Edinburgh Book Festival: Ken MacLeod, Stuart Kelly

I very much enjoyed meeting Ken MacLeod at the Book Festival: a very clever and likeable man.  I was interested to learn that, like one of the main characters in his novel Intrusion, he grew up in the Isle of Lewis. (Is it ‘in’ or ‘on’ with islands?  I’m never quite sure.  I think perhaps it depends on the size of the island? ‘In Australia’, ‘on Rockall’?)

One of the things that Lewis is known for is the dominance of a strict protestant religion.  Ken is clearly an erudite man with a well-stocked mental library, but I was impressed when, while chatting before the session, he reeled off, apropos of what we we talking about, a verbatim quote from an obscure part of the Old Testament.  He told me that, in his childhood, he was expected to read the entire Old Testament once every year, and the New Testament twice.

It was good to meet Stuart Kelly too, who was chairing the session.  (He also had an impressive knowledge of the obscurer parts of the Old Testament, incidentally, but I didn’t find out where he grew up.)  As Stuart wrote a nice review of Dark Eden in the Guardian, this post in in danger of degenerating into an exercise in mutual admiration, a hazard that Ken noted here.  But there it is.  I really enjoyed meeting them both, and I really enjoyed Ken’s book.

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