Edinburgh International Book Festival

Welcome to the 2008 Edinburgh International Book Festival! This year, the festival is set to run for three weeks from the 9th to the 25th August and promises to be even bigger than last year. Find out how successful writers use their inspiration to compose prize winning novels, how they overcome ‘writer’s block’ and learn how you too, can write for a living! Readers of the world step forward, for one of the best literary events of the year!

I find it hard to believe, that the first Edinburgh Book Festival was held inside one little tent. Back then, the festival comprised a mere thirty events compared with today’s quota of seven hundred. Born in 1983, the Edinburgh International Book Festival became an annual event for the first time in 1997 and has grown in stature each year becoming one of the main events of the Edinburgh Festival.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival that stands before us today is the result of continued growth in relentless popularity. At the heart of the Book Festival is its lively book shop. Last year, within three weeks, it sold as many books as a medium sized bookshop would sell in a whole year. There is a Children’s programme that runs alongside the Main programme offering about seven hundred literary items in all. This event is unique in that it runs concurrently with the Edinburgh Fringe and International Festivals but, unlike its festival cousins, the Book Festival is situated mainly, in one location, Charlotte Square.

I am a bookworm (always have been and always will be, hopefully!) and I don’t mind who knows it! One of my favourite Edinburgh Festival experiences happened at Charlotte Square. I first spotted this white canopied affair, a collection of tents, while strolling along to the Dean Gallery. My initial thoughts were that this mass of glistening white blancmange looked a tad out of place in the middle of such grandiose surroundings. Hey, I reminded myself, it’s the Edinburgh Festival - anything can happen (and ‘anything’ often does happen!). Further investigation led me to drop my initial fear of a Martian landing when I realised that on the inside of this crazy vessel, I could purchase books to my heart’s content and meet tons of authors. I promptly bought myself a ticket to a writer’s workshop and enjoyed one of my most rewarding experiences of years of Festival-going.

Every year this brilliant Book Festival gets bigger with about six hundred authors attending in 2007 and many more scheduled for 2008. It is here that you can meet your favourite contemporary writers and discover the inspiration behind the plots of your favourite novels. Previous speakers have included Harold Pinter, Margaret Atwood, Alan Bennett and Ian Rankin. Events and activities on the Book Festival itinerary include talks, performances, panels and workshops.

This year’s programme of events will be available for downloading from the official Edinburgh International Book Festival website from the 12th June. Tickets can be purchased from a variety of places including Waterstone’s in Edinburgh’s George Street, up until the 10th August. Tickets can be obtained online, by post or by phone up till seven days from the event. Once the Book Festival opens its doors at Charlotte Square, tickets can be bought from the venue box office.