2012 turns out to be an exceptional year for the Edinburgh International Book Festival

2012 turns out to be an exceptional year for the Edinburgh International Book Festival

The Edinburgh International Book Festival ended tonight with the inaugural Fred Hood Memorial Lecture, delivered by journalist and broadcaster John McCarthy, bringing to a close what has turned out to be an exceptional year for the Book Festival.

Over the past 17 days the Book Festival has welcomed six of the authors nominated for the 2012 Man Booker Prize, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown who delivered the Donald Dewar Memorial Lecture, Alistair Darling who spoke about his experiences of the financial crisis and Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz who discussed the implications of unequal distribution of wealth.

Brand new novels were launched by Ian McEwan, Zadie Smith, Pat Barker, Howard Jacobson, actor John Gordon Sinclair and comedian Russell Kane.

In the popular RBS Children’s Programme, Val McDermid dressed as a pirate, Julia Donaldson launched her new book and David Walliams read from Gangsta Granny to a packed house.

Audiences at the Book Festival’s series of late night, free Unbound events were rocked by music legend Nile Rodgers, entertained by the Electronic Voice Phenomena, and inspired by Mark Haddon, Kirstin Innes, Christopher Brookmyre and authors from Ireland, Iceland and The Netherlands.

Herman Koch, Liza Klaussman, Jeet Thayil and Danny Wallace were amongst the 45 authors presenting their debut novels in the programme - all of them are eligible for the Anobii First Book Award, which is voted for by readers. The winner will be announced in October.

Among the highlights of this year’s Book Festival were the inaugural events of the 2012-2013 Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference, an ambitious programming partnership with the British Council. The Conference welcomed 50 writers from 25 countries to discuss the role of fiction in the world today. Over five days, audiences participated in impassioned debates on the future of the novel, a national literature, whether literature should be political, style vs content and censorship today. The Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference events will continue at book festivals in 16 countries around the world, starting with the International Literature Festival in Berlin next week, and returning to Edinburgh for a plenary session in August 2013.

Charlotte Square Gardens has been busier than ever this year, with around 225,000 people - the most in the Book Festival's history - passing through the gates to attend events, visit the bookshops and cafes, and relax in the sunshine. 2012 has also seen a 3% increase in ticket sales from 2011.

Book Festival Director Nick Barley said, ‘We are obviously delighted with the number of visitors that have come to Charlotte Square Gardens this August. We invited a stellar line up of authors from around the world, and our audiences have, as always, responded with interest and enthusiasm.

‘I think it’s important to look beyond the statistics and acknowledge the overall impact of the Book Festival, and indeed all the Festivals. Festivals are not all about the numbers, but about the events, the conversations, and to employ an overused word, the legacy.’

Tomorrow over 3,000 primary school children from across Scotland will visit the Book Festival for the RBS Schools Gala day to enjoy events, activities, workshops and readings from authors including Julia Donaldson, Tom Pow and Theresa Breslin.

The 2013 Edinburgh International Book Festival will take place from Saturday 10 to Monday 26 August and the programme will be announced in June. 

A selection of audio recordings of our 2012 events will be posted here in our media gallery over the coming weeks and are available free. If you didn’t manage to get tickets to some of our most popular events, the audio recordings are a great way to hear your favourite authors. The recordings will also be made available via iTunes (search for Edinburgh International Book Festival).

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