Find out more about the amazing line-up at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival, including Outlander author Diana Gabaldon, Armando Iannucci and Noam Chomsky
All Together Now is our rallying call in 2022. This year’s vibrant programme builds on the hybrid format we’ve developed over the past two years, with live, in-person events, many of which are also available to stream or watch at a later date. Packed with events for adults and with a stunning programme for children and young people, this year’s Book Festival celebrates the imagination, ideas and issues at the heart of books and stories, offering new perspectives on the world around us.
We return to Edinburgh College of Art but with a new site layout to accommodate more events and bigger audiences. You’ll find more than 600 events in this year’s programme featuring over 550 authors, performers, musicians and thinkers from 50 countries.
The big outdoor screen returns for free screenings of selected events, and a range of new theatres and creative workshop spaces host daily events for adults and children in the bustling Book Festival Village. There’s also the Baillie Gifford Storytime Yurt, dedicated to children’s events and activities, the iconic Wee Red Bar, a great space for performances and writers events, and our biggest new venue, Central Hall, located just off Lothian Road, is a five-minute walk away. Like last year, we have hybrid events in Central Hall, the Baillie Gifford Sculpture Court and Baillie Gifford West Court theatres, with live audiences as well as multiple cameras.
Amongst the hundreds of authors taking part this year are Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa, Vietnamese American poet Ocean Vuong, Outlander writer Diana Gabaldon, as well as Noam Chomsky, Jack Monroe, Alexander McCall Smith, Denise Mina, William Dalrymple and Armando Iannucci. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon joins us for two events, interviewing acclaimed novelist Louise Welsh about her new novel The Second Cut, and screen legend Brian Cox about a life on the Scottish stage and his role in television hit series Succession. For younger readers there are events with some of the world’s best known children’s authors including Jason Reynolds, Cressida Cowell, Julia Donaldson, Michael Morpurgo and doctor turned writer and comedian Adam Kay.
Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, said: “We’ve learned a great deal in the last two years, so that alongside the return of our full-scale in-person festival we can also offer the accessibility and international reach of live-streamed events. The world has changed immeasurably since 2019: we’re learning to live with the effects of the pandemic and war in Europe – but we’re also beginning to imagine what a better future should look like. Exploring these issues in inspiring conversations with scientists, historians, poets and novelists is exactly where the Book Festival comes into its own. I’m thrilled that thanks to Baillie Gifford, every young person coming to a Schools event gets a free ticket and a free book this year. With all online events and a selection of our in-person theatre tickets also available on a Pay What You Can basis, we’re doing everything we can to make the festival accessible to everyone.”
Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 winner Maggie O’Farrell launches her hotly-anticipated novel The Marriage Portrait. Also launching new books are some of the world’s best-loved thriller writers: Val McDermid follows up last year’s bestselling 1979 with 1989, the latest in her series chronicling modern Scotland, while Irvine Welsh talks for the first time about his new crime novel The Long Knives.
The most recent winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Abdulrazak Gurnah, talks about his novel Afterlives. Among other leading writers discussing their new books are Booker Prize winners Marlon James, Damon Galgut, Howard Jacobson and Julian Barnes. Douglas Stuart is back on home soil with Young Mungo, the follow up to his Booker-winning first novel Shuggie Bain. And the great Irish writer Anne Enright returns to reflect on finding influence and inspiration in Ireland. Two more Irish writers making a welcome return to the Book Festival are Colm Tóibín – the new Irish Laureate for Fiction who was recently awarded the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime of achievement – and Small Things Like These author Claire Keegan. Also, Monica Ali introduces her first novel for a decade. Appearing via screen link from their home countries are Helen Garner from Australia, and Jonathan Franzen, A M Homes and Jennifer Egan from the USA.
Artistic boundaries will be crossed in events featuring world-famous musicians including Martha Wainwright, Jarvis Cocker, Vashti Bunyan, and Deacon Blue’s Ricky Ross, who share stories of their journeys through the world of music; while writer Sinead Gleeson discusses This Woman’s Work – the anthology she coedited about women and music, whilst screenwriter Abi Morgan and actor Alan Cumming discuss their luminous memoirs about their fascinating lives.
Questions around the role of Europe and the impact of war remain front of mind. Chernobyl expert and bestselling Ukrainian historian Serhii Plokhy discusses Ukraine’s position at the crossroads of Europe and Russia, while Gideon Rachman, Andrew Wilson and Lea Ypi come together to investigate the rise of authoritarian leaders. Historian Antony Beevor talks about his new book exploring the dramatic story of Russia’s revolution that continues to influence the modern era. In a story from closer to home, Norman Scott shares his own perspective on his affair with politician Jeremy Thorpe in the 1970s, and a subsequent failed assassination attempt. Meanwhile we explore the relationship between money and power in the post-pandemic world and rising inequality in the UK, in events featuring leading economists Mariana Mazzucato and John Kay; historian Adam Tooze and journalist Oliver Bullough.
Poetry heavyweights, alongside up-and-coming talent, also feature this year with the likes of American poet Ada Limón, while P J Harvey will be in conversation with fellow poet and editor Don Paterson. We also welcome Edinburgh Makar Hannah Lavery, and Michael Pedersen with special guests Shirley Manson and Charlotte Church. And Lemn Sissay, Malika Booker, Kayo Chingonyi and Salena Godden will take the stage together to celebrate the work of Black British poets.
Black perspectives take centre stage in non-fiction events: Howard W French presents a revised history of modern civilisation from the point of view of Africa and its people in conversation with Olivette Otele. Tsitsi Dangarembga from Zimbabwe and Esi Edugyan from Canada join us to discuss their essays on race and representation, and Lord Simon Woolley, founder and director of Operation Black Vote and the first Black man to lead an Oxbridge college, talks about his own inspiring life story with Baroness Lola Young.
The Book Festival features a range of LGBTQIA+ voices. From the continuing fight for equality, recognition and belonging, to tender tales of love against the odds, these stories get to the heart of issues affecting the queer community. Participants include Imogen Binnie, Torrey Peters and Shola von Reinhold who join Harry Josephine Giles to talk about the evolution of trans literature, and award-winning poet and performer Joelle Taylor who inspires audiences to use personal experience and perspectives to create new forms of poetry.
It’s an unprecedented year for performance at the Book Festival. This is Memorial Device is a full theatre production of a new play based on David Keenan’s novel of the same name, and is presented throughout the Book Festival. Graham Eatough’s adaptation is the latest development in a long-term partnership between the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh and the Book Festival.
Performance events also include a series entitled Scotland Through Time – supported through the Scottish Government’s Festivals Expo Fund – looking at Scotland’s past, present and future through new books. Sarah Smith presents Hear No Evil; the new memoir by Chitra Ramaswamy, Homelands, is brought to life using a mixture of images, sound and performance; Deep Wheel Orcadia is a performance written in Orkney dialect and based on the verse novel by Harry Josephine Giles. International performances include the premiere of a major touring production of theatre, music and image, based on Faïza Guène’s book Discretion, directed by its English translator Sarah Ardizzone. And Philippe Sands is joined by RSC and Bridgerton actor Adjoa Andoh to present an illustrated performance of his book The Last Colony.
Stories are part of Scotland’s DNA and with support from EventScotland as part of the Year of Stories 2022, the Book Festival champions books by globally-acclaimed Scottish authors. Amongst the many highlights is Ali Smith with her latest work, Companion Piece; Richard Holloway, who has spoken at every Festival for the last 23 years, returns for an on-stage discussion with his friend, the artist Alison Watt, and the newly-knighted Ian Rankin returns for a conversation with Sam Baker about Murder Island, William McIlvanney and his upcoming Rebus novel.
We welcome firm favourites in the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme including bestselling author-illustrator Cressida Cowell, Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson, British poet Dean Atta, author Juno Dawson, comedy writer and former doctor Adam Kay, and celebrated comedian and cartoonist Henry Packer. Michael Morpurgo returns with Carnival of Animals, a musical event for the over fives and, for the first time, the Book Festival hosts the YA Book Prize Ceremony. Also appearing are authors Sinéad Burke, Rosie Jones, Jason Reynolds, Humza Arshad, Elle McNicoll, Ross Montgomery, and Aisha Bushby with their own books and stories in a series of lively events.
Our flagship Citizen programme, which has brought local communities in North Edinburgh, Musselburgh and Tollcross together through shared creativity, showcases some of the inspirational work created by the groups: participants share their own stories in events including at a community meal. In a separate project, the Citizen Writers’ Group, led by author Eleanor Thom, presents One Day Ticket – a brand new play that takes the audience on a journey through the memories of Edinburgh in a script-in-hand performance by seven actors. Citizen is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and through the PlaCE Programme.
This is just a small sample of the many joyful, inspirational and thought-provoking events in our programme this year. Browse the full line-up here on the website by date, author name, keyword, child’s age, BSL, captioned, or you can use our Theme and Category searches to find out about the different genres and strands that run through the programme and see what piques your interest. Tickets go on sale at 10am on Thursday 23 June.
The 2022 Edinburgh International Book Festival runs from Saturday 13 to Monday 29 August 2022. Audiences can enjoy live events in person, or online from home, and relax and chat with fellow audience members at our Festival Village at Edinburgh’s College of Art on Lauriston Place – entry to our Festival village is free.