Edinburgh International Book Festival 2012 – An Introduction

Feature by Roland Gulliver | 03 Jul 2012

Last year at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, James Robertson aired his Megrahi conspiracy, former CIA officer Michael Scheuer was heckled by a protestor and Gary Tank Commander made a surprise late night appearance.

This year between 11-27 August, debate and discussion is set to return to Charlotte Square Gardens as the world’s leading thinkers on art, music, politics, economics, theatre, philosophy and business, join with some of the finest novelists of our generation in the largest celebration of the written word in the world.

This summer the Book Festival will launch new novels from Howard Jacobson, John Banville, Pat Barker and Ian McEwan, as well as hosting some of Scotland’s leading writers such as Andrew O’Hagan, Alan Bissett, Jackie Kay, Irvine Welsh, Ali Smith and Iain Banks.

James Naughtie, host of the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, and veteran broadcaster Sue MacGregor will act as Guest Selectors this year. Naughtie examines Britain Today with politicians Tom Watson, Paddy Ashdown and Alistair Darling along with writers Zadie Smith and Ruth Padel, while MacGregor explores A Survival Kit for the Information Age with Maajid Nawaz, Prue Leith, Charles Ferguson, Tessa Hadley, Sarah Hall and A L Kennedy.

Other highlights this year include former Prime Minister Gordon Brown who will deliver the National Library of Scotland’s Donald Dewar lecture; the godfather of disco and founding member of Chic, Nile Rodgers, will discuss his career in the music business; Nobel Prize winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, will argue for a fresh perspective on the world economy and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Katherine Boo, will discuss the life of street children in a Mumbai slum.

Themes running through the Book Festival programme include Scotland’s Rich History, Russia Now and Then, Another Africa, Science Meets Fiction, We Are The War and in this, the year of the London Olympics, Sport: Mindgames featuring fact, fiction and personal stories about sport including the drugs, the cheating and the darker side of competing at a professional level.

Alongside the Adult Programme there is a lively RBS Children’s Programme featuring Julia Donaldson, Darren Shan, Jacqueline Wilson, Neil Gaiman, David Walliams, Mackenzie Crook, Cathy Cassidy and Vivian French acting as a Guest Selector.

Remember, authors such as J K Rowling, Yann Martell and Salman Rushdie all spoke at the Edinburgh International Book Festival long before their books became world bestsellers – you never know who you might discover this year.

Full details of the programme can be found online at www.edbookfest.co.uk, and tickets can be bought on the website or by calling the box office on 0845 373 5888