Mary Irvine’s Blog: Booked Festival 2016

booked festival

booked festival

West Dunbartonshire Booked! Festival 2016

Sold out! So stated the website from which one purchased tickets for the above annual and most successful event of an eclectic (love these Greek words – wonder why!) mix of authors and their works. Having lost out on the earlier visit of Irvine Welsh to Dumbarton library I ensured I hadn’t missed the opportunity to get the tickets I wanted. Would have loved to go to all of them but tempus fugit and there are so many festivals around/coming up one really has to restrain oneself! Am very disappointed not to be able to attend an innovation this year on Monday, May 16th – see attached flyer. Already ‘booked’ that date. So much to do, so little time. Oh dear, I feel a digression coming on so will bring myself back to the business in hand.

Gregor Fisher and Melanie Reid, Dalmuir Library

booked festival

The first of my choices was at the Dalmuir Library, large enough to accommodate some 70 plus comfortably but small enough for the speakers to engage informally with the audience. The speakers were Gregor Fisher, actor and comedian, and Melanie Reid, journalist. The subject of the talk was Gregor’s biography, ‘The Boy from Nowhere’, a book Melanie described as ‘a complicated story telling of the mysteries and coincidences of his life’. The two speakers complemented each other, relating between them the story of how they met and eventually decided on the voice of the book. Melanie’s first attempt had been in the first person but it didn’t seem to work. As Gregor said ‘Just tell it!’  He’d also decide he didn’t want a ‘soppy’ book or a tear-jerking ‘misery’ books so prolific in recent times. He did refer to one in particular which caused great amusement amongst those familiar with said book. I will not repeat the reference for fear of being sued! Couldn’t comment anyway as I avoid such books like the plague – sorry for hackneyed simile. I’m not actually but it’s polite to say so!

M/S Melanie commented wryly she’d thought at one point the book should be entitled ‘Travels with Gregor’, as the research for parents, both birth and adoptive, involved several long – and often traumatic – journeys. Gregor spoke lovingly of his ‘real’ (i.e. adoptive) mother and of how he’d felt ashamed of the initial hard time he gave her, at the age of 14 when she told him he was adopted.
The presentation was amusing at times, poignant and informative. Gregor, as one would have expected, engaged with the audience, striking up an instant rapport and Melanie kept him on track. The evening concluded with the signing and sale of books, tea/coffee and a chance to chat.

Congratulations to all concerned in the evening’s organisation. A most enjoyable 2 hours and it was all free courtesy of West Dunbartonshire libraries (and, I believe, Creative Scotland).  And for something completely different I attended the millennium hall to hear Erwin James… More of which later.

‘A Boy from Nowhere’ is available on Amazon, hard copy £9.50, kindle £9.99. A paper back is available at £7.99 from June 2nd, 2016. 

Although Fisher is credited as the author and Reid as the contributor the impression from the talk was that Reid was the actual writer. Am I missing some nuance here?


Seeds of Thought, Poetry Night, CCA Friday 13 May, 2016
Southside Fringe Festival: The Muse at Finn's Place, Friday 27 May, 2016

This section: Books, Talks, Poetry and Creative Writing Events, Mary Irvine: Writer and Philhellene

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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