Caught by the River

Edinburgh Book Festival, the Water of Leith and Peter Doig

14th August 2013

From Charles Rangeley-Wilson:

I’ll be reading from Silt Road and discussing nature and the city with Esther Woolfson, author of Field Notes from a Hidden City at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this coming Thursday evening at 7pm in the Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre. The event is called Silent Elegies to the Natural World and tickets are available here.

I’m doubly looking forward to my trip to Scotland, not only for the chance to read to new faces in Edinburgh, but also because I’ll get a chance to once again walk the Water of Leith – something I first did years ago when I taught Art in Perthshire. The rivers of the underworld are discussed in Silt Road, which is after all about a subterranean river, but a quick google-scan reveals Leith derives from a Celtic word meaning flowing water, and has nothing to do with Lethe the river of forgetfulness, as I briefly wondered.

It was on a day trip from Glenalmond College to the Scottish National Gallery that I discovered the Water of Leith and I’ll be walking from the river to the gallery once again because the artist Peter Doig has a new show on there No Foreign Lands. Doig’s work is fabulous: stubbornly anti-conceptual and unfashionably sumptuous. A strange mix too of tropical light and colour and a spectral northern sensibility. Worth a visit.

For anyone thinking of a trip to Edinburgh on Thursday then, I have just described a varied and I hope very interesting three-part agenda. Enjoy.

Charles will be reading from Silt Road on the Caught by the River / Faber Social estuary stage at Festival No 6 on Sunday 15 September.