Big names sign up for Edinburgh book festival

THE first page has been turned on this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival, with a host of star names on the contents list.

Former prime minister Gordon Brown is one of several big hitters due to attend when Charlotte Square Gardens is transformed into a hive of activity in August, with Ian McEwan and Will Self also sure to attract readers.

Organisers have vowed that this year’s festival will offer a platform for new thinking about world affairs, with writers from across the planet taking part.

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The gardens will be opened up to Nobel laureates, Booker and Pulitzer Prize winners, poets laureate and a line-up of the world’s leading writers, poets, thinkers and commentators.

The festival, which has run since 1983, will also see the presentation of the Anobii First Book Award, the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference and a third year of the late-night Unbound events.

Festival director Nick Barley said: “In 2012, the Year of Creative Scotland, we are delighted to showcase some of the best Scottish writing, from well-established authors to debut novelists, as well as welcoming some extraordinary literary talent from around the world to help us rethink aspects of society that affect our everyday lives.

“This is a year for taking stock about what matters to us in a time of uncertainty, doubt and data overload.

“It is also, of course, a time when Scotland is preparing to make a big decision about its own future.

“All this and more will be discussed, deliberated, considered, broadcast live online via the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference, and disseminated around the world – we look forward to a lively, informed and informative debate.”

A packed programme will see more than 800 authors appearing in 750 events and representing 44 different countries, from Australia to Russia and Argentina to Nigeria.

On Beauty author Zadie Smith will showcase her latest novel while Falkirk-born novelist, playwright and performer Alan Bissett will also attend.

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Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said: “The Edinburgh International Book Festival is the world’s biggest celebration of the written word – showcasing Scotland on an international stage and promoting our exceptional cultural, creative and literary talent to authors and readers from around the world.

“The Scottish Government is firmly committed to increasing learning through the arts and culture, and building on our global reputation for creative excellence.”

Exciting events are once again promised for all ages, with the RBS Children’s Programme delighting young readers with appearances from some of today’s best-loved children’s authors.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival runs from Saturday, August 11 to Monday, August 27.

Tickets go on sale on Friday, June 29 at 8.30am online at