Edinburgh International Book Festival 2023: The programme

The Edinburgh Book Festival returns to the Edinburgh College of Art this August for its 40th year – here's a look at the 2023 programme

Feature by Peter Simpson | 14 Jun 2023
  • Edinburgh Book Festival

It's the big four-oh. Edinburgh International Book Festival is celebrating its 40th year with its 2023 edition, returning to its current home at the Edinburgh College of Art buildings on Lauriston Place (handily, directly behind The Skinny's offices) from Sat 12 to Mon 28 August.

This year's programme features hundreds of authors, artists, thinkers and Big Names from nearly 50 countries around the world, and also features the welcome return of a late night programme – Festival Late Nights is a series of salons and freeform nights taking influences from writing, spoken word, art, music and elsewhere. More than 100 of the Festival's events will be available as livestreams, the Children's programme is as packed with exciting and attention-grabbing events as ever, and there's new £10 tickets for under-26s to help make things more affordable. 

The Skinny x Edinburgh International Book Festival: Climate Justice & Palestinian Stories

We're thrilled to be partnering up with the Festival once again, and we're sponsoring one of the most vital strands at any festival – Climate Positive is full of writers offering calls for action, and exciting new ideas on how we can stop the planet from being destroyed. The strand is headlined by an appearance by Greta Thunberg – her talk at the Playhouse is currently sold out, keep your eyes peeled for returns nearer the time.

We're also delighted to present the talk between Isabella Hammad and Raja Shehadeh on Wed 16 Aug. The writers offer two distinct looks at life in modern Palestine; Hammad's new novel Enter Ghost is a five-star meditation on art, family, and resistance set in the West Bank, while lawyer and writer Shehadeh has written extensilvely about life in occupied Palestine. 

Edinburgh Book Festival highlights

It's a dense, intriguing programme, but we've picked out a few early highlights to help you along. On Sun 13 Aug, Camilla Grudova (Children of Paradise) and Olga Ravn (The Employees, is My Work) discuss their latest novels which look at the anxieties and strangeness of the modern workplace. Their event, I Do Not Dream of Labour, is chaired by Kirsty Logan. Two of Scotland's most prolific and idiosyncratic artistic voices team up on Fri 25 Aug – poet Michael Pedersen and artist David Shrigley discuss their latest collections The Cat Prince and Get Your Shit Together.

Fringe of Colour co-director Jess Brough discusses the work of writer and academic Saidiya Hartman in a close reading of Hartman's Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments (Mon 14 Aug). The event will discuss Hartman's writing around life for Black woman following emancipation and their experiments with the freedom to live their lives in their own way. On Thu 24 Aug, a panel on Granta's latest Best of Young British Novelists brings together four excellent new writers – Olivia Sudjic, Natasha Brown, Derek Owusu and Graeme Armstrong.

Leïla Slimani discusses her new novel, set in pre-revolution Morocco, on Thu 24 Aug. Watch Us Dance explores life in the past and present for Moroccan women – the Edinburgh Book Festival event is also available as a livestream. Arusa Qureshi – powerhouse writer, DJ, and editor of our Festivals-centric sister mag Fest – hosts one of the Book Festival's late night events on Sat 26 Aug. Joyful Defiance promises an evening of words and music from new and exciting voices from across the Scottish contemporary arts scene. And our Books Editor Anahit Behrooz joins Eris Young to discuss their respective new books on intimacy and friendship on Sat 12 Aug – Behrooz's BFFs digs into radical expressions of female intimacy outside of romantic relationships, Young's Ace Voices presents stories and life lessons from across the asexual and aromantic spectrum.

Edinburgh International Book Festival runs 12-28 Aug; tickets go on sale from 29 Jun at edbookfest.co.uk