Review: Stella Duffy at Edinburgh International Book Festival

Edinburgh International Book Festival – 13th August 2018
At The Spiegaltent Chaired by Jenny Niven

Seeing Stella Duffy is always a pleasure, and the chance to catch her at Edinburgh Book Festival, discussing her novel Hidden Room and Money in the Morgue (with Ngaio Marsh) was one I couldn’t pass up.

Stella is a phenomenal woman in many respects. Her writing is fantastic and so worth a read; if you’re a writer then her honesty about process and journey will inspire you; if you’re interested in art in community then her initiative Fun Palaces is super exciting. When she’s in conversation there’s always a lot to talk about, to engage with – and by the end you’ll be completely enraptured.

As usual, this hour was one that covered many topics – so from the top!

Hidden Room is a psychological thriller in which Laurie is forced to protect her family when the leader of a cult tracks her down. Since purchasing a copy, I’ve not been able to put it down. The pace of it and suspense will leave you turning page after page – and with prominent LGBTQ characters, it’s really exciting to read a book that I can relate to (minus the cult!).

Money in the Morgue is an unfinished Alleyn mystery that was started by Ngaio Marsh in 1945. Stella was approached to complete it after the pages were found – the publishers looking for the perfect person to finish the story. Stella’s appreciation and understanding of Marsh’s work is inspiring, and the process of finishing a piece started by another writer was really interesting.

Finally, Stella spoke about the initiative Fun Palaces. For those of you that don’t know, Fun Palaces is all about culture at the heart of community. Each year for one weekend (the 6th and 7th of October for your diaries) communities are encouraged to run their own Fun Palace – combining art, craft, science, tech, digital, heritage and sport. The initiative is led by local people, for local people – to encourage people sharing their skills and abilities in order to transform communities. It’s really exciting and well worth participating (you can find out more at

If you ever get the chance to see Stella Duffy speak, chances are that you will go away feeling inspired and revitalised. A phenomenal woman, and a brilliant conversation.

© Megan Holland 2018

This event has now finished, but follow @stellduffy on Twitter for updates of her work and you can also keep up to date on her website / blog. We also recommend following @FunPalaces.

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📷 S.Silas 2018

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