Photo with a painterly effect of a woman with brown skin wearing a 'purple rain' dress, reading from her phone and gesturing

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2022

August brings all the festivals to Edinburgh! There’s the Fringe, Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival (EIBF).

After years of visiting as a reader, then a secret writer, and ultimately a writer who dreamt of one day reading my work there, 2022 was that year!

It may have just been two poems but it was a real pleasure to share my words with the audience at home and in-person.

Celebrating Inclusion

The Celebrating Inclusion event was to launch the Inklusion Guide which is a free resource for literature organisations, event organisers and writers and individuals.

The event was part of the business of books strand of the festival, targeting literature industry folk as well as being open to the general public.

Inklusion Guide creators Julie Farrell and Ever Dundas, were joined by Jenny Kumar from Literature Alliance Scotland and Zaahida Nabagereka who is Head of Social Impact at Penguin Random House UK for a panel discussion chaired by Sinéad Burke.

Following the panel, I concluded the event by reading two poems: Chronic Fail and Sublime body reveals itself from Acts of Observation.

This was a really special moment for me. I even told the audience that I was wearing my mum’s dress because I always wear something of hers when I perform – she would have been so proud! Honestly, it’s hard experiencing these moments without my number one fan.

The recording is BSL translated and captioned is available to watch pay as you go £0+

Notes on access

While there’s always more to do from an access perspective, this event was one of the most accessible events I’ve attended, with captions on a large screen, sign language interpretation, speaker visual descriptions, masks for any in-person audience members who didn’t have one (and weren’t exempt), lateral flow tests for the panellists, ventilation.

For all EIBF’s hybrid events, the livestream and recordings were captioned, pay what you can, and the livestream had text Q&A. I would have loved to have seen all EIBF’s events delivered as hybrid.

On site they had a quiet space I was able to use to rest and stretch in. This is something I’ve learned is one of my access requirements for any on-site events or participation lasting 4+ hours including travel. Find out about some of the changes you can make: access resources.

Chairing Caribbean writers

Having digitally chaired Monique Roffey in 2021, it was a delight to be invited back in 2022 to chair Forward Prize Best Collection shortlisted poet Anthony Joseph in-person. This session sadly wasn’t hybrid.

We talked about his latest collection Sonnets for Albert, ghosts that travel with us, untrusted memories, ‘gone into that gone momentum’ (the movement of absence), absence as a physical entity…

In 2021 I talk to Monique about her award-winning novel, The Mermaid of Black Conch. I’ve always loved mermaids, so I was delighted to talk mermaids, magic, love stories and dualities with Monique!

Captioned recordings on catch up

I’ve been really pleased to see that EIBF has embraced hybrid for a good chunk of their programme when many other festivals and events are returning to pre-pandemic ‘normal’ of in-person events only.

There are lots of digital captioned recordings to catch up on EIBF until the end of September 2022 – for better captions, slide the slider beside ‘captioned’ under the video player, don’t switch on the vimeo cc auto-captions.

All are pay what you can £0+

Some favourites…

N K Jemisin: Ancient Evil on the Streets of New York chaired by Jess Brough

Malika Booker, Kayo Chingonyi, Salena Godden & Lemn Sissay: The Fire This Time chaired by Jade Bentil

Marlon James: A Fantastical Star chaired by Jess Brough

Hollie McNish & Joelle Taylor: Taboo-Busting Poets at Work chaired by Hannah Lavery

Dean Atta & Juno Dawson: Love in Scotland chaired by author Jodie Lancet-Grant

Imogen Binnie, Torrey Peters & Shola von Reinhold: A Golden Age for Trans Fiction chaired by Harry Josephine Giles

Ocean Vuong: I’m Here to Stay chaired by Alycia Pirmohamed

Celebrating Inclusion Julie Farrell, Ever Dundas, Jenny Kumar and Zaahida Nabagereka, chaired by Sinéad Burke

Monique Roffey: Conjuring the Spirit of the Caribbean

To view the full list of recordings, go to > search > select ‘watch online only’

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