Preview: West Port Book Festival - In Conversation with Festival Director Hannah Adcock

Submitted by Al Innes on Tue, 22 Jun '10 4.43pm

Kicking-off this week is the West Port Book festival, so on a balmy Edinburgh day I caught up with Hannah Adcock, the Festival Director. We grabbed a coffee and had a quick chat about this years’ program and the success of the Collective Nouns project: So it’s the third year of the Westport Book Festival this week, and it’s in June?

Yeah, we’re excited to be running in June this year. We were really inspired by the success of the Film Festival. (Which moved to June in 2009 to avoid the crush of the August Fringe)

It’s quite a forward-thinking team you have at the Westport, is that a deliberate decision?

We are all essentially doing this in our spare time. I really like the depths of the program this year, the really different style of events. There’s always room for innovation and you always learn from the experience.

It's a free festival, does that make it harder to get the program together?

The way that we function is quite dynamic, there are no barriers and we’re very lucky. We can think of an idea and put it into practise.

Last year’s Westport featured a Literary Twestival. One of the most successful Twitter off-shoots of that were the collective nouns (courtesy of Andrew Neil’s Now you’ve launched a gallery of pictures to go along with it?

Well, the Collective nouns started with a Twitter application. It was quite obvious to see that we could ask people to illustrate it because they are so visual, some of these nouns.

Do you have a particular favourite?

There are now five thousand collective nouns on the site. Which is really impressive. People have asked me this and I can't think of just one. I love a seemingly empty room of ninjas and there are some quite cute ones like the pandemonium of pandas.

Well, I look forward to hearing more from you as the festival commences, thanks for the chat.

Thank you.

The Collective Illustration Exhibition is currently running at the Owl & Lion Gallery in the West Port and will run until the end of the West Port Book Festival on the 27th June. The West Port Book Festival will run from Thursday 24th to the 27th June 2010.