Books, keys, tiny rooms and food: Hot Key’s first book festival

Hot Key’s first trip up to Edinburgh International Book Festival was a very Hot Key affair. Lots of book chat and eating with many wonderful librarians, publishers, authors, book sellers and other book loving folk. Even the hotel we were staying in seemed made for us – keys hanging in reception, and mini rooms the inhabitants of SHRUNK! would have felt at home in! (they were snug, not tiny really!).

Edinburgh International Book Festival is a magical place – Charlotte Square is transformed from an elegant Georgian square into a buzzing place full of raised walkways ferrying authors, publishers and the public between events, cafes and book shops bursting at the seams with books and activities for young children. Authors emerge from the Yurt (the green room) blinking into the sunlight (if you’re lucky!) and head off to entertain and inspire thousands of readers – young and old.

The square is a hive of activity with creativity happening on every corner. Here’s Illustrator in Residence Chris Riddell busy drawing an alien – hopefully not something he’s spotted in the square!

The first event I went to was with Sally Gardner and Celia Rees (chaired by Nicola Morgan) who spoke about their latest books, THIS IS NOT FORGIVENESS, THE DOUBLE SHADOW and MAGGOT MOON. They discussed the themes in their books and how they were written, and gave helpful tips about how to solve writer’s block and solve tricky problems – long walks or baths are apparently the best solution!

After a busy signing session we all went for a delicious Italian lunch at Cento Tre – here we are waiting for the food to arrive.

(Celia Rees, Sally Gardner, Louise Court and Rebecca McNally)

After Sally’s second event of the day we all went to relax and get ready for the Hot Key Dinner in another great Edinburgh Italian institution – Vittoria. And very delicious the food was too with wonderful company. (Viv French, Librarians from Edinbuargh Libraries, Eve from Waterstone’s, Julie from Blackwell’s and Mark Lambert from Scottish Book Trust).

The next morning the sun was shining for Sally’s event at Portobello Library where we waited with ‘will they won’t they turn up anticipation’ before 18 young people arrived to hear Sally talk about her books and inspiration – as well as her (beautiful!) shoes and dog Lottie.

After the event, we managed to tuck into more delicious food in a pub looking out over Portobello beach before heading back down to London.


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