Visiting the Festival

Three smiling young people

What happens behind the doors?

This is a big question – no two events are the same. Our usual event format features an author with a chairperson sitting on comfy chairs. There’s chat, sometimes divided opinions, but there’s always appreciation of each other. The conversation flows and before you know it, it could be your turn to join in with a question or two.

Usually, the author signs their book after the event, so you could meet them, or even see them wandering around the Book Festival.

Our less than usual events could feature a walk around the Old Town, hunting for the Gruffalo, enjoying food and drink, or anything in between and beyond.

Children’s events are a mixture in levels of activity: some are all singing and dancing, others sitting and listening; there are even some yoga events this year.

Bringing the Festival to you

We wish that everyone who wanted to join us in-person could, but we know it’s not that simple, which is why, where possible, we bring events to you wherever you are. Most of the events in our largest venues, T and McEwan Hall, will be livestreamed and available to watch both in-person and online.

Fixed and roving cameras capture and broadcast live footage of the stage and the audience. For a full list of livestreamed and on-demand events, visit

All livestreamed events have an online chatroom and author Q&A, with the chair choosing the questions from the in-person and online audience.

Remote event participants

Some authors take part remotely from wherever they are in the world. They will appear on a screen in the venue. Anyone appearing remotely will be highlighted in the programme.

On Site at the Festival: Make a day or night of it with us this summer. 

Spaces to eat, drink, and chill

No Festival is complete without food, drink, and space to kick back. There’s an indoor café on Lauriston Place, just off Middle Meadow Walk, with a choice of tasty treats.

You’ll also find independent pop-ups in The Courtyard. With green space all around, you’re also welcome to bring a picnic if you’d rather.

There are lots of nooks inside if the weather is typically Scottish, so you can explore, chill, chat, or discover your next unmissable event in the dry and warm.

Book Festival Bookshop

The on-site Festival Bookshop will be brought to you by Waterstones. It is open daily during the Book Festival and stocks titles by all our visiting authors plus an array of related contemporary literature and books from Scottish publishers.

Book signings

Most authors in our programme sign copies of their books immediately after their event. No need to book, simply turn up and join the queue. Details about where you can find our signing venue will be coming soon.

For Families – everything you need away from home (well, almost)

You’ll find places dotted throughout the site to leave a buggy*. There are toilets and baby changing, throughout the building across the levels, as well as drinking water taps, and plenty of space to keep you comfy when you visit.

*Buggies cannot be taken into the theatres, so please leave your buggy outside in some of our dedicated spaces, before entering the event. Please note: these are not staffed, and items are left at your own risk.

Picnics and packed lunches

You’re welcome to bring your own food and soft drinks. There’s plenty of space to find a spot to enjoy. But can we have a crisp?

Drinking water taps

Drinking water taps are plentiful inside the Edinburgh Futures Institute, so you can fill up as you go.

Find Us at Edinburgh Futures Institute