Edinburgh Book Festival unveils 2017 programme

This year's Edinburgh International Book Festival features authors from over 50 countries

Article by The Skinny | 13 Jun 2017
  • Edinburgh Book Festival

This year sees the Book Festival expand beyond its Charlotte Square Gardens home, with two new spaces at the west end of George Street as well as special events at the King's Theatre and St Mary's Cathedral. In one of the programme's most exciting developments, three of the year's most-discussed books – The Outrun by Amy Liptrot, Dirt Road by James Kelman, and the Booker Prize-nominated His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet – will be partly dramatised in Charlotte Square Gardens.

The festival's new Bosco Theatre hosts Lord Fox, a new collaboration between songwriter Kirsty Law, Twelfth Day harpist Esther Swift, and author Kirsty Logan (The GracekeepersA Portable Shelter). Poet Michael Pedersen and Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison will also launch their new collaboration Oyster at this year's Festival, featuring new poetry from Pedersen and illustrations from Hutchison.

Paul Auster presents his new novel 4 3 2 1, an epic near-900 pager about a New Jersey man who leads four parallel lives, and also discusses his life and work in a special event – Paul Auster at 70 – at the King's Theatre. In St Mary’s Cathedral, author David Mitchell is joined by conductor David Greilsammer for a unique collaboration of music interspersed with readings of Mitchell’s unpublished micro-stories. Elsewhere, Baileys Prize-winning Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie discusses the role of women in the world with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and Elif Shafak, Turkey’s most-read female novelist, explores the powerful connection between fiction and the political world in which it is written.

The festival's spoken word strand Babble On returns with Hera Lindsay Bird & Hollie McNish, Harry Baker, Jenny Lindsay and Iona Lee among others, while legendary performance poetry group The Last Poets make their debut appearance in Scotland. Edinburgh Book Festival's Unbound strand of late-night events will also return this year – we'll be revealing the line-up in the July issue and online, so keep your eyes peeled.

US writer and activist Roxane Gay has teamed up with Scots Makar Jackie Kay for a series of discussions chaired by Kay, featuring the likes of Argentinian novelist Gabriela Cabezón Cámara and Icelandic writer Thordis Elva. To mark the 70th anniversary of the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan, writers with a deep knowledge of the country come to tell their stories including Aravind Adiga, Amit Chaudhuri (who launches his new novel), Meena Kandasamy and Sunil Khilnani while speakers intimately involved with Pakistan include Nadeem Aslam and Dilip Hiro.

As well as all that, Olga Tokarczuk, Brooklyn scribe Colm Tóibín, Karl Ove Knausgaard, John Boyne, Sebastian Barry and Bernard MacLaverty will all make appearances in Charlotte Square this August. There are also a series of events celebrating writing in translation, with a panel discussion on the winning novel from this year's Man Booker International Prize (of which the Book Festival's Nick Barley is chair of the judging panel).

Elsewhere in the programme are appearances from Limmy, aka sketch comic and writer Brian Limond, and The Good Immigrant editor Nikesh Shukla; This Woman Can, a programme celebrating influential and successful women including Yazidi teenager Farida Khalaf, tennis coach Judy Murray and politicians Harriet Harman, Jess Phillips and Catherine Mayer; and the results of the Book Festival’s Outriders project, which sent five Scottish writers on five extraordinary journeys across The Americas.

Introducing this year's programme, Book Festival director Nick Barley said: "Seventy years on from the first Edinburgh Festival, the need for artists and performers to come together in celebration of free speech and the power of creativity is as great as it has ever been. Against a backdrop of political earthquakes, this year’s Book Festival proudly presents an awe-inspiring international array of writers who are closely observing the changing world and – to paraphrase the poet Emily Dickinson – telling it slant.”

The 2017 Edinburgh International Book Festival runs 12-28 Aug; read the full programme on the Edinburgh Book Festival website.