Sponsors Support New Stories at the 2019 Edinburgh International Book Festival

In August 2019 the Edinburgh International Book Festival looks for new stories to help make sense of a rapidly changing world.  In a new collaboration with The New York Times, stories unveiled across the diverse and wide-ranging programme of talks, debates, workshops and readings will be amplified from the heart of Edinburgh to a worldwide audience.  This year’s ambitious programme, which welcomes 900 authors from over 60 countries in the most international line-up to date, 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 of this scale takes scores of people and many millions of pounds of investment. As a charitable organisation we exist to improve public discourse and to bring great writers together with the most diverse audiences possible. We couldn't do it without the very special levels of support we receive from sponsors and funders. Their input means we can keep ticket prices down and rely much less on public funds for what we do.'

Lead Sponsors Baillie Gifford have increased their support for the Book Festival, and in particular for younger visitors, through a new three-year partnership with the Festival’s Children’s and Schools Programme and associated venues.  Their vital and ongoing support, now in its sixth year, enables the Festival to challenge younger readers with innovative and exciting programming and in 2019 will include a new interactive children’s area.

Sam Pattman, Sponsorship Manager at Baillie Gifford, said, “Baillie Gifford have been supporters of the Edinburgh International Book Festival for many years and we have seen it develop and evolve into the world class literary event that it is today.  The Festival constantly strives to question and to push boundaries, allowing audiences to hear from a wide range of authors, musicians, comedians, politicians and many more.  We are pleased to be continuing our support and look forward to another summer of great conversation and debate.”

In a new collaboration for 2019, The New York Times have worked with the Book Festival to programme a series of panel discussions.  Journalists from The New York Times lead events on the future of the planet, privacy in the digital age, gender rights and the role of China with the likes of world-renowned Australian author Tim Winton, American feminist campaigner Naomi Wolf and Yuan Yang, co-Founder of Rethinking Economics.  The New York Times Main Theatre in Charlotte Square Gardens hosts events with leading international and home-grown talent, including Guest Selector and Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson, Ali Smith with Kamila Shamsie, Australian Markus Zusak and crime writer Ann Cleeves.

Of the collaboration, Stephen Dunbar-Johnson, President International, of The New York Times Company, said: “The New York Times is delighted to become a Major Sponsor of the 2019 Edinburgh International Book Festival. As the largest Festival of its kind in the world, it brings together a very significant audience of intellectually curious book lovers with authors to meet and exchange thoughts and opinions on some of the world’s most pressing issues. We are excited to showcase the relevance and international depth and breadth of our journalism to this audience.  This year we will be working closely with the Festival organisers to curate thought-provoking discussions with authors and New York Times journalists across subjects such as race, data privacy, gender, the environment, the rise of China... and of course books.”

This year the Book Festival is not only finding stories from far flung corners of the globe, 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), is bringing together people in communities across the city, in Muirhouse, Liberton and Wester Hailes, to interrogate the word ‘citizen’. A series of events in the Festival will allow audiences to share in the stories from these communities.  Players of People’s Postcode Lottery are also supporting the Festival’s continuing advances in accessibility with more BSL interpreted and captioned events, a Changing Places accessible toilet and a new ramp providing easy access to Charlotte Square Gardens from street level.

As a new sponsor of the arts, Johnston Carmichael’s support of events featuring Sue Perkins and Mariella Frostrup has been match-funded by Arts & Business Scotland through the Culture & Business Fund.   The Centre for Open Learning is also a new Major Sponsor supporting geneticist Giles Yeo who discusses the brain’s relationship to food.  WWF comes to the Book Festival for the first time, collaborating in a series of conversations about the climate with former Irish President Mary Robinson, sustainability expert Mike Berners-Lee, marine biologist Alex Rogers and Australian novelist Tim Winton among others.

In the centenary year of the James Tait Black Memorial Prizes, the Book Festival continues to collaborate with the University of Edinburgh creating a third Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) called How to Read a Novel, which uses the 2019 James Tait Black Fiction Prize shortlist to illustrate lessons. As well as events with some of the shortlisted authors including Will Eaves, Jessie Greengrass and Olivia Laing, the winners of the 100th James Tait Black Prizes will be announced in a special event on Saturday 17 August. The University of Edinburgh also returns as a Major Sponsor supporting Allan Little’s Big Interview with Elif Shafak; Fatima Bhutto and Regina Porter in conversation with DeRay Mckesson and food campaigner Jack Monroe.

Authors in conversation in the OU 50th Anniversary Series include Val McDermid, Danny Dorling, Geetha Marcus and Joelle Taylor discussing homelessness; Lisa Appignanesi and Catherine Simpson who share their stories of grief and Gordon Brown speaking with John Sexton on the future of tertiary education. Other events in the series feature BBC China Editor Carrie Gracie, the poet and actor Benjamin Zephaniah and a Writing Masterclass with Daniel Shand.

The Royal Bank of Scotland is supporting economist Branko Milanovic in conversation with Gordon Brown; Salman Rushdie who launches his new novel at the Festival, and Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, who shares stories of inspirational women.  BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner will deliver the Frederick Hood Memorial Lecture, supported by Walter Scott and Partners and the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust sponsors ten events across the programme including conversations with Rose George, Robin Stevens, James Buchan and Caroline Criado Perez. The Hawthornden Literary Retreat is supporting six events across the adult programme, including conversations with John Lanchester, Deborah Levy and Jeanette Winterson.

Dickson Minto is sponsoring Gin Tasting and True Crime with Paul French and Susannah Stapleton; Eddie Izzard who is reading from Dickens’ Great Expectations and Julia Donaldson and her illustrator Catherine Rayner in the Children’s Programme.  Edinburgh Academy is supporting events with Festival-favourite Alexander McCall Smith and former editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger.  Tangent Graphic is sponsoring a conversation on Scottish design with the Director of V&A Dundee Philip Long and Joanna Norman, curator of the museum's Scottish Design Galleries.

2019 sees the third year of association with Edinburgh Gin, who will be supporting Unbound with Edinburgh Gin, the free, drop-in live-literature events taking place every evening of the Festival.  Edinburgh Gin will also be the named sponsor of the Signing Tent in Charlotte Square Gardens where audiences can enjoy a drink, coffee and cake and meet their heroes, as well as a pop-up bar in the Gardens.  

Running from Saturday 10 to Monday 26 August 2019 the Edinburgh International Book Festival receives funding from Creative Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council.  Full details of the programme can be found at www.edbookfest.co.uk.

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