Edinburgh Festivals

Today the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival, and the International Book Festival all meet in Scotland’s capital.
The Guardian has full coverage of the festivals on their website — check it out here!


Zadie Smith will be giving the first glimpse of her long-awaited new novel NW, poet Alice Oswald will put on a rare performance of Memorial, her reimagining of the Iliad, and authors from Irvine Welsh to Joyce Carol Oates are debating the key issues facing modern literature at this summer’s Edinburgh international book festival.

Smith, who has not published a novel since On Beauty (2005), will give a sneak preview of NW, about four people who grew up on a council estate in north-west London. “It’s a fantastic year for British fiction,” said festival director Nick Barley.

Smith will also be discussing the state of Britain today on a panel with Alistair Darling and Paddy Ashdown, while Ian McEwan will be interviewing Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond about his life beyond politics. Debate will likewise rage at the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference, a major programming partnership between the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the British Council. The event will mirror the notorious 1962 Edinburgh writers’ conference, where authors including Norman Mailer and William S Burroughs thrashed out the relevance of literature.

From talks by former prime minister Gordon Brown and former hostage John McCarthy to the reminiscences of Seamus Heaney and Andrew O’Hagan about their journeys together through Scotland, Wales and Ireland, 800 authors from 44 countries will appear in 750 events at this year’s festival. A lineup featuring eight Booker winners, including Hilary Mantel, John Banville and Anne Enright, will also incorporate Nobel laureates, politicians and poets.

As reported in The Guardian,”Last year, our theme was revolution,” said Barley. “Now the question everyone is asking is: ‘Where did revolution take us?’ My feeling is that, following a time of revolution, we need to take stock. So the theme of the debates is ‘rethinking’ – looking again at ideas we thought were clear in our minds, like democracy. 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.”


The Edinburgh International Festival is from the 9th August-2nd September — see full programme here.
The Book Festival is running from 11th-27th August — see the full programme online here.
The Fringe Festival is from the 3rd-27th August — see their programme here.

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