It's Book Festival Time Again...

Next month it’s time again for the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which runs 15 – 31 of August. Tickets are on sale now, so with that in mind, here’s our handy guide to the best at the fest.

Feature by Keir Hind | 25 Jun 2009

The highlight of any book festival is, of course, the events that The Skinny sponsors. This year we’re sponsoring David Sedaris and David Simon, both of whom we feature more completely below. Any David Simon fans should note that another one of America’s foremost crime writers, Richard Price, will be appearing on the 28 August. Not only has Price written crime classics like Clockers and Freedomland, but he was also a contributing writer on The Wire.

In fact, fans of crime writing have writers galore to choose from. Henning Mankell, writer of the Wallander novels, which were adapted for television with Kenneth Branagh last year, will appear on 22 August. David Peace, who wrote the Red Riding quartet will be appearing on the same day. He’ll be talking about his new book, Occupied City, but will almost certainly touch upon the Channel 4 adaptation of Red Riding, and his controversial novel about Brian Clough, The Damned United.

Scotland’s own crime specialist, Ian Rankin, will be launching his debut graphic novel Dark Entries, part of the ongoing series of John Constantine graphics. He’ll be appearing in conversation with one of the masters of the form, Neil Gaiman, on the 20th. Established comics great Mark Millar will be appearing on the 29th, to talk about his work for Marvel and DC, as well as works like Wanted (filmed with James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie) and his ongoing American Jesus trilogy.

Plenty of other big names are appearing at the festival. The new Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, will appear on the 15th and the 18th, and is sure to attract a large audience. As will Richard Dawkins on the 31st, and Garrison Keillor on the 15th, and neither require any introduction here. Anthony Beevor, writer of the history bestseller Stalingrad will be talking about his new book D-Day: The Battle for Normandy on the 18th, and novelist William Boyd will be launching his – no doubt excellent – new novel, Ordinary Thunderstorms, on the 28th.

Many of those events will be sold out quickly, but excellent writers are always to be found. Look, I’ll rattle some off: Cult American novelist Douglas Coupland, of Generation X fame, is appearing on the 30th, to talk about his new book, Generation A. The even more cult – and incredibly highly recommended – Nicholson Baker will be launching his new book, The Anthologist, on the 24th. Emmanuel Jal, who was once a child soldier in Sudan and is now an acclaimed rap artist, will be telling his story on the 15th. The world’s best poker writer, Anthony Holden, will be appearing on the 20th. Daniel Kehlmann, writer of the buy-it-before-you-finish-reading-this-sentence classic Measuring The World will be appearing with Ukranian comic novelist Andrei Kurkov on the 26th, a double header that's not to be missed. American crime writer George Dawes Green launches his new book, Ravens, on the 21st, but also brings his highly rated, and highly intriguing sounding storytelling evening The Moth on the 22nd – about which, more below.

If none of that appeals, what about seeing comedians launching their books? Arthur Smith, of Grumpy Old Men fame, is doing his thing on the 21st. The always appealing Dave Gorman will be talking about his travels on the 16th. And Frank Skinner will be launching a second volume of memoirs on the 23rd. Please remember though that in the time it’s taken you to read all this, tickets have been selling fast. You want to go see any of this? Get booking now!

Tickets for all events are on sale now. Buy in person from 10am-5pm, Mon-Sat at The Hub, Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NE. Once the festival has started, tickets or returns can be obtained on site in Charlotte Square Gardens in the Entrance Tent. Open 9.30am - 8.30pm daily. Bookings can also be made by phone at 0845 373 5888 or online, at