By Chris Hammond
In recent decades Scotland and fiction has been synonymous with crime. From Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus stories to Stuart McBride’s Logan McRae novels, there’s a Scottish crime series for every location and dark literary taste you could imagine. Chief amongst Scotland’s more macabre wordsmiths is Christopher Brookmyre a bestselling author with the ability to wittily turn everyday Scotland into a twisted world of deceit, murder, crime and cruelty.
You might be forgiven for thinking that when someone’s working world revolves around writing about brutal murders and burglars leaving jobbies on mantelpieces, they’re not likely to be in demand for public events. This however isn’t quite the case, as Christopher’s appearance at this month’s Margins Festival is just the kick start to what will be a busy year for the author. “Well I’ll be going to the event with Louise Welsh who I’ve done a few events with in the past and I’m a big admirer of. I’d imagine there’ll be some sort of crime theme!”
Part conversation, part audience Q&A, part readings, Christopher’s Margins appearance will introduce both fans and newcomers to his latest work. Due out in June, his next tale is the sequel to ‘Where The Bodies Are Buried’ and will be his 15th novel. When discussing his attendance at Margins, Christopher is keen to point out that he’s actually involved in quite a lot of public readings and book festivals; though none have quite the same setup as this particular event.
“It’s actually quite unusual for me to be performing alongside musicians. Anything like that just makes you focus on your own work in a slightly different context. Most of the time I go to a gig, I go having bought my ticket as a fan and am purely there as part of the audience. I think this sort of event emphasises the degree to which performance has become a standard part of literature these days. The days when a writer had a face you never saw and didn’t speak in front of audiences is long gone.”
Alongside the likes of Christopher Brookmyre and Louse Welsh, Scottish culture vultures can also enjoy music from Roddy Woomble, and Aidan Moffat as well as an appearance from Alasdair Gray. The question is though, with a book to write, a performance to put on and a seemingly top secret computer game project in the pipeline will he actually have any time to enjoy the rest of Margins eclectic line-up?
“I might go and see something. The last time they did this there was a really interesting mix of readings interspersed with musical contributions. There was a very intriguing 20 minutes from Malcolm Middleton . . . but in my case it all depends on how late I feel like staying up, which these days doesn’t tend to be very late! I’m an early riser who is absolutely useless beyond a certain time of night.”
The Margins Book and Music Festival takes place at The Arches between the 23rd and 26th of Feb. Visit www.marginsfestival.com for more details.