*According to the local bookshop, Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, the Festival’s biggest sellers have been You and Me: the Neuroscience of Identity by Susan Greenfield (“60 copies went in six minutes,”) Alain de Botton’s Religion for Atheists, Simon Jenkins’s History of England and AN Wilson’s Dante in Love.
Likely to outsell them all, however, is a new work by Alexander McCall Smith, to be unveiled at his event on Saturday evening at 8pm, and embargoed for sale until that minute.
*Iain Sinclair, poet, psychogeographer and crier of anathema to the Olympics project, is a disappointed man. On Wednesday night he delivered a ferocious attack on the despoliation of the East End to an audience of what he took to be Olympics fans – and found them broadly on his side. “I’ve been thrown out of Hackney Library for my views,” he said, “flung out of a Hawksmoor church in Limehouse, and hustled out of Westfield East for being a dangerous subversive. Now I’ve tried to get chucked out of Bath, and I’ve failed.” He thinks the city is too literary: “It’s like living inside a quotation.”
What's On: Today's festival highlights
11.15am: Tracy Borman on Queen Matilda. The life of William the Conqueror’s wife, the first Queen of England, full of intrigue and betrayal.
1.00pm: Independent Voices lecture: What should we do with our Money? Alex Brummer discusses the future of global finance and its effect on us all.
6.15pm: Carol Ann Duffy. The Poet Laureate reads from her new collection, The Bees, accompanied by crumhorn virtuoso John Sampson.
8.00pm: Sacred Hearts. Multi-media event in St Mary’s Church, Bathwick, with Sarah Dunant presenting semi-dramatisation of her novel with actors Niamh Cusack and Deborah Findlay, and early-music ensemble Musica Secreta.