Highlights from EIBF 2021

  31 Aug '21   |  Posted by: Birlinn

Mara Menzies

The live audience at the EIBF Sculpture Court theatre were held in suspenseful silence by Mara Menzie’s performance reading of a Blood and Gold. In conversation with David Greig of Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre, Mara spoke about how stories connect us across nations and times, and ultimately have the potential to create revolutionary change. Weaving together multiple perspectives and exploring new angles in her work, Mara has a love of ambiguity and nuance in her stories as it allows every reader to take something transformative from each narrative. Audiences are at the heart of all stories, so both the live and virtual audiences at EIBF were welcomed into Mara and David’s discussion. Prompted by a reflections from the audience, Mara chatted about the place of stories in our current world, both as vehicles for hope in a turbulent global climate and as forces of bad in an increasing polarised political landscape.

Catch up on Mara’s performance and discussion here:

Helen McClory

As part of EIBF’s Reading Scotland series, a 5-minute film directed by Bryan M Ferguson was premiered at Helen McClory’s Bitterhall event. The film serves as a brilliant introduction to those who have not yet read Bitterhall and an immensely intriguing creative adaption for those who have. Taking inspiration from the dark, gothic atmosphere of the novel and starring Helen’s distinctive three characters, the film responds to the key moods that permeate the novel and brings them to the foreground in such piercing cinematic drama. Helen’s playfulness with objective and subjective realities in Bitterhall takes on new resonance when brought into conversation with cinema, as the competing narratives Daniel, Orla and Tom are brought abruptly into one single frame within the film. A wonderful example of contemporary Scottish literature and film-making, this event is definitely not one to be missed on the EIBF online player.

Watch Helen’s discussion of her work and Bryan’s film here:

Denise Mina

Instead of taking a long, overarching look at Scotland in the 16th century, Rizzio focusses on a short yet pivotal moment in the nation’s history. This nail-biting character study has endless parallels with contemporary political life and popular figures in our media today. Denise Mina and chair Jenny Brown delved deep into their discussion about these famous, yet often misunderstood, historical figures . In addition to Denise and Jenny’s own ideas about what motivated those characters during the fateful murder of David Rizzio, some excellent audience questions sparked interesting debates and humorous reflections in equal measures. Talking candidly about her historical research, writing process and working with her editor, James Crawford, Denise shared how important it was that the stories of previously invisible women rose to the surface in this retelling of history. The result is a dark and distinctive page-turning novella, so it’s no surprise that the live audience queued up in their multitudes to have their copies signed after the event.

You can watch Denise’s event back here:

Eilidh Muldoon

Both a live studio audience and an audience watching from home were treated to a morning drawing class from Eilidh Muldoon. Taking inspiration from her latest colouring book, The Scottish Coastal Colouring Book, Eilidh illustrated on-stage for the crowd, sharing her secrets of how to construct narratives in artwork and how to draw perfect pictures for colouring in. In this interactive session, the audience not only got to colour in some of Eilidh’s own drawings, but they also got the opportunity to come up with their own stories and incorporate them into Eilidh’s work. At the end of the event, Eilidh was put on the spot by the crowd who asked her to illustrate animals of their choosing. Many of the audience members delighted in sharing their own interpretations of Eilidh live illustrations with her at her book signing.

Learn to draw with Eilidh Muldoon here:

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