Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Richard Dawkins (Edinburgh Book Festival) *****

Just to warn you, this is going to be a bit like my Tim Minchin review, except it's not for a comedy show.

I went to see Richard Dawkins because I'm a massive fan of his. I have read his latest book and am planning to read a lot more. I have also scoured youtube for interviews and debates that he has taken part in, and I post occasionally on the message board on his website, so I knew pretty much what to expect.

I think that Dawkins is one of the most influential scientists in the world at the moment and I truly believe that along with Steven Hawking, he will be remembered as one of the Greatest scientists of our time, so it was a great privilege to see him speak in person.

Anyway, to the event.....

The hour compromised of two sections. The first being an interview from the chair, followed by 30 minutes of Q&A from the audience.

With a mainly actively atheist audience already knowledgeable about his writings, it was decided that instead of throwing meat to the lions, Richard would delve deeper and speculate more about the origins of life on our planet. The result was fascinating.

All theories were pondered over, including all the ridiculous ones.

The only criticism I could give is that the event was nowhere near long enough. With very detailed questions being asked, it took time to get through them and I imagine only 7-8 people got the chance to ask their question.

But overall, I really enjoyed the experience of the book festival and I would certainly recommend that people go and see their favoutire author appear. It has a fantastic atmosphere, and you always get chatting to people on the queue as they will generally, like you, have read and enjoyed the work of the author you're going to see.

I think I managed to convince a 70 year old lady that youtube wasn't just full of teenagers showing off and that you could actually find some interesting and even intellectually stimulating stuff if you looked hard enough!

Unfortunately most events at the Book Festival are one off events, but that doesn't mean that you can't pick someone else to go and see. It's easy to forget that there are loads of other festivals on at the same time as the Fringe, offering a much more diverse range of events and talks and the book festival is one of the best.


The Edinburgh International Book Festival is held at Charlotte Square and finishes on August 25th.

You can book tickets for other events here:

You can find out more about Richard Dawkins on his website:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

have you been to see any of the shows at st george's west? i'd highly reccomend Children of the Khmer. reviews have been brilliant. let me know if you want me to get you some tickets! cheers