I Spy a Festival…

I Spy a Festival…

March 14, 2019

Edinburgh Spy Week, brought to you by those smart folks of the University of Edinburgh, is returning to the city from the 5-12 April. With events including screenings at the Filmhouse, lectures, talks and discussions, this is the programme for those who like their plots to be cunning and their secrets to be uncovered. Focusing on espionage fiction and film, Spy Week is a chance to explore how the genre sneaks through history and culture.

Highlights of the Spy Week include the awesome Val McDermid in conversation with Adam Brookes talking about mysteries and conspiracies and a chance to explore the Hidden Literary World of Bletchley Park at the National Library of Scotland. On Friday 12th, Nadine Akkerman will be talking about the research she did for her book Invisible Agents, which involved her undertaking some spy work, cracking codes and investigating conspiracy theories from history.

Most of the events are free (aside from the spy-tastic Bond screenings at the Filmhouse) but should be booked in advance. For tickets and more information, head to: www.spyweek.ed.ac.uk

Edinburgh Spy Week is delivered in partnership with Filmhouse, National Library of Scotland and Blackwell’s Bookshop.

The full programme is:


Spies Like Us: Student Showcase
50 George Square, University of Edinburgh
3pm to 4.30pm
Students from the University of Edinburgh’s Fiction and Espionage course join graduate and postdoctoral students to showcase their work on spying, secrecy and literature.

Susan Manning Memorial Lecture: Professor Adam Piette
50 George Square, University of Edinburgh
5.30pm to 7pm
The Revolutionary Double Agent and Cold War Citizenship
This year’s Susan Manning Memorial Lecture will be an exploration of “The Revolutionary Double Agent” by Professor Adam Piette (University of Sheffield).


Filmhouse Bond season

Dr No (1962)
3pm to 5.15pm

Casino Royale (1967) – David Niven
8.20pm to 10.45pm


Filmhouse Bond season

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
2.20pm to 5pm

Live and Let Die (1973)
8.20pm to 10.45pm


Speculative Secrecy: Adam Roberts in Conversation with John Plotz
50 George Square, University of Edinburgh
5.45pm to 7.15pm
How are secrecy, conspiracy and surveillance represented in science fiction?  In this interview with award-winning novelist Adam Roberts, the intersections of science fiction and spy fiction will be explored.  It will discuss the crossover between genres and the modern fascination with speculative reading as well as the birth of genre fiction and the ‘Scientific Romance’. Adam will be in conversation with John Plotz.

Bond season at Filmhouse
The Living Daylights (1987)
8.20pm to 10.45pm


The Seven Faces of Bond: Discussion Panel
50 George Square, University of Edinburgh
2pm to 4pm
In a special event to mark Spy Week’s Bond season at Edinburgh Filmhouse, Lucy Bolton (Queen Mary University London), Nick Jones (University of York) and Julie Lobalzo Wright (University of Warwick) will discuss the changing attitude to James Bond on screen.  How have different actors changed the face of Bond, both physically and culturally?

Bond season at Filmhouse
Goldeneye (1995)
5.50pm to 8.15pm


Bond season at Filmhouse

Anthony Horowitz talks Bond: Before and After at Filmhouse
6.20pm to 7.45pm
Acclaimed author Anthony Horowitz will join us for a Q&A before the screening of Casino Royale.  Anthony will discuss his novel Forever and A Day, a prequel to Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale.
There will be a book signing following the Q&A. (There is a charge for this event)

Casino Royale (2006) – Daniel Craig at Filmhouse
8.15pm to 11.15pm


The Hidden Literary World of Bletchley Park

National Library of Scotland
2pm to 3pm
Bletchley Park, a country estate close to Milton Keynes, became the headquarters of the Government Code and Cypher School in 1939. While it played a crucial role in the government’s wartime intelligence operations, it also inspired the creative lives of its operatives. Dr Natalie Ferris (Edinburgh) will explore the little-known literary world that flourished at Bletchley Park, and ask what hold it continued to have over post-war British culture.

Spies and Detectives: Val McDermid and Adam Brookes
St Cecilia’s Hall, University of Edinburgh
6pm to 7.30pm
Celebrated best-selling detective writer Val McDermid is joined by spy novelist Adam Brookes to explore the differences between crime and espionage fiction and to talk about their own work. Join us in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town to discuss mysteries and conspiracies!


Nadine Akkerman: Invisible Agents

50 George Square, University of Edinburgh
5.30pm to 7pm
Nadine Akkerman, winner of the 2019 Ammodo Science Award, will  discuss her research into the role of women in the politics and espionage of the seventeenth century.  For her best-selling book Invisible Agents, Nadine had to act as a modern-day spy, breaking cipher codes and studying invisible inks to unearth long-hidden plots and conspiracies.