Sponsors Help Edinburgh International Book Festival Keep the Conversation Going

In August 2020 the Edinburgh International Book Festival asks authors and audiences to Keep the Conversation Going across the 17-day Festival, which has moved online for the first time in its history.  This year’s ambitious programme of over 140 free online events brings together 200 authors from over 30 countries and is only made possible thanks to the generosity of all the Festival’s sponsors and funders.

Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, said “To stage a festival this year has been a hugely ambitious challenge. As a charitable organisation we exist to improve public discourse and to bring great writers together with the most diverse audiences possible. This year, with no income from ticket sales, we simply couldn't do it without the very special levels of support we receive from sponsors and funders.”

Lead Sponsors Baillie Gifford continue their support for the Book Festival, and in particular for younger audiences, in the second year of their three-year partnership with the Festival’s Children’s Programme.  Their vital and ongoing support, now in its seventh year, enables the Festival to challenge younger readers with innovative and exciting programming and in 2020 all online children’s events will take place in the online Baillie Gifford Children’s Theatre.

Sam Pattman, Sponsorship Manager at Baillie Gifford said: “Baillie Gifford is delighted to be supporting the Edinburgh International Book Festival in its first ever online programme. We are particularly pleased to be supporting such a diverse range of events for children and young people as part of the Baillie Gifford Children's Programme.”

In the second year of a collaboration with The New York Times, the Book Festival presents events including the evolving place and rise of women in politics with In Her Words editor Francesca Donner.  In addition, audiences can enjoy an interactive session with The New York Times’s digital crossword editor Joel Fagliano, and a special edition of The New York Times Book Review featuring senior staff editor John Williams.  Finally, a discussion on capitalism and climate change in the era of Covid-19 chaired by international climate reporter Somini Sengupta.

The Book Festival continues to find stories from around the world, but also from much closer to home.  The Festival’s Citizen project, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and through the PLACE Programme (funded by the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council, and the Edinburgh Festivals, and supported and administered by Creative Scotland),  has been hearing from residents of the City’s North and Musselburgh areas.  Citizen is represented with a series of events including Healing the Digital Divide looking at the inequality of online access and Power to the People exploring how the Covid Pandemic has affected communities across the UK.  The Stories and Scran event, which includes a free meal provided by the Scran Academy (this can be ordered in advance and delivered to houses within the EH postcode) is co-supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery and The Open University in Scotland.

The Open University in Scotland continue their support of the online festival with four events featuring 2019 Booker Winner Bernardine Evaristo in conversation with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Val McDermid and Jo Sharp on their collaborative Imagine a Country, Lola Olufemi and Minna Salami on empowerment, inclusion and activism, and Ali Smith who celebrates the launch of Summer, the final in her quartet of seasonal, and topical, novels with a one-off exclusive showing of Festival, a short film by Sarah Wood.    

Thanks to support from the Booker Prize Foundation, The Book Festival is presenting conversations with all six of the 2020 International Booker Prize nominated authors and their translators and features an exclusive interview with the newly announced winner on 26 August. Five authors from the 2020 Booker Prize longlist are also speaking at the Festival.

The Edwin Morgan Trust is supporting the biennial Edwin Morgan Poetry Prize event in the centenary year of his birth and the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction supports the Hallie Rubenhold event.  Hallie discusses a new essay, The Problem with Great Men, commissioned by the Edinburgh International Book Festival as a follow-up to her prize-winning The Five, with support from Baillie Gifford and the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction. The winners of the James Tait Black Prizes, awarded annually by The University of Edinburgh, are announced in an online event exploring the shortlisted titles and featuring all shortlisted authors.   The University of Edinburgh are also sponsoring three events featuring Arundhati Roy, Brit Bennett and Maggie O’Farrell.  

Authors speaking across the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust series include Rutger Bregman, Angela Saini, Christina Figueres and Executive Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans in conversation with former PM Gordon Brown.  The Frederick Hood Memorial Lecture, supported by Walter Scott & Partners Ltd, will this year be delivered by Samantha Power, former US Ambassador to the UN and Special Advisor to Barack Obama. The Hawthornden Literary Retreat are supporting six events featuring authors including Sebastian Barry, Anne Enright and double Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel.

Royal Bank of Scotland sponsors three events including Alexander McCall Smith in conversation with Ruth Davidson, former leader of the Scottish Conservatives, James Naughtie who discusses his compelling memoir On the Road through the prism of the politics of the USA over the last 40 years, and John Freeman’s examination of climate change with his new anthology Tales of Two Planets.

Other partners who continue to be generously supportive in this extraordinary year include The Institute of Directors and Cazenove Capital together with Media Partners FoSho, Glocast, The List and The Skinny and Vision Events who are helping deliver this first online Book Festival.

Running from Saturday 15 to Monday 31 August 2020 the Edinburgh International Book Festival receives funding from the Scottish Government, Creative Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council.  Full details of the programme can be found at www.edbookfest.co.uk.

More articles