23 August 2011

Geeking it up in Edinburgh

I've wanted to go to the Edinburgh Festival since I was a kid. Last year I managed to catch the fireworks at its tail end, but this year I hit the jackpot and was right there in the heart of the action as a guest of the International Book Festival. My first event, with novelist Siddhartha Deb, was sold out and big fun (including Siddhartha admitting to me afterwards that he's a "failed geek" (!) and promising to buy my book). If you'd like to get a flavour then download this week's Guardian Books podcast, in which we tell Claire Armistead what we think about technology and revolution, especially in light of Anna Hazare's anti-corruption campaign in India.

On Sunday I was thrilled to be on a panel with science superstars Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Keith Campbell, debating the future of science in Scotland (although this did turn into more of a discussion about Dolly the cloned sheep and her siblings). What became clear is that journalists and writers play an important part in both encouraging a scientific culture and making sure the public understand science and technology without being afraid. As Keith mentioned, it's easy to skew the facts, which is why it really helps for writers to have a background in science or engineering. That said, the cultural gulf between the humanities and the sciences must be improving, given the great questions we had and how many people turned up. I hope we get to see even more science represented on the programme in Edinburgh next year.

Other than that, I caught a few shows (including the brilliant Bad Bread), ate a couple of tattie scones, drank some great champagne, and wandered around magnificent Edinburgh. Thank you to everyone who came to see me, bought my book, or said hello.

1 comment:

Parker Physical Therapist said...

Experience the unique atmosphere of Edinburgh in August during an unforgettable three weeks of the very best in international opera, music, theatre, dance and visual arts.