Edinburgh Book Festival: The First Weekend!

Last weekend the Edinburgh Book Festival launched for 2017 and I managed to get to a couple of events on those first days. On Saturday afternoon I treated myself to ‘Afternoon Tea with Yemisi Aribisala’ and the following evening I was privileged to see Carol Ann Duffy with John Sampson.

Both events were exceptional, and great picks for the opening weekend.

I confess prior to booking my festival tickets I did not know of Yemisi Aribisala and her fantastic food book ‘Longthroat Memoirs’. I was mostly drawn in by the promise of discussion based around food, and led by an inspiring Nigerian woman. Part of my goal for the festivals (and in life) is to hear and engage with stories from as diverse a population as possible, so this was a must-do for me. The promise of some tea and food certainly helped.

Yemisi kindly took the time to introduce herself to us all ahead of speaking, and she instantly gave off such vibrancy and warmth, I knew I would be a fan. As the event went forward and her discussion of her life and book began, she absolutely won me over. She was fantastic and witty, and I was incredibly interested in what she had to say about food and her culture. She is absolutely the sort of woman I’d love to have a chat with at any time.

Her wonderful, witty voice comes through in her book, and while there are a small handful of recipes, it is so much more about the culture surrounding food, and beyond. I would certainly recommend picking up her book to get a feeling of just how lovely of a person she was, and how well she tells her stories of food.

Yemisi Aribisala at afternoon tea

As with many people my age, I, unfortunately, had a small handful of Carol Ann Duffy’s poems completely ruined for me when I had to over-analyse them in order to get a grade I wasn’t even that pleased with in high school. To any student that endured a similar cruelty, I could not recommend seeing her perform enough. I laughed, and cried, and completely adored her. Carol Ann Duffy is a wit, and a marvel, I have seen comedians at the Fringe who did not make me laugh so much as her. She also gracefully raised a middle finger to Donald Trump, and you know I’m always on board with a bit of that.

The fantastic performance was only enhanced by her marvelous companion John Sampson, who played beautifully on any number of instruments and made the jolly vibe just that much stronger. The poetry was lovely, the humour was exceptional, and the performance was an absolute highlight of my entire Edinburgh Festivals experience.

I can’t wait for more Book festival events, I’m back again this evening! What a privilege it is to be living in this City of Literature.

Allie

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