church leaders, has issued a call for a National Day of Prayer; more details can be found in the news section of our website.


The Church is aware that closing down worship services will impact on congregational income, and we want to encourage people to continue contributing financially as far as possible, and to encourage the increased use of standing orders as an expression of ongoing stewardship.


The key phrase here is to minimise social contact. Sensitive conversations will need to take place with families and mourners ahead of funeral ceremonies, and to consider the size of groups gathering for funerals. It may be necessary in the future to consider whether funerals should be restricted exclusively to minister, immediate family, and funeral directors. In addition, local guidance from funeral directors and crematorium staff will be critical here. It should be noted that many crematoria have the facility to livestream services and to host a recording of services for a period of time after the cremation service.


Certain venues will be restricting attendance, and it may be that couples have to work through what changes have to made, including, in some cases, rearranging. Restrictions on travel into the UK will also have an effect on guests at weddings. Again, sensitive conversations will be the order of the day.

Pastoral Care Networks

Please see our guidance note from the Church’s Safeguarding Department with some useful guidance about setting up small pastoral care networks with a practical outcome. This guidance note contains a postcard which may be useful. There are some good ideas here about small groups; such groups can mitigate social isolation, and help people to continue to feel that they are part of the wider community of faith. Previous advice about using tools such as Skype, email, letters, greetings cards, Facetime, and Whatsapp groups are all useful approaches and some of these are particularly helpful where people don’t use technology.

General Assembly

The decision has been taken in the light of Scottish Government advice to cancel the General Assembly of May 2020. The Office of the General Assembly will be in touch with commissioners separately.

Hygiene recommendations

Best hygiene practice should continue to be observed in all pastoral contacts.

Updated advice is available from NHS Scotland.

Public Health Scotland and the UK Government recommend that you should take usual infection prevention precautions including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available
  • Churches can underline the importance of handwashing by ensuring that hand sanitisers are not available in toilets where soap and water can be used
  • It is particularly important after taking public transport to use sanitiser on your hands
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Carry tissues to catch coughs and sneezes and bin the tissue
  • If you feel unwell, stay at home, do not attend work or school
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in church buildings

NHS Scotland have prepared a poster which could be displayed at your building entrance to give advice to visitors. The purpose of this poster is to protect the visitor and those within the building.

Travel advice

Advice has also been issued to travellers, advising against all non-essential travel worldwide. This advice was revised on 17 March.


Below are two posters which you may wish to display in your buildings.

This page will be updated when new advice becomes available from NHS Scotland and the UK Government.

Online worship

Several churches live stream or post their services online. You can find a list of these on our Kirk services online page.

The Society Of Reluctant Dreamers

Images above/below kindly provided by the Edinburgh International Book Festival

Dreaming.  I have a dream, Martin Luther King.  Below are just a few paragraphs of this great man’s dream (for the full text and audio see https://americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm)

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.  It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

There is also the hymn ‘I have a dream’ to the tune Repton in CH4 710 see https://hymnary.org/hymn/CH4/710

There are also songs for instance ‘I dreamed a dream’.  With that, Susan Boyle wowed the USA

See… https://www.smoothradio.com/features/the-story-of/i-dreamed-a-dream-lyrics-meaning-susan-boyle/

But today I am looking at a book. One written by Jose Eduardo Agualusa.  “The Society of Reluctant Dreamers”.

Jose today (Friday 23rd August 2019)  is the Angolan star for The Society of Reluctant Dreamers, spoke about his surreal new novel which asks what understanding dreams could do for our waking lives.

Part of the text is written in the first tense and strange as it may seem that is what I tend to do.

Dan the Chair of the meeting asked Jose to open the talk.   He started by reading part of his book in Portuguese.   A short extract and the words that I could discern were few.   Just the names of the key character and his job.  Surprisingly just the words, Daniel and Journalist.

Then, thankfully Daniel Hahn (his interpreter) read the same text in English.   I must admit I do prefer Scottish but the E word is close enough.  The first bit is about Daniel. As you can see amusingly there are two Dans on stage supporting Jose.

This next bit is a teaser from the cover of the book.

“While swimming in the waters of the Rainbow Hotel Daniel Benchimel finds a Waterproof camera, floating seemingly lost in the sea.

He goes on to discover that the camera belongs to Moira, a Mozambican artist famous for a series of photos depicting her own dreams.

On seeing the images Daniel realises that Moira is also the mysterious woman whom he has been dreaming about repeatedly.

The two meet, and Daniel becomes involved in an unusual dream experiment with a Brazilian neuroscientist, who’s working with Moira to film and photograph people’s dreams’

Thinking aloud here but that could conjure up some bizarre images, film and photography.

I now move on to the second reading which will have my observations with interruptions based on two couples.  The interruptions will be bold italics and therefore will not refer to the content of the book

That is in the packed Baillie Gifford theatre, there are two couples. One couple sitting in the back row and the other in the middle row.  I am at the back and I can hardly miss the couple in front.  They sit in the middle row as I look onto the platform.  However,  the couple on the back row were affectionate to each other. Their fingers gently caressing each other’s face and neck.

It is good to see such a gentle display of affection of another human being one to another.  Now onto the story in Jose’s book.

Part of chapter 16

The text,  a letter dated Sunday 17th July 2016

I wake up and say my name out aloud:

‘My name is Apolonio Kalley. I am the son of Pedro Kaley and Mario Joao Epalanga.’

Then I recall the names of my poor children and wife.  I try to remember all my cousins’ names.  There are twenty-two of them and I can’t always do it.  Only then do I get up.  I live in terror of one day waking up and not knowing who I am.  Imagine,  any old guy, he imagined he’s had his eyes ripped out’

The red-headed lady in the middle row looked concerned her eyes stirred protectively to her lover.  She gently massaged the back of his neck.

We’re going to give him a name and an occupation, to make things easier.  For example: Sebastido Eusebio, farmer, though he’s now blind.   Some people have ripped his eyes out, could be a knife, could be a tea spoon, the guy’s still Sebastiao Eusebio, farmer though he’s now blind

The lady had a concerned countenance.   Eyes concentrated, you could feel the burning concern.  She fingered and massaged the back of his neck.  Her fingers gliding over his skin moving to both sides of his face.  A measure to intercept any arrows of the past.  A measure to relax and put her lover at ease.

The text in the book continues, various parts of the body are mutilated but he still is Sebastio Eusebio, a farmer though he’s minus another or many other parts of his body.

During each bit of the reading, the lover gently intervenes, applying a massage of intervention to the man in the middle row.

I am skipping a lot of the text here and moving on…

‘… Let’s try ripping out not parts of his body, which is easy enough’

The young man on the back row was just lovingly applying his fingers gently to the lady he loved.

‘….  You just need a firm hand, some practice and a  certain alienation of the spirit.   We’re going to be tearing out his memories.

I could see the sharpness of the ladies eyes in the middle row and her fingers started the massage again.

‘First we’re going to rip out the image of his mother pounding corn with other women, while they sing;  Then the happy memory of playing with his siblings and sugar cane in the field…”

‘This man who has never been a boy, is this man still Sebastido?’

The red-headed lady is busy,  one could nearly see the tears in her heart, she massages her lover’s neck, his face and gently massages his neck again.

On the back row.  The young man is giving the young lady a gentle massage and she smiles with every gentle touch.

In the middle row, the man, his neck vibrates for what appears to be a while. To the rescue, a healing massage, fingers on the neck.  They glide across his face as if a healing fairy.  A woman, to the rescue.  To protect her lover from his pain.  The neck vibrations and her healing fingers stop.  The storm has passed.

if you wish to read more of the book you can buy the book “The Society of Reluctant Dreamers” by Jose Eduardo Agualusa online you can do so here.  We receive no commission nor affiliate income in using this link to Amazon.



Saturday at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

 Selection of Highlights for Tomorrow: Saturday 24 August

Photo of the Late Toni Morrison courtesy of Angela Radulescu [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

NEW EVENT:  Beloved:  A Tribute to Toni Morrison 8.30pm

Scots Makar Jackie Kay leads this special memorial event marking the life and work of a true modern literary legend, alongside writers Nafissa Thompson-Spires and Nesrine Malik, editor Margaret Busby, as well as publishers Clara Farmer and Lennie Goodings, each of whom have been moved, inspired and influenced by Morrison’s oeuvre in different ways. Join us in a warm, celebratory event paying tribute to Morrison with readings from her across her astonishing career, audio from her Book Festival appearance in 2004, and more.

John Lanchester 10.15am

How close is our society to dystopia? One of Britain’s most eloquent authors comes to the Book Festival to offer some imaginative clues. John Lanchester slides effortlessly between novels and non-fiction, but his latest book The Wall (longlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize) is a science-fiction fable offering a chilling picture of a possible future. It depicts a country where everyone must take their turn as a Defender patrolling the Wall, which protects Britain from the Others, throwing up questions of duty, morality and what kind of a society we want for ourselves.

Pete Etchells 12.15pm

According to some people, video games are a threat to both our physical and mental health. Psychology lecturer and video games researcher Pete Etchells does not hold that view. Instead, he believes they can be of great benefit to individuals and, in his own case, had a positive effect in helping him grieve after the death of his father. 

Women Talking by Miriam Toews 6.00pm

‘Brave’, ‘scorching’, are words used about Miriam Toews’s unforgettable story of oppression and resistance in a Bolivian Mennonite community, Women Talking. We’ve partnered with Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre and playwright Linda McLean to produce a theatrical response to this classic of feminist fiction. After the 45-minute performance, the creative team is joined on stage by Toews herself for a discussion about the ideas in the book. 

In partnership with the Toronto International Festival of Authors and supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the British Council. 

Goenawan Mohamed 6.30pm

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.

Mathias Énard with Ece Temelkuran 7.00pm

Already recognised as one of France’s foremost authors, Mathias Énard came to worldwide attention when his masterpiece Compass was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize. Described as ‘one of the finest European novels in recent memory’, it is a sumptuous meditation on the West’s idea of the East. Today, Énard discusses Compassand his time spent living in the Middle East with Turkish journalist Ece Temelkuran.

Lemn Sissay 8.45pm

One of Britain’s best loved poets, Lemn Sissay is a performer of rare passion. But growing up with foster families and in care homes, Sissay struggled with his identity. The discovery of his birth name and Ethiopian background is the catalyst for reflection in My Name is Why. Today, he meditates on home and identity as he presents his insightful memoir, exuding the creative energy that’s made him a literary phenomenon. 

Changes to the Printed Programme:

2.00pm  China:  The Land That Failed to Fail – Steven Erlanger will now participate in this event.

7.30pm Radical Economics:  The Fifth Industrial Revolution.  Mariana Mazzucato has cancelled.  Christine Borley & Diane Coyle will now participate in this event.

8.30pm  Zawe Ashton – Zawe Ashton has cancelled

8.30pm  NEW EVENT – Beloved:  A Tribute to Toni Morrison        

“I think I’m a better writer for not being angry” – Raja Shehadeh at Book Fest

Raja Shehadeh author reading at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

Yesterday at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (EIDF):
Image of Raja Courtesy of EIDF

“I think I’m a better writer for not being angry,” said Raja Shehadeh, speaking yesterday at the Edinburgh International Book Festival with playwright David Greig.  The lawyer and writer was speaking about his memoir Going Home:   A Walk Through Fifty Years of Occupation and his home in the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

“Anger can be distracting,” Shehadeh said.   “And since I am not distracted I can see things more.”

“If I become angry then I lose the point, I’m not convincing because I’m lost in my anger. If I’m not angry and able to be rational and explain things in a less angry way then I’m much more effective.  So I think many Palestinians who try to speak about their conditions lose their audience by becoming angry and lost in their anger and I did that for a long time, of course and I was very angry. But I think being less angry is much more effective and it allows you to see more and feel more, rather than to be involved in your own anger… which leads to nothing really.”

Gaza Strip Palestine

Shehadeh also spoke of his understanding of home as a Palestinian living in the West Bank;  “I often feel a stranger in my own city. But I try to not be lamenting of this and to see the positive aspects.

“It’s not imperative that you only love what you possess…  I can be at home by having peace with myself and even if the physical home that I have was destroyed I would still feel at home.

“If you feel at home you have a relationship and peace in yourself not necessarily attached to a concrete place.”

A possible end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was discussed, with Shehadeh expressing more hope in young people.

Photo Feature: Saturday Sun shines on the Edinburgh International Book Festival

Edinburgh International Book Show 2019 front entrance

Saturday photo feature

Crowds Galore attend the Book Festival despite a bit of rain.   It was if the sun was justing shining on Charlotte Square all day.

Here you can see a young lady rushing to see join the queue

Children's event's Caterpillar
Children’s event Caterpillar Man




Red umbrellas in the garden area provide shelter from the sun and rain.  Lots of book stores, two cafes and many rooms to hear the entertaining authors.




Dr. Kathryn Mannix – “With the end in Mind”

Dr. Kathryn Mannix – entertained a packed and attentive audience. She was talking about her book ‘With the end in Mind’.  This can be bought from Amazon see…


No gloom, and no doom.   Particularly as the subject  was about an unmentionable word.  No! Not the three letter SEX.  Do I dare mention it here?  Which reminds me  there are two things I tell  my friends… 

“We all must pay tax  and at some point after we are born we die – both are inevitable”

Sadly, I nearly missed this event as I spotted it in the programme at the last minute.   But more seriously while travelling I had a little doze on the bus.  I awoke to see the West End of Edinburgh depart from my eyes.  I hurriedly pressed the bell  and left the bus at Princes Street.   An additional 5 minute walk to the Book Festival.  Making me even  later to collect my desired ticket for the event.

Falling asleep in the afternoon.  Just like my grandmother!   She started doing so for a hour, then two, and over time to eight.  All  sleeping in this case after mid-day.  I always wondered did Gran sleep at night?  I am assured she did as her night time snores were loud and clear.  Therefore something else must be happening.

She was dying and was experiencing the death process.  Something we no longer talk about.  For some reason it is taboo!

As Kathryn so eloquently put it…  A hundred years ago we would be talking about Pomp and splendour of death”. Now we worry about  chatting  to anyone that has lost a  loved one.

The author explained that there are rituals that surround birth and death.  There was a time that women in the community acted as a  centre of health wisdom.  Giving advice, about birth and death, and anything in-between.

However, these days we happily talk about life, sex, birth  and all it entails.  We understand  all of this and any  associated rituals and the pain a woman suffers during the birth of a child.  Yet many come back for more.

But death, the normal process is not as understood by our society.

When we start to die we notice that we have less energy, we can’t do things as we used to.  It might not be so easy to breathe and we sleep longer/more frequently and at times become unconscious

It is important that there is somewhere in the sequence  of events that someone needs to explain the natural process of dying.  That is what her book ‘With the end in Mind’ is all about.  It describes the end of life experience for people in a hospice. Each individual experience interspersed with a ‘homework break’ for the reader.

The author explained that Natural Death is not painful, it is an opposite and a complete contrast to the pain endured at the end of pregnancy, that is the birth process.  I must say not everyone experiences a natural death and people are not aways forewarned.

This needs to be understood by the person in the hours, days, weeks, months or years before they die.  If explained  It gives an opportunity  for the dying person to see how they can help their  intimate and closest friends, family, and their tribe.   That is to cope  with their loss after they have gone.

For those dealing with Palliative Care they need to know who and what the person is – that is not only their own personality but their family, their tribe, village and relationships.

By the end of the book people should be  familiar with the process.  In that book there are many stories told but here is one very emotional  story…

It is of a Senior Male Doctor explaining the process to Sibien in a nursing home.  Kathryn went along to join the senior doctor. 

He explained the process to…

Sabien.  She is a Wonderful women, a French Women with a fantastic French accent. She was in the resistance movement.   Married to her husband that was parachuted into France. He died as a hero.  But she had bowel cancer.  The pain was going to be terrible.  Her religious belief was such that  if she was not brave she might not be in the same part of heaven as her beloved.  That is her very brave husband.

Sabien adored the very bones of the male Doctor.  Her eyes lit and face shone as the Doctor started to  tell Sabien about dying.

“I hear that you have some worries about dying.  Would it be helpful if I could describe it?


“You may notice that you are weaker and you need more sleep”


“Can I describe it you?”


“You become more weary as time goes by.   Your stay awake period is  less.  Some of the time you will sleep but others you will be unconscious”


Kathryn thought “He is not going to tell her all the details is he?”

The doctor continued…

“The periods of sleep and unconsciousness  become longer”


“Eventually your breathing will slow”

“Towards the end  you will Snore. Your breathing will be shallow – your breath will gently  slow and stop”

“No pain – just a gentle close.”

She held his hand.  She was relaxed.  Her eyes glowed with a peace.

Then Kathryn said…

“I will always remember his words.  For some reason my cheeks were wet”

“We need to tell everyone about the process of death.”

“Currently in acting, on TV, films etc – dying is about as interesting as watching paint dry and is not included as part of the story.  Normally the scene is set of a person starting to die and it suddenly switches to the funeral.   The death scene omitted as that all important Drama is needed”

The event continued with more discussion and a question and answer session.    The applause at the end was rapturous and the tears from the audiences eyes were mopped by an army of paper tissues.

(Editorial note that may help directors of Soap Operas) There has been the occasional death bed story, – and I have seen it done well.  I am a fan of Handel – the drama I watched  was a death bed scene that covered about 1.5 hours.  It was a reflection of Handel’s life.   The programme “God Rot Tunbridge Wells”.