Discover a World, in Words: Edinburgh International Book Festival, 10-26 Aug

Feature by Roland Gulliver | 02 Jul 2013

Every August the Edinburgh International Book Festival takes place in Charlotte Square Gardens, a leafy green space just a stone’s throw from views of the Castle and Princes Street. Attracting around 200,000 visitors every year, it’s the place to be if you want to be challenged, entertained and inspired (or just to laze around and soak up the festival atmosphere). All events take place in a speciality-built tented village in Charlotte Square Gardens, with cafes, bookshops, bars and the Guardian Spiegeltent.

In 2013, the Book Festival celebrates its 30th anniversary by looking back on the last three decades of British and International culture and forward to what the next three decades may bring. The programme is a festival of ideas and a forum for discussion, bringing together authors and leading thinkers from the worlds of science, politics, business, economics and journalism from Scotland and across the globe.

This year Margaret Atwood, Gavin Esler, Kate Mosse and Neil Gaiman each take on the mantle of Guest Selector, hosting a series of events on genre, the collapse of trust, women in the 21st century and the reshaping of modern fantasy respectively.

Ian Rankin joins pop legends Tim Burgess and Peter Hook; Duran Duran’s John Taylor and Tracey Thorn from Everything But The Girl discuss their lives and careers; and Vic Galloway launches his new book on Fife’s Fence Collective.

Leading thinkers put forward Blueprints for the future in debates on defence, the environment, copyright, mental health and the arts with the aim of improving life in 2043. And with the Independence Referendum only 16 months away leading Scottish journalists, including Kirsty Wark and Iain Macwhirter, seek to identify the key questions that need to be answered before we can make an informed decision.

Superheroes, comic book characters and even Don Quixote swoop into the Book Festival as comics, graphic novels and the people who create them are celebrated in Stripped. More than forty events lay bare the incredible scope of comics and graphic novels being produced today, featuring Joe Sacco, Chris Ware, Posy Simmonds, Bryan Talbot and many others.

The 2013 Book Festival programme is shamelessly eclectic: Salman Rushdie, Ron Rash, Will Storr, Ali Smith, Melinda Gebbie, Caitlin Moran, Hadley Freeman, Grant Morrison and David Peace are just a few of the authors and debut writers jostling for attention.

The Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme, running alongside adult events, brings together some of the writers for young people. Julia Donaldson, Theresa Breslin and the new Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman are joined by hundreds of other children’s favourite authors and characters and plenty of new talent.


Full details of the programme can be found online at

To book tickets, visit the website or call 0845 373 5888