EIBF 2017: Andy Hamilton, Out of the Scriptwriting Shadows

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Andy Hamilton, Al Sunter (chair)
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Andy Hamilton, probably best known for appearances on ‘Have I Got News For You’ and ‘QI’ and rather less so for his many years of comedy script writing, including the cult series ‘Old Harry’s Game’, in which he plays Satan, has now produced his first (and by his own admission possibly only) novel.

‘The Star Witness’ is based on the conceit that one wrong turn can lead to another, and so Kevin, his hapless hero (or at least central character) is borne along by a series of poor decisions of his own choosing. Originally published under the Unbound imprint, a revival of the subscription publishing format of an earlier age, ‘The Star Witness’ is now available as a paperback.

Ensconced in a presumably comfy chair in the Baillie Gifford Main Theatre, Hamilton took his appearance as an opportunity to become raconteur rather than writer, a move that seemed to be appreciated by the near-capacity audience. Although Hamilton chose not to offer his audience an extract from his latest work, he did offer an extensive tour of his experiences as a writer in other genre, as well as insights into his own writing processes and thoughts on the moral balances that sometimes needed to be struck between the competing demands of art and humanity.

Which is perhaps where Hamilton’s great strength as a comedic observer of our absurdities; the ability to see our follies, vanities and foibles for what they are and our frail and fragile selves in a similar, yet humane manner. Whether or not Andy Hamilton writes another novel, here’s hoping his sharp yet gentle eye continues to turn its gaze on the human comedy for many years to come.

Andy Hamilton, The Star Witness, Cornerstone £8.99, ISBN 9781783523962