Edinburgh International Book Festival and City Recommendations

I’m participating in the Edinburgh International Book Festival this year, and I hope to meet some of you there. I will be in conversation with the Nigerian writer Emmanuel Iduma about loss, inheritance and the impact of war on families.

Victoria Belim & Emmanuel Iduma: Lost Legacies, Hidden Histories
Tue 15 Aug 13:30 – 14:30 Baillie Gifford Sculpture Court
Baillie Gifford Sculpture Court
You can attend in person or watch online by following this link.

Victoria Belim & Emmanuel Iduma: Lost Legacies, Hidden Histories
Authors Victoria Belim and Emmanuel Iduma share their personal, moving experiences, discussing the interplay between global forces and personal histories. They have a dogged shared commitment to unearthing the past – Belim in The Rooster House, tying family secrets to Ukraine’s hidden history; and Iduma in I Am Still With You, part-memoir, part-political reckoning tracing his roots amongst those displaced by the Nigerian Civil War. Chaired by Marjorie Lotfi.

Watch online
Available live, then on-demand until 00:00 on Saturday 30 September.

I visited Edinburgh once before, but I still don’t know the city well. If you have any recommendations on what to visit and see, I would be grateful.



  • Nancy Arnott: I’m excited for you and looking forward to viewing your talk, Victoria!

    I visited Edinburgh for six days in late June and loved it so much that I am already planning a return visit for next spring. It’s such a beautiful city, and there is so much to see and do. I spent four days in the city and took two day-long excursions, one to St. Andrews and the other to the West Central Highlands.

    I wrote up a trip report that I’ll share the link to in case it might prove helpful: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/trip-report-6-days-solo-in-edinburgh-in-late-june-2023-with-day-trips August 7, 2023 at 9:24am Reply

    • Victoria: What a great report! It makes me regret that my trip is not longer, or else I could have done more. Thank you very much. August 9, 2023 at 5:48am Reply

  • Bettina: I am so glad your excellent work is being recognized, Victoria. I finished reading Rooster House earlier this week and recommend it to everyone.
    I have booked in to watch the conversation online and look forward to it. August 7, 2023 at 7:07pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Bettina. I’m so glad to hear that you liked my book. August 9, 2023 at 5:48am Reply

  • Kiwi: Hi Victoria,
    August is a great time to visit Edinburgh. I would suggest checking out some of the many other festival/Fringe events that are happening this month.
    The Old Town is very walkable, although rather congested at this time of year especially around the castle and Royal Mile. The New Town is only slightly younger than the Old Town but no less picturesque. I’d suggest brunching there and taking a wander through Dean Village.
    For a respite from the crowds you could head to a museum. My favourites as a university student were the National Museum, National Gallery and Surgeon’s Hall.
    If you are up for a hike, Arthur’s Seat offers the best views of the city. Otherwise Calton Hill is a more accessible option.
    As for day trips, I’ve been on the same Fife tour as Nancy and recommend it too. You could also take a train/bus to Stirling Castle, Rosslyn Chapel or Tantallon Castle (I have a sentimental fondness for the latter though it’s certainly under the radar…). August 9, 2023 at 12:51am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much for your suggestions! I’m adding them to my list. August 9, 2023 at 5:47am Reply

  • Maya: Dear Victoria, I finished reading The Rooster House and enjoyed it so much. Despite the sadness and tragedy that pervades it, optimism is also rooted in it. It is a highly human and humane work that does not shy away from the conflict that we face with family members who perceive reality differently than us. You do not live in a world of black and white – it was oddly comforting to reside in that reality while reading your book.
    Not to pressure you, but I will now await the next book 🙂 August 9, 2023 at 2:27pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much for your kind words, Maya. I’m so happy that you liked my book. You’ve pointed out exactly what I intended with this work, to show that things are never black or white. August 10, 2023 at 4:19am Reply

  • Karina_NL: Dear Victoria, great to know that you will be in Edinburgh for the International Festival! It is fabulous that you can talk about your book there.

    I lived in Edinburgh for five years in total and it is one of my most beloved cities, but unfortunately I haven’t visited it for a long while now. Both Nancy and Kiwi gave you many good suggestions of what to do. I would add a few ones, if you still want more ideas:

    – go to the Usher Hall if you get tickets for any Festival concert there.

    – visit the Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning:

    – visit St. Gilles’ cathedral on the Royal Mile.

    – visit the old musical instrument collection, and possibly attend a concert, at St. Cecilia’s hall (just off the Royal Mile).

    – go for a walk just off the Royal Mile down Victoria St. and visit the Grassmarket. There are some characteristic old-style shops worth visiting (including Ian Mellis, the best cheesemonger in town).

    I hope that you enjoy your visit in spite of the Festival crowds! August 9, 2023 at 5:48pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much for your suggestions. As I mentioned below, I now wish my trip were longer. Perhaps I have to return. August 11, 2023 at 4:35am Reply

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