2011 Book Festival closes with world premiere performance

2011 Book Festival closes with world premiere performance

The 2011 Edinburgh International Book Festival came to a triumphant close last night with a world premiere performance of Alasdair Gray’s Fleck.

The performed reading featured a host of authors and actors including Will Self, Ian Rankin, Janice Galloway and Alasdair Gray himself. Playing to a sell out audience, it was a fitting end to a vibrant Festival. Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, said ‘This is the most ambitious event we have ever staged at the Book Festival, and we are delighted that it has been so well received by participants and audiences alike’.

This year’s programme has featured almost 800 participants from 40 countries and has seen authors and audiences explore a diverse range of issues from the Arab Spring and the London riots to the influence of social media and the futures of Europe, Cities and Faith.

Highlights have included exclusive pre-publication readings from Bettany Hughes, Fiona MacCarthy and A N Wilson, the Donald Dewar Memorial Lecture given by former Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini, the return of the popular Unbound series of late night literature and music in our Spiegeltent and the presentation of three major literary prizes at special awards ceremonies: the James Tait Black Awards; The Edwin Morgan International Poetry Competition and Creative Scotland’s Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book of the Year Award.

The Book Festival has also hosted a vibrant RBS Children’s programme featuring sell out events and record signing queues for Robert Muchamore, Darren Shan and Julia Donaldson, among others. The children’s programme concluded today with the RBS Schools Gala Day which saw over 12,000 primary school children visit Charlotte Square Gardens to see their favourite authors and enjoy the Book Festival atmosphere.

Speaking on the success of the Festival Andrew Coulton, the Book Festival’s Administrative Director, said ‘This year’s programme was bigger than ever and we are very proud that our Festival continues to draw such large audiences in a time of continuing economic uncertainty. Sales in our independent Festival bookshops were on a par with last year, an outstanding performance demonstrating that – to paraphrase Mark Twain – reports of the death of the book are greatly exaggerated. With around 190,000 visits during the Festival, even Scotland’s wettest August on record hasn’t managed to dampen spirits in Charlotte Square Gardens.'

Whilst the main Book Festival programme is now over, Book Festival activities will continue throughout the year. Through the Word Alliance there will be collaborative ventures including a performed reading of Alasdair Gray’s Fleck at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto later this year, and Unbound will feature in the programme at the Melbourne Writers Festival, thanks to the support of the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund.

We have also recently announced plans to publish a box set of the new writing commissioned by the Book Festival over the last year as part of the Elsewhere project, which was also supported by the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund.

The 2012 Edinburgh International Book Festival will run from 11 to 27 August 2012 and the programme will be announced in June. In the meantime audio and visual highlights from this year’s programme will be made available on the Book Festival’s website throughout the autumn.

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