A few choice quotes from EIBF


Hello! I’ve been meaning to add a final post after Edinburgh International Book Festival 2013, with some of my favourite quotes in the sessions I went along to. These are basically tweets I sent out during the festival, gathered together:

Salman Rushdie described reclusive author Thomas Pynchon like this: he’s tall, wears lumberjack shirts & blue jeans, has Einstein-white hair and Bugs Bunny teeth.

A nice little exchange from John Freeman’s interview with Salman Rushdie:

‘One of the great pleasures of the English language is its malleability’, said Rushdie. ‘Totally’, said Freeman. And Rushdie added, ‘Yo.’

‘I like the comedy and tragedy masks lying next to each other’—Sandi Toksvig

‘A lot of young writers swallow their voice, they don’t want to let it out because they think it might be wrong’—AL Kennedy

‘Caution is wise, I’ve found paralysis is less rewarding’—from an essay in AL Kennedy’s On Writing.

‘I’ve never met an ordinary person in my life. Everyone is peculiar. Isn’t that wonderful?’—John Banville

The world is always strange, said Banville. ‘I never, ever get used to clouds… these great pieces of silvery wreckage.’

‘To me, life is an extreme emotional state… excitement, grief for what’s gone, extreme expectation for what’s coming’—John Banville.

‘[In writing a novel] you get to be your ontological self, and self is an ungendered thing’—Rachel Kushner

‘I wanted it to be irresistibly beautiful & tender; it’s meant to affect you like a beautiful memory’—Melinda Gebbie on Lost Girls.

Sorry not to elaborate on the sessions, but I think each quote can be taken and nosed and swirled and tasted, like the Lagavulin 16 I’ll be sipping later tonight.

Today I ironed sheets, walked up a mountain, saw Buzzards circling, hung washing, edited a few stories in my chapbook (due to the publisher in a few days). Life in the Highlands: more soon.


6 thoughts on “A few choice quotes from EIBF

  1. Those quotes are fabulous, all of them. Thanks so much for sharing them.
    Sounds like you’re having a fine time over there. 🙂

    • Oh he does, he was emphatic on that point. And he was very elegant in person, and the first author I saw at the festival to bring a glass of wine onto the stage (I copied him after that). He really seemed like someone who absorbs so much of the world around him, sometimes to his detriment (overwhelm), but of course that also makes him the writer he is. I was also interested in his comments about his pseudonym Benjamin Black, that the Black novels are ‘craft’, and the Banville novels are ‘art’. I think it would actually take some skill to work with that distinction! I don’t know how he does it. Fascinating man.

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