Edinburgh Reads: Sally Magnusson

This is my story, but it could be anybody’s

Sally Magnusson ‘s ‘Where memories go’ , her account of her mother Mamie’s long struggle with dementia, was one of the most-borrowed books from Edinburgh Libraries last year.

So it was no surprise that the Reference Library was packed for last night’s talk by the author.

DSC_5587 - CopySally talked about how as a journalist she was used to flitting in and out of other people’s lives, rarely digging deeper before moving on.

But then, in the late nineties, her mother ‘started to ‘go off the boil’. As Sally put it, she ‘mislaid her curiosity’.

And so began the biggest story of Sally’s life. A story she had to share. Because by sharing something, we encourage people to talk about it. And talking about something drives away stigma.

Sally spoke lovingly of her mother Mamie’s life story and character, before going on to describe the effect that dementia had on her.

Sally was keen to stress some of the positives of her experience. Mamie was still able to enjoy times of great in-the-moment happiness, and this was something that Sally came to treasure, learning that living for the moment and experiencing ‘the best day of your life’ over and over can be something to celebrate.

Sally also spoke about the lessons she learned. She spoke about the value of community, and how keenly she felt a lack of guidance and reassurance. This goes back to what she had said earlier about the need to talk and share our experiences, and this has been the legacy of the book.

There are other reasons for optimism as well. Sally argued that we are slowly getting better at understanding dementia.

She spoke about the positive effect music can have, and her work with Playlist for Life, which seeks to create a personal playlist for anyone with dementia to help unlock who they are. This is similar in idea to the work libraries do in care homes with Read Aloud.

We are extremely grateful to Sally for taking the time to come and talk so eloquently – gratitude which will be shared by every member of last night’s audience.DSC_5575 - Copy

Gourmet Reads: Shari Low and Alex Gray

“It’s not an everyday occurrence in my life to get the opportunity to meet an author… and to be able to ask questions of his writing life over a convivial dinner. Gourmet Reads gave me just such an opportunity”

it was such a pleasure to attend your Gourmet Reads! All the best with your future authors…

‘I didn’t know what I was coming along to…Let me know about your next event, I’d definitely consider coming along. It was brilliant! A great initiative.’

Our previous Gourmet Reads evenings with Ian Rankin and Doug Johnstone were so much fun – now it’s the ladies turn.

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Gourmet Reads offer a unique chance to chat to your favourite authors over a meal  in the stylish surroundings of Elliot’s at Apex Waterloo.

To register for either of these forthcoming Gourmet Reads events call Grainne Crawford on 0131 529 7791 or email grainne.crawford@edinburgh.gov.uk

Shari Low, Friday 13th March

‘Gorgeous food and chatting about books are two of my favourite things in life. I’m looking forward to combining both these loves at the Gourmet Reads dinner!’ (Shari Low)

Author, Daily Record columnist and former fire-extinguisher flogger Shari will talk books, writing and anything else you want to ask her about. Good times and giggles guaranteed!

£50pp, 3 courses with wine, 6pm-9.30pm

Alex Gray , Thursday 30th April,

“I have come to the conclusion that there really are people out there who are simply evil”.

Alex Gray is a crime writer who takes her research seriously. Having completed the University of Glasgow’s Course in Forensic Medical Sciences Alex’s award-winning writing has an authenticity that’s hard to match.

Her books featuring Detective Chief Inspector Lorimer and psychological profiler Solomon (Solly) Brightman have won her an army of loyal fans.

£50pp, 3 courses with wine, 6pm-9.30pm

Edinburgh Reads: Peter May

Bestselling author Peter May visited us on Friday to tell us about his new novel ‘Runaway’.

Here he is with chair Jackie McGlone.

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Peter talked about his love of music and the experiences from his youth that inspired the story.

He also gave us an insight into the life of the writer and the research he carried out, including bidding over the odds for a 1965 motoring atlas on eBay.

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The novel shifts between 1965 and the present day and Peter talked eloquently about the changes that have taken place in society and the problems different generations have in understanding and communicating with each other.

Peter then answered questions from the audience about the popularity of his work in France, how living abroad has shaped his view of Scotland and the challenges of adapting his work for the screen.

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We’re sure Runaway will be every bit as successful as his other books (‘The Chess Men’ was the third most borrowed title from Edinburgh Libraries in 2014) .

Thanks to Peter for agreeing to visit us and for being such an interesting and engaging speaker.

Pictures: Tess Gerritsen visits Edinburgh Central Library

Check out these tweets from members of the audience at last Friday’s Edinburgh Reads event with bestselling thriller writer Tess Gerritsen.

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Tess talked engagingly and wittily about her background and the circumstances that led her to become a writer.

Tess had some interesting views about the reasons behind the appeal crime fiction has for women.

She also took the opportunity to share some grisly true-life tales about mummification, people being wrongly pronounced dead and the Safari experience that inspired her latest novel ‘Die Again’.

A fantastic speaker, and a wonderful evening. We’re sure we speak for everyone lucky enough to be present when we say that Tess is welcome back any time!

Check out our events calendar for details of what else we’ve got lined up over the next few weeks and months.

 

 

Gourmet Reads with Ian Rankin

Edinburgh City Libraries are delighted to present ‘Gourmet Reads’ – private dining with celebrity authors.

Edinburgh Reads invites you to our first ‘Gourmet Reads’ event, a unique dining experience with Ian Rankin, Scotland’s best loved, best-selling, award-winning crime writer.

Gourmet Reads takes place on Thursday 30th October at 6.00pm for dinner at 6.30pm at the Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2HS, in Heights, a private dining area with a unique view of Edinburgh Castle.

Listen to Ian Rankin, mingle with new-found friends, and ask Ian to sign your copies of his books.  Each diner receives an Edinburgh Reads goody bag, including the evening’s menu signed by Ian Rankin.

£70 per person: Book your place now and advise of dietary requirements by contacting Annie Bell on 0131 242 8046 annie.bell@edinburgh.gov.uk or Grainne Crawford on 0131 529 7791 grainne.crawford@edinburgh.gov.uk

Keep up to date on our blog for the authors in this programme:-

November 20th 2014 –  Alex Grey

February 28th 2015 – Doug Johnston

March 26th 2015 – Shari Low

Net income from this event will be redirected to Edinburgh City Libraries budget.

 

Missed out on book festival tickets? Here’s the next best thing

This YouTube playlist features some of the hottest tickets at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival, including Val McDermid, Christopher Brookmyre, Jenni Fagan, Richard Holloway, AL Kennedy and Irvine Welsh.

The authors were all visiting Edinburgh Libraries as part of our “Edinburgh Reads” series of free author events. View our calendar to see what we’ve got planned for the weeks and months ahead

Ajay Close

Thanks to Ajay Close who popped in last week to tell us about her new novel Trust.

DSC_2932Ajay’s readings tantalized but didn’t give away the plot, and our Edinburgh Reads audience were impressed by the authors’ humour as well as her knowledge of the banking world and the miner’s strike.

Thanks Ajay!