By Karrie Gillett
SIR Sean Connery is to return to Scotland this summer to launch his much-anticipated autobiography.
The Bond superstar will jet in from his luxury home on the Bahamas for the Edinburgh International Book Festival where he will read selections from his book called Being a Scot.
And Connery will be celebrating his 78th birthday on the day of the talk on August 25 – marking a world exclusive for the festival which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
The long-awaited autobiography – co-written with Scottish filmmaker Murray Grigor – will include details of life growing up in the capital, as well as promising a Scottish take on mixing with the Hollywood elite.
And for Catherine Lockerbie – director of the festival – there was only one place the work could ever have been launched.
Ms Lockerbie, who is celebrating the biggest ever book festival with 800 authors taking part, said she set her sights on securing the main attraction as soon as she heard about the screen legend’s novel.
She said: “A few years ago, Sir Sean said he was giving up movies to write his autobiography and I thought ‘When that book comes out, there is only one place on the planet that it is going to be launched and that’s at my festival in Charlotte Square Gardens.’
“When Murray Grigor became co-writer we just kept in there and argued very strongly that our festival was the best festival for this book.
“To me it just makes total sense. It had to be in his city, it’s a lovely thing that it’s on his birthday on the final day of our anniversary festival. It’s perfect.”
At yesterday’s launch of the festival line-up – which takes places from August 9 – 25 – the ex-Edinburgh milkman sent a comic-filled video message.
Connery – pictured on the golf course – joked at his inability to spell properly while Grigor looked on despairingly.
But Ms Lockerbie confirmed that although the novel was being co-written, it would offer a completely different personal insight into the Bond legend’s life.
She said: “It isn’t anything like a conventional autobiography. When a big film star comes out with a book – and everyone agrees that Sir Sean is one of a handful of true stars in the whole world of movies – normally they will have it ghost-written by an anonymous person in the background.
“But this isn’t like this. This is Murray interviewing Sean about his opinions on everything from sport to architecture to the Scottish sense of humour and in the process, Sir Sean’s life emerges.
“It’s a different way in to showing where he came from and what he thinks.
She added: “It’ll be quite playful, quite eccentric and utterly wonderful.”
And another Connery fan keen to get his hands on a ticket for the personal reading is Rebus author Ian Rankin.
The crime writer – who will host an audience with a mystery guest on the festival’s opening night – said he was eagerly waiting hearing Sir Sean’s account of Scotland.
He said: “Connery’s event is going to be a hot ticket. What an exclusive event that is going to be, I doubt I’ll get a ticket actually. It’s amazing.
“I’m looking forward to doing what I always do during the festival and that’s being a punter and listening to some great writers talking about a massive range of issues.
“It’s just such a mix. You know, Edinburgh’s a pressure cooker in August and the book festival is such a great place to hang out, it’s an oasis. You don’t need to pay, you don’t need to be shy, you can just sit and have a picnic and hang out.”
But the Edinburgh-based writer said he was guarding the name of the mysterious guest with his life.
However, other heavyweights who have been named on the official programme include politicians Alex Salmond and John Prescott.
And meet-the-author events will offer personal readings from Salman Rushdie and Trainspotting writer Irvine Welsh.