Access at Edinburgh International Book Festival 2019

Access at Edinburgh International Book Festival 2019

At Edinburgh International Book Festival we are always working to make the Festival more accessible for everyone. The support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery and House of Hearing has helped us confirm a range of plans to make it easier for people with a variety of access needs to enjoy visiting the Festival this summer.

We are doubling the number of captioned and BSL interpreted events. Our scheduled BSL events currently include Ian Rankin, Ruth Davidson and Francesca Simon, however BSL interpretation can be requested (before 26 July) for any event in the programme, so more are being added every day. Keep an eye on the website for updates.

In addition, fourteen events across the adult programme including Sofie Hagen, Benjamin Zephaniah and Victoria Hislop, and four in the children’s programme including Clare Balding and Elmer’s Big Birthday with David McKee, will be captioned and three will be both BSL interpreted and captioned – Julian Clary & David Roberts, Mark Haddon and Sue Perkins. There are infrared hearing systems in almost all theatres and visitors can borrow headsets for free.

We’re improving wheelchair accessibility around the Book Festival village, with new innovations for 2019 including a wheelchair ramp from street level to provide easy access to Charlotte Square Gardens. Two new members of the Book Festival team will be based at the Information Desk in the Entrance Tent to assist any visitors with additional needs. A Changing Places accessible toilet will be available in Charlotte Square Gardens alongside disabled toilets in both the Gardens and on George Street and additional baby changing facilities have been provided in close proximity to the new interactive children’s area.

Bi-lingual events for younger readers in Gaelic/English and Polish/English have been added to the programme for the first time.There are several events tailored specifically for children and adults with learning disabilities including a free and drop-in Sensory Storytelling Spectacular in the Baillie Gifford Story Box, and an interactive session with Mel Darbon whose wonderful book Rosie Loves Jack is told from the perspective of a girl with Downs Syndrome. Plus, an additional event in our schools programme with Philip Ardagh and Elissa Elwick has been specially designed for pupils with severe learning disabilities including PMLD, featuring lots of sensory elements.

Twenty events across the 2019 programme have been designated as Pay What You Can, a pricing structure designed to help make the Book Festival accessible for those with limited means. While most tickets are priced at £12, for Pay What You Can events you can choose to pay an amount anywhere between £0 and £25. Those who elect to pay more for their tickets are generously supporting those who most need it.

Other innovations for 2019 include a new online video giving guidance on how to visit the Book Festival for those who may be nervous about coming for the first time, an Easy Read Guide, noise-reducing ear defenders and Additional Needs badges for those with additional or hidden needs to make staff aware in a discreet manner. Visit the access page for further information.

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