Revealed: Line-up unveiled for 2019 Edinburgh International Book Festival

Festival director Nick Barley launched the 2019 programme today.
Festival director Nick Barley launched the 2019 programme today.
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Scottish Olympic idols Katherine Grainger and Chris Hoy, rugby hero Doddie Weir, broadcasters Neil Oliver and Sheena McDonald and composer James MacMillan will appear alongside big-name novelists Salman Rushdie, Kate Atkinson, Joanne Harris, Mark Haddon, David Nicholls and Roddy Doyle at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this summer.

Comedians Harry Hill, Sue Perkins and Eddie Izzard, former Blue Peter presenters Konnie Huq and Janet Ellis, singers Tracey Thorn and Karine Polwart, and the military historian and journalist Max Hastings are set to be among the main draws.

The biggest ever international line-up of authors, drawn from a record 65 countries, has been invited to the event, tickets for which go on sale on 25 June.

Key themes include the impact of the technology revolution and the domination of social media, the climate crisis, race and identity, and the gender pay gap in Britain. The World on a Plate food strand will feature chefs Prue Leith and Gary Maclean.

Special events will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Scottish Parliament, the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Scottish poet and songwriter Hamish Henderson, the centenary of the Iolaire disaster off the coast of the Isle of Lewis.

Politicians due to appear include First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who will be in conversation with the Indian author Arundhati Roy, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who will be interviewing the economist Brank Milanovic and the lawyer and academic John Sexton, and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who will share a stage with rowing star Grainger and discuss the politician's new book on inspirational women.

Former Rangers footballer Mark Walters, the club's first high-profile black player, and Edinburgh-born model Eunice Olumide will be among those discussing issues of race and identity at the festival.

Rushdie will be launching his brand new novel Quichotte, which is billed as “a dazzling Don Quixote for the modern age,” at the event in a world exclusive for the festival.

Australian writers Markus Zusak and Thomas Keneally, French authors Annie Ernaux and Mathias Ednard, and Indonesian star Geonawan Mohamad will be among the biggest international stars appearing.

Home-grown book festival favourites Val McDermid, Ian Rankin, Ali Smith, Chris Brookmyre and Alexander McCall Smith will all be back.

Festival director Nick Barley said: "The festival looks at seismic changes in 21st century society, including the impact of technology; the collapse of trust in who’s telling the truth; and the increasing dominance of certain languages at the expense of others."