Vendor Garry gives his thoughts on Edinburgh Book Festival homelessness talk

Garry thought the Val McDermid-led event could make some improvements

Edinburgh’s festivals are in full swing, so The Big Issue sent Glasgow vendor Garry Buchan to review an Edinburgh Book Festival event led by crime novelist Val McDermid.

The ‘What does homelessness mean?’ discussion explored topics like rough sleeping and hidden homelessness including sofa surfing and living in cars.

McDermid was joined by geographer Danny Dorling, sociologist Geetha Marcus and award-winning poet Joelle Taylor.

Giving his verdict, Garry said: “The poet was wonderful and everyone contributed something interesting.”

However he felt that the event was otherwise a little overly academic, with lots of figures and statistics.

“The only real shame was that there was no Q&A. I would have loads of questions to ask about why the government isn’t fixing homelessness and what more we can do.”

After nearly three weeks supporting vendors working at the festival, Edinburgh outreach worker Susanne Flynn explained that vendors have been making the most of the chance to sell the magazine at the event – they have been sharing a pitch at the festival’s only entrance. Some have been set up with contactless card readers.

She added: “People are responding really well to the vendors and lots of visitors were stopping to chat to them while they sold the magazine.

“The vendors seem to be really enjoying it which is great.”

Garry previously made headlines for completing a mammoth walking journey from Land’s End to John O’Groats, raising more than £4,000 for The Big Issue Foundation.

And last year he was hailed for saving a woman caught in a moped accident from obtaining any further injury by using his rucksack to protect her.