Edinburgh Book Fest Programme Revealed

22nd Jun 2012


The programme for the 2012 Edinburgh Book Festival has just been unveiled, and the line-up looks very hot. From 11-27th August, over 800 writers, illustrators, performers and politicians will convene in Charlotte Square Gardens for another edition of the world’s largest book festival.

Festival director Nick Barley pronounced they have an ‘Ali-to-Zadie’ (Smith) range of events. Sounds enticing already, even before hearing the bits inbetween.

There are zombie stories, plenty of dystopian fiction, and grannies galore with Val McDermid‘s children’s book My Grannie is a Pirate and David WalliamsGansta Granny.  

Zadie Smith will be chatting about her brand new book, NW (her first novel since 2005’s On Beauty), based on a group of friends growing up in North London.

Poet Alice Oswald will be performing Memorial, her take on The Iliad. There’s also the magnificent Joyce Carol Oates who’ll be discussing the brand new Mudwoman.

There are a few exciting innovations at this year’s festival; free readings from one of the festival authors every day and new writing commissions from 50 authors all approaching the theme of ‘Elsewhere’.

Look out for some brand new stories to read or listen to from Amy Bloom, Julia Donaldson, Anne Fine and Jackie Kay (and 46 more!).

And on top of all that, the festival are marking the 50 year anniversary of the 1962 Edinburgh World Writer’s Conference, where the future of the book was discussed.

The context may have shifted but the participants will wrestle with the same issues and questions tackled at the first conference, and these issues are no less pressing this time round (hopefully no actual wrestling or tackling will result; they say the 1962 conference nearly led to fisticuffs).

The fortnight is bursting with fantastic events so tickets, which go on sale next Friday 29th June, will sell out fast. The best thing about a festival though, is that taking risks and going to see unknown writers who are unknown. More often than not, you’ll uncover some undiscovered gems, so make sure you report back afterwards!

Who are your picks for this this year’s festival?

Mekella Broomberg