2019 Programme Launched: We Need New Stories

2019 Programme Launched: We Need New Stories

In an era of contradiction and division, we are inviting authors and audiences to find new stories that give meaning to the world. Stories bind human life together to make up our shared understanding of our place in the world.

The 2019 Edinburgh International Book Festival Programme, launched today, brings together writers from all over the world for the most international gathering in the Festival’s history to take part in conversations, debates, workshops and performances to champion and share their stories and ideas.

Join us for creative, joyful, interactive experiences with the world’s finest writers and thinkers. We're bringing over 900 authors, illustrators and performers to Edinburgh, who represent the best talent from Scotland and over 60 other countries, between 10–26 August. Whether you meet a hero you've always loved or find a new favourite, the Book Festival brings you everything that's exciting, inspiring and refreshing in stories, ideas and words today.

New voices at the Book Festival this year include award-winning Indian author, citizen and activist Arundhati Roy who makes her first appearance in Edinburgh in conversation with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Also making their long-awaited debuts are two leading Australian novelists Thomas Keneally and YA writer Markus Zusak; and fellow giant of Australian literature Tim Winton, who last appeared in 1993, returns to talk about his highly influential body of work in a conversation with daily books editor of the New York Times, John Williams. From Indonesia the world-renowned poet, essayist and playwright Goenawan Mohamad discusses his life and work and from France we’ve got two writers shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize: Annie Ernaux and Mathias Énard.

We’re hosting the worldwide book launch of a major new novel from Salman Rushdie along with the book launches of Tracy Chevalier, Ann Cleeves and Deborah Levy. Branko Milanovic is interviewed by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Eddie Izzard speaks about his audio recording of Dickens’ Great Expectations; and there is more great fiction from Kate Atkinson, David Nicholls, Joanne Harris, Mark Haddon and Roddy Doyle amongst many others.

Our expansive Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme is back with yet more world class entertainment for families. Don’t miss the chance to see authors like Julia Donaldson, Cressida Cowell and Malorie Blackman in person, plus Kwame Alexander, National Poetry Slam Champion Elizabeth Acevedo and Jason Reynolds, who bring their lyrical verse novels for young adults. We’ve also got daily free and interactive activities to keep young people of all ages entertained this August.

Lead sponsors Baillie Gifford have expanded their support of the children’s and education programmes resulting in a new interactive children’s area and, in a new collaboration, The New York Times is not only sponsoring our Main Theatre but also presents The New York Times Debates Series, panel discussions on climate, gender, the future of technology and China, pairing leading journalists with renowned authors from all over the world.

Our 2019 programme themes include placing female voices centre stage with Telling Her Story, examining the environmental crisis in The Fragile Planet, serving up literary deliciousness in The World on a Plate and hearing from often overlooked Indigenous Voices from a broad range of countries – each strand features an array of inspiring author events and you can browse the full range of themes here.

A key voice in the US protest movement Black Lives Matter, DeRay Mckesson makes his first appearance in Edinburgh as one of our 2019 Guest Selectors with a strand called Power to the People. Mckesson talks to Casey Gerald, Ibram X Kendi Fatima Bhutto and Regina Porter about issues including race politics, class and sexuality. Val McDermid tackles Home/Less in her Guest Selector strand, speaking to Ali Smith, Karine Polwart and Palestinian author Nayrouz Qarmout among others about individuals and families who've faced the decision to leave their homelands and to examine the meaning of ‘home’. This year’s Illustrator-in-Residence Eilidh Muldoon is a hugely popular Edinburgh artist who will lead a series of events including a cocktail and colouring event for adults.

The ever-popular Babble On, Spoken Word strand is back to bring you performances from fresh new voices and world-renowned poets – including the newly appointed Poet Laureate Simon Armitage. Unbound with Edinburgh Gin nights will let you see authors perform poetry, music, comedy and more in a relaxed cabaret setting, to which you can drop in for free every night: look out for our announcement of the line-up here on the website in July and in The Skinny magazine.

“Stories are devices that help humans make sense of a complex world,” Book Festival Director Nick Barley said. “Whether we’re listening to scientists and politicians or mythmakers and poets, to understand the world around us We Need New Stories.

Our audiences tell us that the conversations taking place on stage at the Book Festival have fired them up, got them thinking in new ways, kick-started new interests and even inspired life changes. We hope you’ll join us, no matter who you are or how far you’ve travelled, in this incredible community of ideas."

Entrance to the Gardens is FREE and the Gardens, cafés, our independent Festival bookshops and all venues are fully accessible. Browse the full programme here on the website. You can search by author, child’s age, theme or genre category or keyword.

Tickets are on sale from 8.30am on Tuesday 25 June 2019: see the How to Book page for full booking information.

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