PREVIEW – Edinburgh International Book Festival

From 14th-30th August, Charlotte Square Gardens will once more be transformed into an oasis of calm amidst the rest of the Festival madness, with the appearance of the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

The tranquil and civilised oasis of the Book Festival

The tranquil and civilised oasis of the Book Festival

Firmly established in the literary calendar, the Book Festival draws writers from all over the world: from Nobel laureates to first-time authors; from heavyweight Booker winners to children’s authors & illustrators.

All of this takes place in the familiar and much-loved surroundings of Charlotte Square, where the tented Book Festival ‘village’ features theatres, bookshops, cafes and a beautiful mirrored spiegelbar, which this year plays host to the Unbound series of events, where authors are invited to present and discuss their work in new ways in a relaxed and informal setting.

Regular audience favourite, Will Self

Regular audience favourite, Will Self


First-time director Nick Barley has put together an impressive and varied programme, with themes including US contemporary writing and the fast-changing pace of modern society.

Additionally, Barley introduces several new and innovative features, which – as well as the Unbound events mentioned above – include:

  • Guest selectors, where special guests such as Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell and Scotland On Sunday literary editor Stuart Kelly curate a series of themed events
  • Elsewhere, where 50 authors have been commissioned to write new pieces based on the theme of ‘elsewhere’, the results of which will be published on the Book Festival’s website and also feature in the programme of scheduled events
  • Storyshop, which, in collaboration with Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature, allows new writers to present readings of their own short & micro fiction in the book shop, giving them a unique and exciting chance to have their voices heard at one of the world’s biggest and most respected book festivals

And of course, the festival programme is packed with readings and appearances by festival regulars such as Ian Rankin, Iain Banks and Will Self; as well as rare appearances by the likes of Irish poet Seamus Heaney, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, and world renowned architect Lord Norman Foster.

Local literary hero, Ian Rankin

Local literary hero, Ian Rankin


Altogether, there are hundreds of authors appearing, from Philip Pullman to Nicholas Parsons; AL Kennedy to Elaine C Smith; Alasdair Gray to Jah Wobble. In short, take a look through the programme and you’re bound to find something which appeals.

Together with dozens of events, readings and activities for children; book signings galore; and an atmosphere that is truly special, 2010’s Edinburgh International Book Festival looks set to yet again be an unmissable fixture in Edinburgh’s August festival season.

The box office for events at the Book Festival opens at 08:30 on Saturday 26th June, online and over the telephone. This year, and on the first day of booking only, tickets are also on sale at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (Venue 150 during the Fringe), where a dedicated numbered ticketing system will be in operation – together with tea and coffee available for those waiting in line.

After the 26th, tickets are also available for purchase at The Hub at the top of the Royal Mile.

Browse the programme and – from the 26th June – order tickets online at the Festival’s website. This year, you can also follow @edbookfest on Twitter.

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