In Edinburgh, the uneven streets descending from the castle and the straight geometric lines of the modern city create a stark contrast that is hard to miss. Every summer, this chic and neoclassical part of the city is buzzing during the International Book Festival. Walk along to the western end of George Street and you will find yourself in the lush gardens of Charlotte Square, where a tent village is set up especially for this popular and free event. Welcome to the largest public celebration of writing in the world!
More than 900 prominent authors attending
You will not know where to look during these two literary weeks. From poets to athletes, illustrators and comic book writers, scientists, biographers and historians, more than 900 authors will be attending some 1,000 events for all ages in the charming Charlotte Square park. Be sure to join in the fun and participate in the workshops and talks, where you might just get to see your favourite writer. “The book festival in Edinburgh is an unbeatable place for meeting inspiring people and sharing big ideas,” says Nick Barley, the festival director. “This year's programme brings together writers whose experiences will truly change our way of looking at the world: from the emerging Rwandan-Burundian superstar to the legend of Kenyan writing Ngugi wa Thiong'o, this is the most international of festival programmes – but one that also proudly celebrates its Scottish history and context.” These thematic events will send you travelling as you discover fiction, poetry, personal stories and global issues. Passionate readers will be spoilt for choice.
Talks on all sorts of subjects
Of the major subjects covered, you might be interested in the environment. Gregory Kenicer, Head of Horticulturist at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, will shed light on the world of plants while journalist Fred Pearce will have you thinking about the future of energy.
If music is more your style, talk with artists who traded their instruments for pens to share their experiences. Among them will be the award-winning musician Matthew Herbert, who describes surprising sound landscapes in his novel The Music. BBC Radio presenter DJ Semtex provides insight on a controversial genre in Hip Hop Raised Me.
For those who are really into politics, share your ideas with authors who fight for their rights or question our democratic systems. You could have an opportunity to speak with former UK Minister Jo Swinson, Irish journalist Malachi O'Doherty, or the former Sinn Féin party leader Gordon Brown. It is a programme that will set your heart racing.
Live entertainment for old and young alike
This year, books and live entertainment will go hand in hand. Snag a front row seat for original performances by the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh. It will explore three fascinating publications in recent years: Isabel Greenberg's graphic novel One Hundred Nights of Hero, Mexican superstar Yuri Herrera's Signs Preceding the End of the World, and Scotland's own talent Ali Smith's How to Be Both.
On 11 August, the festival will devote an entire day to family fun. Get the kiddies interested in the largest children's library in the country. A few authors and illustrators will explain how they create their imaginary worlds. An ice cream stand awaits in Charlotte Square for anyone whose sweet tooth gets the better of them. Later, have a drink at Spiegeltent, a night-time literary cabaret at George Square. Some nights, writers will go on stage to give light-hearted performances combining literature, music and comedy. It is a not-to-be-missed event during your stay in Edinburgh.
St Andrew Square
Edinburgh EH2 1AF
+44 (0)131 558 9005
Edinburgh International Book Festival
11 to 27 August 2018
West end of George Street
40 Charlotte Square
Edinburgh EH2 4HQ
+44 (0)345 373 5888