5 events to get you thinking at Edinburgh International Book Festival

Charlotte Square is a hive of bookish activity for the next two weeks, but what do you do if you haven’t got tickets for George R R Martin or Haruki Murakami? Don’t panic! There are plenty of other exciting and mind-bending events happening. Here are five intriguing ones that caught our eye...


Trevor Cox: How Sound Affects Us

Friday 15 August, 2.30pm

Join professor of acoustics Trevor Cox and become a sound explorer!

This promises to be an eye-opener, or should I say ear-opener? Sound ripples through every nook and cranny of our lives but is often kept schtum by our visually dominated world. Join professor of acoustics Trevor Cox and become a sound explorer! Earlier this year Cox introduced BBC Radio 4 listeners to the beauty of everyday sounds with a campaign that went a bit viral. Here he asks important questions like why do bubbles sound bubbly?


Josh Cohen: A New Perspective on Private Life

Wednesday 20 August, 2pm

Privacy used to be delicious and a bit sexy, but it has become a redundant and almost sinister word in today’s cyber galaxy of tweeting and self-publishing. We are all familiar with ‘privacy settings’ online but where exactly do we set the boundaries for our privacy? Has privacy become extinct? Hear literary professor and psychoanalyst Josh Cohen challenge ideas on our private lives.


Is there anybody going to push me? by Niccolò Caranti
Best (Imaginary) Friends Forever: The Psychology of Childhood

Friday 15 August, 5pm

I was rather alarmed to discover that Mr Snuffleupagus was Big Bird’s imaginary friend until circa 1985. Imagine if we kept our imaginary friends with us into adulthood. Although largely a childhood phenomenon, imaginary friends can stay with us throughout our lives and can have a positive psychological impact. Michael Marshall Smith discusses the phenomenon with Pip Jones, creator of invisible cat Squishy McFluff, and novelist and child psychologist Charles Fernyhough.


Kenan Malik & Larry Siedentop: Where Do Morals Come From?

Wednesday 20 August, 7pm

Now on to the hard stuff. This is an opportunity to see two philosophical heavyweights do a few rounds in the ring with morality. With both having numerous titles tucked under their belts - most recently Malik’s The Quest for a Moral Compass and Siedentop’s Inventing the Individual - this promises to be a captivating discussion.


Michael Rosen: What is the Point of Books?

Monday 25 August, 8.30pm

This is a good question. Although likely a no-brainer for many, it is always good to go back to basics. This event kicks off the epic year-long project The National Conversation by the Writers’ Centre Norwich, aiming to generate inspired discussion and a love of books. Hear author, former Children’s Laureate and advocate for books Michael Rosen dissect the book and its role to the individual and society.


Find more exciting events in our 5 ways to enjoy EIBF for free and 21 must-see shows for booklovers at the FringeWant great book links like this on a monthly basis? Sign up for our enewsletter for booklovers.

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