Books - Edinburgh International Book Festival

It's All Together Now as the full programme of events was announced on Wednesday for Edinburgh International Book Festival 2022. Here's what's going to be on offer in August...

Press Release

All Together Now is the rallying call from the Edinburgh International Book Festival which returns from 13th – 30th August 2022. This year’s vibrant programme builds on the hybrid format developed over the past two years, with live, in-person events, many of which are also available to stream or watch at a later date. Packed with events for adults and with a stunning programme for children and young people, the festival celebrates the imagination, issues and ideas at the heart of books and stories, offering new perspectives on a fast-changing world.

This year the Book Festival returns to the Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) and adds new event spaces to accommodate more than 600 events featuring over 550 authors, performers, musicians and thinkers from 50 countries. Central Hall, located on Lothian Road, a five-minute walk from Edinburgh College of Art, is the biggest of these spaces, and will play host to the likes of Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa and Vietnamese American poet Ocean Vuong, Outlander writer Diana Gabaldon, as well as Noam Chomsky, Jack Monroe, Alexander McCall Smith, Denise Mina, William Dalrymple and Armando Iannucci. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon joins the Festival for two events, interviewing acclaimed novelist Louise Welsh about her new novel The Second Cut, and screen legend Brian Cox about a life on the Scottish stage and his role in television hit series Succession. For younger readers there are events with some of the world’s best known children’s authors including Jason Reynolds, Cressida Cowell, Julia Donaldson, Michael Morpurgo and Adam Kay.

Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 winner Maggie O'Farrell launches her hotly-anticipated novel The Marriage Portrait, a portrayal of the battle for survival by a captivating young duchess in 16th century Florence. Also launching new books at the Festival are some of the world’s best-loved thriller writers: Val McDermid follows up last year’s bestselling 1979 with 1989, the latest in her series chronicling modern Scotland, while Irvine Welsh talks for the first time about his new crime novel The Long Knives.

The most recent winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Abdulrazak Gurnah, talks about his novel Afterlives. Among the other leading writers discussing their new books will be Booker Prize winners Marlon James, Damon Galgut, Howard Jacobson and Julian Barnes. Douglas Stuart is back on home soil with Young Mungo, the follow up to his Booker-winning first novel Shuggie Bain. and Anne Enright returns to the Book Festival to reflect on finding influence and inspiration in Ireland. Enright will also interview American writer Mary Gaitskill. Two more Irish writers making a welcome return to the Book Festival are Colm Tóibín – the new Irish Laureate for Fiction who was recently awarded the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime of achievement – and Small Things Like These author Claire Keegan. And Monica Ali introduces Love Marriage, her first novel for a decade. Appearing via screen link from their home countries will be Helen Garner from Australia, and Jonathan Franzen, AM Homes and Jennifer Egan from the USA.

Artistic boundaries will be crossed in events featuring world-famous musicians including Martha Wainwright, Jarvis Cocker, Vashti Bunyan, and Deacon Blue’s Ricky Ross, who share stories of their journeys through the world of music; while writer Sinead Gleeson discusses This Woman’s Work – the anthology she coedited about women and music – with contributor Ottessa Moshfegh. And screenwriter Abi Morgan and actor Alan Cumming discuss their luminous memoirs about their fascinating lives.

Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, said, “We’ve learned a great deal in the last two years, so that alongside the return of our full-scale in-person festival we can also offer the accessibility and international reach of live-streamed events. The world has changed immeasurably since 2019: we’re learning to live with the effects of the pandemic and war in Europe – but we’re also beginning to imagine what a better future should look like. Exploring these issues in inspiring conversations with scientists, historians, poets and novelists is exactly where the Book Festival comes into its own. I’m thrilled that thanks to Baillie Gifford, every young person coming to a Schools event gets a free ticket and a free book this year. With all online events and a selection of our in-person theatre tickets also available on a Pay What You Can basis, we’re doing everything we can to make the festival accessible to everyone.”

Questions around the role of Europe and the impact of war remain front of mind. Chernobyl expert and bestselling Ukrainian historian Serhii Plokhy will discuss Ukraine’s position at the crossroads of Europe and Russia, while Gideon Rachman, Andrew Wilson and Lea Ypi come together to investigate the rise of authoritarian leaders. Historian Antony Beevor will talk about his new book exploring the dramatic story of Russia’s revolution and a savage civil war that continues to influence the modern era. In a story from closer to home, Norman Scott will share his own perspective on his affair with politician Jeremy Thorpe in the 1970s, and a subsequent failed assassination attempt. Meanwhile the festival will explore the relationship between money and power in the post-pandemic world and rising inequality in the UK, in events featuring leading economists Mariana Mazzucato and John Kay; historian Adam Tooze and journalist Oliver Bullough.

Poetry heavyweights, alongside up-and-coming talent, also feature this year with the likes of American poet Ada Limón, while P J Harvey will be in conversation with fellow poet and editor Don Paterson. We also welcome Edinburgh Makar Hannah Lavery, and Michael Pedersen with special guests Shirley Manson and Charlotte Church. And Lemn Sissay, Malika Booker, Kayo Chingonyi and Salena Godden will take the stage together to celebrate the work of Black British poets.

Black perspectives also take centre stage in non-fiction events at this year’s Festival. Howard W French presents a revised history of modern civilisation from the point of view of Africa and its people in conversation with Olivette Otele. Two writers best known for their fiction – Tsitsi Dangarembga from Zimbabwe and Esi Edugyan from Canada – join us to discuss their essays on race and representation. Lord Simon Woolley, founder and director of Operation Black Vote and the first Black man to lead an Oxbridge college, will talk about his own inspiring life story with Baroness Lola Young. From democracy to dictatorship, the translators and family members of imprisoned Egyptian writer and political activist Alaa Abd el-Fattah – including leading Egyptian novelist Ahdaf Soueif - will share his collection of writing and discuss the reality of living under dictatorship.

This August the Book Festival features a range of LGBTQIA+ voices. From the continuing fight for equality, recognition and belonging, to tender tales of love against the odds, these stories get to the heart of issues affecting the queer community across the world today. Participants include Imogen Binnie, Torrey Peters and Shola von Reinhold who join Harry Josephine Giles to talk about the evolution of trans literature, and award-winning poet and performer Joelle Taylor who inspires audiences to use personal experience and perspectives to create new forms of poetry.

In an unprecedented year for performance at the Book Festival, This is Memorial Device is a full theatre production in the Wee Red Bar, a new play based on David Keenan’s novel of the same name, and presented throughout the Festival. Graham Eatough’s adaptation is the latest development in a long-term partnership between the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh and the Book Festival.

Performance events also include a series entitled Scotland Through Time – supported through the Scottish Government’s Festivals Expo Fund – looking at Scotland’s past, present and future through new books. Using a fusion of sign language, image and performance, Sarah Smith presents Hear No Evil. Telling the story of Jean Campbell, a Deaf woman who in 1817 in Glasgow was accused of murder when her child drowned in the Clyde, the performance explores what was a turning point in rights for Deaf people in Scotland, and is created in partnership with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s BA course in Performance in British Sign Language and English. Next up is Homelands, the new memoir by Chitra Ramaswamy, brought to life using a mixture of images, sound and performance. Telling the story of the author’s friendship with Henry Wuga, who fled Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport in 1939, it interweaves their life stories through the lenses of immigration, community and the desire for connection. Moving into a speculative future, Deep Wheel Orcadia is a fusion of music, image and performance written in Orkney dialect and based on the verse novel by Harry Josephine Giles. It is accompanied by a chamber group playing music by BAFTA-winning composer Atzi Muramatsu, commissioned specially for the project.

International performances include the premiere of a major touring production of theatre, music and image, Discretion. Sixty years ago, Algeria won independence from French rule following a bloody eight-year war. Many fled to France to escape violence by both sides, including Faïza Guène’s parents. In a special commission supported by the British Council, the Book Festival is working with Guène to turn her book Discretion into a spectacular performance, directed by its English translator Sarah Ardizzone, with film and photography by Guène, music from Sylvie Paz and Hakim Hamadouche and acted by Lina Soualem.

And for those following the story of the unlawful mistreatment of the inhabitants of the Chagos Islands by the British Government, Philippe Sands is joined by RSC and Bridgerton actor Adjoa Andoh to present an illustrated performance of his book The Last Colony featuring readings accompanied with music by acclaimed French pianist Guillaume de Chassy.

Stories are part of Scotland's DNA and this year, with support from EventScotland as part of the Year of Stories 2022, the Book Festival will champion books by globally-acclaimed Scottish authors. Ali Smith returns to discuss her latest work, Companion Piece. Richard Holloway, who has spoken at every Festival for the last 23 years, returns for an on-stage discussion with his friend, the artist Alison Watt. The newly-knighted Ian Rankin returns to the Festival for a conversation with Sam Baker about Murder Island, William McIlvanney and his upcoming Rebus novel, while poets Alycia Pirmohamed, Jay Gao and Andrés Ordorica present their anticipated collections. In keeping with a commitment to Scotland’s storytelling traditions, and as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022, the Festival launched Scotland’s Stories Now earlier this year. People of any age and ability were asked to submit a story responding to the prompt ‘On This Day’, and each day of the Festival at 5pm, in a series of free events supported by EventScotland, a different one of these stories will be read out live by its author.

In a new ECA venue, the Castle View Studio, the Festival will host daily creative workshops with experts in their fields. The line-up includes Close Reads – sessions dedicated to writers discussing favourite works – with hosts including acclaimed translator Daniel Hahn, American writer Joy Williams and feminist researcher and writer Lola Olufemi. There are writing workshops with influential poets Ada Limon and Omar Musa; an exploration of the poetry of Ocean Vuong; illustration with the book cover artists behind Zadie Smith and Sally Rooney’s books; and creative sessions with BHP Comics, all served up against the backdrop of one of the city’s most stunning views.

The past few years have been particularly tough for young people, so the Festival is excited to welcome firm favourites including bestselling author-illustrator Cressida Cowell, the creator of the Gruffalo Julia Donaldson, British poet Dean Atta, author Juno Dawson, comedy writer and former doctor Adam Kay of ‘This is Going to Hurt’ fame, and celebrated comedian and cartoonist Henry Packer. The Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme includes a range of hands-on workshops for children from toddlers to teens, and the multi award-winning Michael Morpurgo returns with Carnival of Animals, a musical event for the over fives. For the first time, the Book Festival will host the YA Book Prize Ceremony and authors Sinéad Burke, Rosie Jones, Jason Reynolds, Humza Arshad, Elle McNicoll, Ross Montgomery, and Aisha Bushby will also all present their own books and stories in a series of lively events. Walking tours return with TV producer, actress and youngest-ever Blue Peter presenter Yvette Fielding, alongside Alex Wheatle and Lisa Williams, and poetry writing workshops with Nikita Gill are set to be a firm favourite with teens and preteens. For young environmental enthusiasts, Mya-Rose Craig, the young legend of climate activism, returns to Edinburgh to talk about Birdgirl, her own story of how her love of these creatures has shaped her life. Throughout the Book Festival there are free activities every day for young people, including half-hour storytelling sessions every morning for children of any age in the Baillie Gifford Storytime Yurt.

Celebrating its fourth year at the Festival is the Book Festival’s flagship Citizen programme, which has brought communities in North Edinburgh, Musselburgh and Tollcross together through shared creativity. This August the Festival showcases some of the inspirational work created by the groups: participants will share their own stories in flagship events including the Festival’s much-loved community meal, Stories and Scran, presented in partnership with the Scran Academy, and featuring local people from North Edinburgh, Tollcross and Musselburgh. In a separate project, the Citizen Writers’ Group, led by author Eleanor Thom, presents One Day Ticket - a brand new play that will take the audience on a journey through the memories of Edinburgh in a script-in-hand performance by seven actors. And young people from St Thomas of Aquin’s RC High School have worked with poet Ryan van Winkle to create an extraordinary interactive exhibition, Planet Citizen. Citizen is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and through the PlaCE Programme (funded by the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council, and the Edinburgh Festivals, supported and administered by Creative Scotland).

Alan Bett, Head of Literature and Publishing at Creative Scotland said, “This fantastic 2022 programme once again brings the literary world to Edinburgh, whether in person or online. It allows readers and audiences in Scotland to engage with important contemporary themes through the work of the world’s best writers. As part of this, Scottish communities, writers and books take their place through innovative programming. This includes Scotland Through Time, using sign language, image and performance to look at Scotland’s past, present and future through new books such as Harry Josephine Giles’s innovative Orcadian Sci-fi, Deep Wheel Orcadia and Chitra Ramaswamy’s important new blending of biography and memoir, Homelands.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, added, “We are delighted to be supporting the Edinburgh International Book Festival present Scotland's Stories Now as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022. Scotland is the perfect stage for cultural events and as well as globally-acclaimed Scottish authors featuring as part of the Themed Year programme strand, we are delighted the festival will be showcasing the new stories that have been submitted by people across Scotland's communities."

The Edinburgh International Book Festival’s public programme runs from Saturday 13th – Monday 29th August 2022. Audiences can enjoy live events in person, or online from home, and relax and chat with fellow audience members at the Book Festival Village at the University of Edinburgh’s College of Art on Lauriston Place – entry to the village is free but events are ticketed. Find out more and book events at

Powered by Blogger.