Monday 26 August 2013

Edinburgh Book Festival: by Numbers

by Teri Terry

Last week I was lucky enough to appear at the Edinburgh Book Festival!
The Edinburgh International Book Festival is the largest public celebration of the written word in the WORLD. It started 30 years ago, and now welcomes 220,000 visitors each year. 2013 saw over 800 writers and thinkers appearing in over 700 events.

With all these numbers whirling about in my mind, here’s how the trip added up for me, in numerical order:

1 amazingly FAB book festival. Seriously, it is so well-organized and so much fun! I’ll cry if I don’t go next year.

my nemesis...!
1 on stage seated break dance. You couldn’t make this up. In the middle of my schools event, a presumed fly wandered across my neck, then down my shirt. It traced a leisurely path down my shoulder, arm and back while I tried hard not to scream and/or giggle (it tickled). I was less successful at not extravagantly twitching.

1 one BIG cover reveal! No photo as of yet for this - but those at my events saw the cover to Shattered, and it hasn't been revealed yet! It was SO exciting to be able to show it up on a big screen. Hope I can show the rest of the world, soon.

2 sold-out events! One in the school’s programme and one in the public programme. Both were panels with Claire Merle and Julie Bertagna on dystopian fiction. This is the school's event:
L-R: chair Kathryn Ross, Claire Merle, Julie Bertagna, and Teri Terry (moi!)
2 sold out books! co-panelist Claire Merle’s The Glimpse, and my Slated!

3 moments of travel panic. Train out booked for wrong day; taxi failing to appear to take to station; and on return, taxi appearing but caught in traffic chaos and train home nearly missed. These things are sent to try us...

4 Scoobies! a.k.a. members of SCBWI: Sharon Jones, Claire Merle, Stephanie McGregor,
Sharon Jones: moving reading at Amnesty
 International Imprisoned writers event
and Christina Banach. Well 5, if you include me. One of the best parts of belonging to SCBWI is that wherever you go, there are friends old and new to meet up with. Sharon Jones was also there doing events after the recent release of Dead Jealous.

5 Dr Who fans, complete with a light-up sonic screwdriver, at the Teen Titles celebration! Heated debate on the best Doctor followed. They are sceptical of the new Dr Who, and impressed that I know Paul Cornell.

6 wardrobe changes: the number of times I changed my mind about what to wear to Wednesday's events.
Is it just me, or am I perfectly colour coordinated to the signing area?
I love it when a good plan  comes together...
(L-R - Julie Bertagna, Claire Merle with the awesome bird sculpture we all signed, and Moi)
13 hours slept. First morning, awake at 4; second (event day), 3:45 *sigh*. And 3rd – slept in, at last! til 5. I've really got to learn how to sleep properly when I'm away from home.

14 hours spent on trains and in taxis. And a big thanks to the guy from Wigan who played endless tunes on his harmonica in the train seat behind on the way there. That, like, really helped me write. Though not quite what I intended...

400-ish enthusiastic teens over two events: I’m sure there’d have been 400 questions if there’d been enough time for everyone! 
But I spoke to many of them after at the book signings. Complete with hand waving, and an admonishment to hurry up.

15,381,490 calories consumed. Admittedly, this is probably an under-estimate.

30 years on from the very first one, the Edinburgh Book Festival all added up to an amazing experience.

My report on Edinburgh last year can be found here. Special thanks to Stephanie McGregor for photos!


  1. I hope you put the guy with the harmonica into a book. He sounds like an interesting character to me!

  2. So sorry to have missed you! I had a ball though, saw lots of people, got very scared in case I ever have to do an 'author performance' as opposed to a talk. One author even sang. I may need lessons.

    1. I don't do performances, oh no! *quakes in terror*
      Talking is hard enough

  3. Sounds amazing. I hope your extravagant twitching splatted that fly in the end!

    1. No idea what happened to the fly. I'm assuming he buzzed away at the end to wait for the next author...

    2. It was lovely to meet you, Teri. I'm glad your afternoon event was fly free! It was certainly a fascinating discussion. It was so great to see the book cover for Shattered - it's awesome.

    3. thank you, Christina - see you at the SCBWI conference!

  4. Wow, you slept worse than I did. What is it about hotel beds? (Even nice ones!) Train booked for the wrong day sounds stressful. Glad you made it home OK!


Comments are the heart and soul of the Slushpile community, thank you! We may periodically turn on comments approval when trolls appear.

Share buttons bottom