My Edinburgh: David Nicholls, author

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The Independent Culture

I first visited Edinburgh in 1988, playing a small role in an obscure Jacobean tragedy set, like so many before and since, in an office. Each afternoon I'd perch on top of a filing cabinet and overact to an empty auditorium, after which I was free to head off and watch productions of Huis Clos and The Caucasian Chalk Circle set, more often than not, in offices.

Festival reminiscences tend to end with the phrase "and soon after that I passed out", but mine was a frustratingly chaste time. Apparently 1988 was the second summer of love, but no one told me. Instead I ate a lot of takeaways and failed to find myself drunk at dawn on Arthur's Seat with a Czech performance artist.

I've been to the city many times since then, but it's that first visit that remains the most vivid. I had just graduated, and that summer recalls all the hope, confusion and uncertainty of that time.

Which is why I'm pleased to be returning to Edinburgh's Book Festival to talk about my most recent novel. One Day begins in that Edinburgh summer, in the room on Rankeillor Street that I shared with 12 other people. We're currently half-way through filming the movie adaptation, and that shabby room has been recreated on a stage in London. But the final scenes, in which the characters run from Arthur's Seat to Dundas Street, were shot on location.

It's a commonplace to point out that Edinburgh is a very beautiful city, but I hope that both the novel and the movie will capture some of the joy and melancholy, the hopes and frustrations, of that time and place.

David Nicholls appears at the Edinburgh Book Festival on 26 August (0845 373 5888); 'One Day' is published by Hodder & Stoughton