A few months ago I was contacted by the nice people from the Edinburgh International Book Festival. They asked if I’d like to appear at a festival they had planned, an outreach programme called ReimagiNation. It would be about new towns and my name popped up. This is how the phone call went:

EIBF: “Kirkland, is that you?”
KIRKLAND: “Yes. I’m drinking tea.”
EIBF: “We’re watching Twin Peaks.”
KIRKLAND: “Oh it’s really good isn’t it?”
EIBF: “Yes, but that’s not why we’re phoning. We’d like you to take part in ReimagiNation.”


The weekend of events was planned meticulously by the combined staff of The EIBF and CultureNL librarians. They worked together extraordinarily well, in my opinion, and came up with a brilliant brochure to suit all ages. I took part in two events: Unbound, their evening of music and spoken word, and a debate about Cumbernauld. The debate posed the question: Is it still the town of tomorrow? WELL. I said, “No, but it might be the town of next week.”


Seriously, the audience laughed. When they laugh, I glow in the dark.

Unbound featured music from The Flexibles (from one of my favourite record labels Night School Records), Panda Sue, and readings from Helen MacKinven, David Keenan, David F. Ross, and me. It was a good night and everyone did really well, thank goodness. It’s always frightening that you might be crap and have a bad gig. But that wasn’t the case in this instance, thank goodness. Best of all, the Town Hall granted me a lot of sympathetic lighting. It was all nice and violet. Trust me, some venues have stuck me under a spotlight so powerful that I’ve looked like Carrie at the prom before the bucket of blood bounced off her bonce.


The debate at The New Town Hall on Sunday saw me thrust into a big discussion with a sizeable audience. It was me, Diane Watters, Adam Kaasa and chairperson Richard Holloway. The audience participated and the debate was very lively as a result. Hurrah! Richard Holloway seemed fascinated by my hat, which was a bright red beret. I’ve taken to wearing berets because I want to look like a French art student; I don’t know why, because I don’t even have a passport. That’ll have to be sorted soon.

Anyway, the weekend whizzed by too quickly. But what a cracking weekend it was regardless. Thanks to the lovely folks from Charlotte Square for inviting me to participate, and of course Gillian from CultureNL.

And yes, I’m writing a book so you’ll hear about that soon. Sorry about the slight delay, but there’s a story behind that one. Honestly, you won’t believe it. No, seriously you won’t believe it. I’ll have to underplay it to make it seem more real.


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