• RedHanded Scotland

Edinburgh International Book Festival is here and things look a little different

Updated: Aug 21, 2020

Welcome to the 2020 Online Edinburgh International Book Festival and the first of our daily bulletins.   Things look a little different this year – no bookshops in Charlotte Square Gardens, no audiences gathering inside our tented theatres, no authors milling around the Author’s Yurt – and no physical Press Office.


However, starting tomorrow morning the Edinburgh International Book Festival will have an exciting and vibrant online programme of over 140 events brought to you by 200 participants from around the world.  We'll be there to online following all the events which are available to watch free of charge, with no restriction on numbers, through their website.  Events are a mix of live and pre-recorded and most will stay on the website for on demand viewing if you miss the start time. 




Programme for Day One: Saturday 15 August


9:30am DrawAlong with Axel Scheffler – Facebook Live @edbookfest


10:00am Gruffalos, Conjurors and Teeny Weeny Genies with Julia Donaldson, Axel Scheffler and Nick Sharratt

In the first of two bumper Book Festival shows from the award-winning author of The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson treats you to some lively storytelling from her magical book, The Teeny Weeny Genie, followed by a guest appearances from bestselling illustrator Nick Sharratt, who shows you how to draw the Conjurer Cow at home, and Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler, 

This event is part of the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme.


To watch this event – click here


This event will be accompanied by a video resource created by storyteller Ailie Finlay showing parents and carers how to create a sensory story so that those with learning disabilities can join in.  


11:30am  Poems Aloud with Joseph Coelho 

Join children's author and performance poet Joseph Coelho on an adventure into the wonderful world of poetry. Joseph’s book Poems Aloud features rhymes specifically written to be read aloud: tongue twisters, poems for shouting across the room and poems for whispering in a friend’s ear.


This event is part of the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme.


To watch this event – click here





2:30pm  The Edwin Morgan Poetry Award 2.30pm

Edwin Morgan was a man who cared deeply about the future. The Edwin Morgan Poetry Award is given every second year to a poet aged 30 and under. Join us for illuminating readings by the 2020 shortlisted poets Colin Bramwell, Michael Grieve, Kirsten Kerr, David Linklater, Paul Malgrati, Alycia Pirmohamed and Stewart Sanderson and stay tuned for the winner’s announcement.


To watch this event  - click here


4.00pm  Olivette Otele & Angela Saini: Pseudoscience and Slavery

Journalist Angela Saini and historian Professor Olivette Otele come together for a conversation with writer and broadcaster Anita Sethi, to reveal the ways in which the history of racism and an understanding of the legacies of slavery have converged with contemporary politics and trends in scientific racism to create a moment of reckoning. An urgent insight into how politics and memory in post-colonial Europe have formed a narrative of race and power that is only now being unpicked.


This event is part of our Ideas for Our Times: The Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Event Series.


To watch this event – click here


5:30pm  Val McDermid: Portrait of a Criminal

Inspired in part by the wildly popular Portrait Artist of the Year competition, the ever-inventive author teases the mysterious connection between Still Life and the Sky Arts series in a conversation with one of its widely-admired presenters, Dame Joan Bakewell.

To watch this event – click here





7:00pm  Maggie O'Farrell: Giving New Life to Shakespeare’s Son

In a scorchingly emotional book, O’Farrell brings us into the 16th century world of Shakespeare’s family living in Stratford. Surely Maggie O’Farrell’s most accomplished novel to date, Hamnet centres around the emotional life of a deeply intuitive woman, charting the terrain of her grief at the loss of a child.


This event is presented in association with the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh


To watch this event  click here


8:30pm  Opening Night: Strange Times

Our writers write and rewrite our world for us — illuminating, dissecting and unlocking — as we make our way in the dark.  Join us as an eclectic line-up of our finest wordsmiths — Bumi Thomas, Sharmaine Lovegrove, Roger Robinson, Karine Polwart and Adania Shibli — turn their pens to the present moment, in an unmissable night of stories, song, reflections and confessions to pay tribute to these Strange Times.


To watch this event – click here


Day Two - Sunday 16th August 2020


9:30am  Drawalong with Nadine Kaadan (10 mins.  Facebook @edbookfest)


10:00am Picturing Tomorrow with Nadine Kaadan

Watch as award-winning author and illustrator Nadine Kaadan draws and reads from her beautiful new picture book Tomorrow. Plus, in this event, you'll discover how the story is based on Nadine’s own experiences of the war in Syria and how books have the power to help children in frightening situations find courage and hope.



This event is part of the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme


To watch this event – click here


11:00am Llama Drama with Allen Fatimaharan & Annabelle Sami

Listen as writer Annabelle Sami reads an extract from her side-splitting novel Llama Out Loud! while illustrator Allen Fatimaharan live-draws alongside her. Then get involved as they set you writing and illustrating challenges.


This event is part of the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme


To watch this event – click here


1:00pm  Shifting Sands, Five Years On: What Future for the Middle East?

In this unmissable event, Raja Shehadeh and Penny Johnson bring together several of the contributors to Shifting Sands, his 2015 Book Festival strand and subsequent book – historian Khaled Fahmy, journalist Alev Scott, novelist Mai Al-Nakib, sociologist Salim Tamari and historian Avi Shlaim, to revisit their ideas.


This event is part of our Ideas for Our Times: The Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Event Series  of events.


To watch this event – click here


4:00pm  Rutger Bregman: There is Hope for the Human Race

Bregman's compelling ‘hopeful history,’ Humankind, is a bracingly optimistic account of human nature. Essentially, in his view, the vast majority of people are pretty decent. He contrasts this idea with biologist Frans de Waal’s ‘veneer theory’ which posits that beneath a thin skin of human decency, there’s a savage waiting to burst forth.


This event is part of our Ideas for Our Times: The Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Event Series  of events.


To watch this event – click here


5:30pm  The New York Times Book Review Live

The New York Times Book Review has been loved for generations for bringing solitary readers into one another’s orbit. In this live event, Daily Books editor John Williams and a selection of Book Festival guests, including authors Douglas Stuart, Paul Mendez and Maaza Mengiste, relish that tradition, coming together to discuss their work, and how they’re trying to make sense of the mess we’re in. They talk about what they’re reading and recommending, from books for comfort to works that have made them change their minds.


This event is part of our The New York Times Series of events.


To watch this event – click here


7:00pm Amelia Gentleman: Windrush – A Very British Betrayal

In The Windrush Betrayal, guardian journalist Amelia Gentleman expands on her Orwell Prize-winning journalism with a page-turner that fearlessly probes the morality of modern Britain, just as we are forced to examine once again who we are, and how we got here.

This event is part of our Ideas for Our Times: The Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Event Series of events.


To watch this event – click here


8:30pm Hilary Mantel: Inside the Head of Thomas Cromwell

In today’s event filmed at Hilary Mantel’s home in Devon, Guardian chief culture writer Charlotte Higgins  talks to the double Booker Prize winner about Thomas Cromwell, her subtle depictions of women including Anne Boleyn, and about the vivid, nuanced and compelling re-creation of a 16th century world from a 21st century perspective. Join them for an unmissable conversation.


This event is supported by the Hawthornden Literary Retreat


To watch this event – click here


Day Three - Monday 17th August 2020


10:00am A New Kind of Superhero with Samantha Baines

Have your hearing loss stereotypes turned upside down by comedian, actor, hearing aid-wearer and author of Harriet Versus the Galaxy, Samantha Baine. Samantha joins us for a thought-provoking conversation with Charlie Swinbourne, a director, screenwriter and journalist whose work focuses on Deaf culture.


This event is sponsored by Baillie Gifford


To watch this event – click here

11:30am Stuart Cosgrove: The Soul Of Muhammad Ali

As well as documenting the meteoric rise of one of the all-time sporting greats, Cosgrove shows how soul music formed a soundtrack to an era of social and political turmoil. Join him as he talks to Scottish author Val McDermid about this landmark moment for American culture, and its parallels with the USA today. 


To watch this event – click here

1:00pm Natalie Diaz & Ellen van Neerven: Voices of Indigenous Resistance

In what promises to be a powerful conversation, these two extraordinary poets come together with Nadine Aisha Jassat to discuss First Nations voices, race and racism, sexual identity and belonging. This is truth-telling of a transcendent nature; an unforgettable anthem to land, language and love.


To watch this event – click here

2:30pm Michele Hutchison & Marieke Lucas Rijneveld: Reap What You Sow

Marieke Lucas Rijneveld’s International Booker shortlisted debut, The Discomfort of Evening, is an astonishingly raw and accomplished first novel, and with Michele Hutchison’s translation they have shared their at times brutal, at times grotesque tale even wider, drawing discomfort and accolades in equal measure. Join Rijneveld and Hutchinson in this thought-provoking event chaired by Sophie Collins.


This event is supported by the Booker International Prize


To watch this event – click here

4:00pm Jenny Offill: Storm Warning

Her new novel, the sparse Weather, takes on the climate crisis and is deeply concerned with hard, existential questions. Through fragments and jottings, this is an extraordinary novel of a planet (and of characters) in crisis, a ‘pre-apocalyptic’ ode to existential dread that has the audacity and skill to also be very funny and very charming.


To watch this event – click here

5:30pm Linn Ullmann: Portrait of a Family

Described as "a pure tour de force" by Ali Smith, Unquiet has spent more than a year on top of the Scandinavian bestseller lists. Ullmann talks to Lee Randall about her gorgeous impressionistic approach to storytelling and how she achieved such a delicate blend of literary modes, where truth and fiction meet.  The parallels towards Ullmann’s parentage — she is the only daughter of screen icons Liv Ullmann and Ingmar Bergman — are plain to see.


To watch this event – click here

7:00pm Ian Rankin: A Rebus for the Dark Times

A Song for the Dark Times is released in October and sees John Rebus travelling to the north of Scotland to help his daughter, who is in a spot of bother. Rankin joins us for a conversation, with leading Scottish journalist Ruth Wishart about Westwind, and a hint of the Dark Times to come.


This event is sponsored by British Council


To watch this event – click here

8:30pm Roger Robinson: ‘Ordinary Poems Won’t Change the World’

Firmly rooted in the dub poetry tradition of his Trinidadian heritage, Robinson’s plain-speaking, fizzy, often joyous verse journeys through our contemporary preoccupations with a seasoned insight few could replicate. From the ongoing injustices of Grenfell to the pains and pleasures of family life, he unpacks the cosmos of ideas that make up A Portable Paradise with fellow poet Kei Miller and shares a special animated film exclusively for the occasion.


This event is sponsored by British Council


To watch this event – click here


Day Four - Tuesday 18th August 2020

10:00am Formidable Females with Lari Don & Eilidh Muldoon

Girls just want to… be Fierce, Fearless and Free. Canongate Prize-winning author and storyteller Lari Don, and Book Festival-favourite illustrator Eilidh Muldoon, have joined forces to produce a brilliant collection of traditional tales, myths and legends from all around the world – all with fantastic female characters at the centre of the action. In this empowering event, join the talented Edinburgh-based duo as they unearth stories of heroines playing by their own rules, then watch as Eilidh brings them to life in her amazing illustrations.


This event is part of the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme


To watch this event – click here

1:00pm Ekow Eshun: Africa is a State of Mind

Eshun is a writer, curator, broadcaster and former director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London who recently curated an exhibition of contemporary photography (and a book of the same name), Africa State of Mind. Inspired by Senegalese author Felwine Sarr’s poetic meditation Afrotopia and organising the artists’ images thematically, Eshun explores the idea that African identity is reflected in its contemporary art and culture – offering a fresh understanding of the experience of ‘African-ness’ for the 21st century.


To watch this event – click here

2:30pm Hallie Rubenhold: The Problem with Great Men

In today’s event, Rubenhold discusses a new essay, The Problem with Great Men, commissioned by Edinburgh International Book Festival as a follow-up to The Five, with support from Baillie Gifford and the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction. You can download the essay here.  Many people are calling into question the histories handed down to us by our ancestors. With statues of so-called ‘great men’ being torn down, how can we celebrate ordinary people who – like the Ripper’s victims – have routinely been airbrushed out of history?


To watch the event – click here

4:00pm Get Adventurous with Lily Dyu & Helen Skelton

Would you like to race across mountains, fly into space or journey to Antarctica? Well, why don’t you? In this live event you’ll be inspired to get active and get adventurous after hearing the stories of some amazing real-life superheroes.


This event is part of the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme


To watch this event – click here

5:30pm Colum McCann: An Infinity of Stories

McCann has described Apeirogon (longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize) as ‘a hybrid novel with invention at its core, a work of storytelling which… weaves together elements of speculation, memory, fact and imagination.’ A mosaic of 1001 short, sparkling chapters, the novel is complex, moving and unforgettable. In this event, McCann discusses Apeirogon and its genesis with leading Palestinian writer and lawyer, Raja Shehadeh.


To Watch this event – click here

7:00pm Philippe Sands with Ian Rankin: On the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive

In Ratline Sands delves further into the story of Nazi brigade leader, Otto Von Wächter – a man indicted for mass murder in 1945 but who evaded capture and survived as a fugitive in the Austrian Alps for three years, before holing up in Rome under the protection of a Vatican bishop. It is a compelling, unsettling account of a search for truth, told in a style that is so vivid it feels almost like a thriller.


To watch this event – click here

8:30pm Women in Politics: A Year of Reckoning

Leading voices in politics and human rights join Francesca Donner, gender director at the New York Times, to explore the evolving role of women shaping the political agenda and its impact on women’s rights around the world. Our panel includes former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, acclaimed Turkish author Elif Shafak, and Veronica Chambers, editor of The Meaning of Michelle: 16 Writers on the Iconic First Lady and How Her Journey Inspires Our Own.


This event is part of the New York Times series


To watch this event – click here


Day Five - Wednesday 19 August


11:30am Shokoofeh Azar: After the Iranian Revolution

When Shokoofeh Azar received the news that she was the first ever Iranian writer to be shortlisted for the International Booker Prize, she was transported back to when she was 15 years old, ‘in the village, surrounded by rainforest and rice fields, and dreamed of someday I would win this award as an Iranian writer.’


This event is supported by the 2020 International Booker Prize


To watch this event – click here

1:00pm Eliza Anyangwe & Emmanuel Iduma: Outriders Africa – Deconstructing the Travelogue

As part of the Book Festival's  Outriders Programme exploring the shifting landscapes of contemporary Africa, writers born in two neighbouring countries interrogate what means to be the 'other' in pan-African society.  The two writers set off on an island-hopping journey from Madagascar to Comoros, finally ending up in Uganda before their trip was cut short as a result of COVID-19. Today, they share some of their stories from the journey.


This is an audio event – to listen click here

2:30pm Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi: Uganda’s First Woman of Fiction

Ugandan short story writer and novelist Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi burst onto the scene when she won The Kwani? Manuscript Project in 2013 with her first novel Kintu. Since then, she’s garnered legions of readers and accolades including a Commonwealth Short Story Prize and, in 2018, a Windham Campbell Prize.  Her work is celebrated for its links to oral traditions as well as its incisive critiques of contemporary Ugandan politics. For this event, she discusses her latest novel, The First Woman, with editor and culture columnist of The Economist Fiammetta Rocco.


This event is supported by British Council


To watch this event – click here

4:00pm Voices from the Past with Patrice Lawrence & Bali Rai

Patrice Lawrence, winner of the Waterstones Book Prize for Orangeboy, transports you to the slums of Elizabethan London in Diver’s Daughter: A Tudor Story, where East African girl Eve and her family become involved in a perilous shipwreck salvaging mission. Bestseller Bali Rai’s Now or Never: A Dunkirk Story follows Fazal Khan from his Indian home to the battlefields of the Second World War, where bombs from above and discrimination from other soldiers threaten his life.


This event is part of the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme


To watch this event – click here

5:30pm Maaza Mengiste: When Italy Invaded Ethiopia

Against the backdrop of Italy’s 1935 invasion of Ethiopia, this is a story of Africa and Europe, of resistance and exile, of tradition and modernity, that is sweeping in vision and intimate in affect.  Longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize The Shadow King is powerful, stirring historical fiction that centres women within stories of war and battle that have traditionally excluded them.  Mengiste talks to Jess Brough about giving life to the stories of her parents and grandparents, and unpicking ‘faded documents’ to better understand the heroism and loss of the past.


To watch this event – click here

7:00pm Marian Keyes: Family Matters

With more than 35 million copies sold of her 13 novels to date, Keyes’s own brand of irrepressible, generous, hilarious storytelling goes from strength to strength. Join Keyes and writer Jenny Colgan for an evening of unforgettable grown-up fun.


To watch this event – click here

8:30pm Val McDermid & Jo Sharp: Shaping a Better Future

Edited by McDermid and Sharp, Imagine A Country is the fascinating, eclectic and often inspiring collection. In this event, Val McDermid and Jo Sharp host acclaimed writers Ali Smith, Cameron McNeish, Jo Clifford and Leila Aboulela, who read their contributions and discuss how we might create a better future for the greatest number of people.


This event is sponsored by the Open University


To watch this event – click here


Day Six - Thursday 20 August


9:30am Drawalong with Cressida Cowell – Facebook @edbookfest

10:00am Magical Moggies with Philip Ardagh & Rob Biddulph

Philip reads an exciting extract from The Nine Lives of Furry Purry Beancat: The Railway Cat, then draw along with illustrator Rob Biddulph as he shows you how to create your very own Beancat in this a-meow-zing event for curious cats everywhere.


This event is part of the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme


To watch this event – click here

11:30am Gabriela Cabezón Cámara: The Female Gaucho

A leading figure in Argentine and Latin American literature, Gabriela Cabezón Cámara is one of the most prominent feminist intellectuals of the region. Her fourth novel, The Adventures of China Iron is shortlisted for this year’s International Booker Prize.  Alongside her translators Fiona Mackintosh and Iona Macintyre, Cabezón Cámara discusses the challenges and delights of reimagining a classic work of literature with fellow Argentinian novelist and writer Mariana Enriquez.


This event is supported by the 2020 International Booker Prize


To watch this event – click here

1:00pm Yoko Ogawa & Stephen Snyder: The Memory of Forgetting

Shortlisted for this year’s International Booker Prize, Yoko Ogawa’s The Memory Police is a surreal and irresistible tale of a novelist and her editor, exploring the intangible, ephemeral nature of existence and remembering.  Yoko Ogawa and Stephen Snyder join writer and Guardian critic Catherine Taylor to explore why a twenty-five year old vision of an imagined future remains so prescient and timely for readers today.


This event is supported by the 2020 International Booker Prize


To watch this event – click here


Please Note - This Event will NOT be available On Demand

2:30pm Tales of Two Planets: Making Climate Change Personal

In his new anthology Tales of Two Planets, writer and editor John Freeman brings together writers to tell us their personal stories of climate change and action around the world. Joining Freeman is Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat, Aotearoa poet Tayi Tibble and British-Malaysian photographer Ian Teh to share their stories.


This event is sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland


To watch this event – click here


Please note - This Event will NOT be available On Demand

4:00pm James Naughtie: The USA, from Reagan to Trump

On the Road is Naughtie’s compelling memoir of his American experiences during this period of change. In this event he discusses his adventures – and a rollercoaster half-century of USA life - with fellow BBC journalist Allan Little.


This event is sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland


To watch this event – click here

5:30pm Dean Atta & George Lester: Shine On

You will be hard-pushed to find two novels as gloriously unique, full of heart, and downright fabulous as Dean Atta’s The Black Flamingo and George Lester’s Boy Queen.  Through the pages of their books you will be taken on journeys that are both lavish and moving, flamboyant and sensitive, feather-filled and triumphant – and in this unmissable event the pair discuss the soaring highs and profound lows of growing up and getting to know ourselves. 


This event is part of the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme


To watch this event – click here

7:00pm Suzanne Bonnar, Joy Harjo & Jackie Kay: Makar to Makar - Sonnets from Scotland

For her penultimate edition, staged as part of our 2020 online Book Festival, and supported by the National Theatre of Scotland, HOME Manchester and the University of Salford, Kay is joined by US poet laureate Joy Harjo, the first Native American to hold the position, for a poignant reflection on what it means to be the artistic voice of a nation.


This event is supported by British Council


To watch this event – click here

8:30pm Garth Greenwell: Intimate Truths

With spare, passionate language that revisits and builds on the world of his celebrated debut What Belongs to You, the author has created a sublime, glorious novel which unfolds over nine interlinking stories. In Cleanness, his unnamed narrator provides a searing examination of foreignness, intimacy, memory and desire as he reflects on his life in Sofia, Bulgaria. 


To watch this event – click here


Friday 21 August


9:30am Drawalong with Kate McLelland.  Facebook @edbookfest

10:00am Pony Pals with Kate McLelland

Isla and her mischievous miniature Shetland pony Pickle are the best of friends. But when they are invited to a pony party on the beach will Pickle be able to behave himself or will the party end with a cake-related disaster! Find out all about this adorable duo and watch as author and illustrator Kate McLelland reads and draws from her new book Isla and Pickle: The Pony Party.


This event is part of the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme


To watch this event – click here

11:30am Wanjiru Koinange & Donna Obaseki-Ogunnaike: Outriders Africa – Sub-Saharan Swiping

As part of the Book Festival's Outriders programme exploring the shifting landscapes of contemporary Africa, we turn to The Gambia and Senegal, where, like everywhere else, a maelstrom of taps and swipes has seen modern dating change beyond recognition.  During surprising, funny and moving conversations, they quizzed a vast array of women across the West African region about hookup culture, how their cities inspire companionship, and whether romance really is dead. Joined by writers Renee Akitelek Mboya and Efua Oyofo, two of the women they met along the way, Obaseki-Ogunnaike and Koinange today share their responses from these unforgettable interviews.


This event is supported by British Council


This is an audio event – to listen click here

1:00pm Writing Wrongs: Voices from the Queer Arab Vanguard

Novelist, memoirist and journalist Randa Jarrar, documentary playwright and theatremaker Raphael Khouri, and drag performer, writer and filmmaker Amrou al-Kadhi all join translator and editor Alice Guthrie to discuss and read from their luminous and potent work. Our panel of vibrant queer Arab writers show how queer lives, queer selves and queer expression continue to blossom, against the odds.


This event is supported by British Council


To watch this event – click here

2:30pm James Tait Black Prizes

Join this event as the Prize judges share their insights and the nominated authors discuss their books, before the live, much-anticipated announcement of this year’s Prizes. Who will join the illustrious list of winners of the James Tait Black Prizes, awarded annually by the University of Edinburgh? For further info on the Prizes go to: www.ed.ac.uk/events/james-tait-black.


This event is sponsored by the University of Edinburgh


To watch this event – click here

4:00pm Kirstin Innes: Who is Clio Campbell?

Written from the perspective of those who loved (and hated) her most, and taking in everything from Top of the Pops to IndyRef along the way, Scabby Queen will have you hooked. Kirstin Innes joins Heather Parry to discuss how she ended up creating a novel that zips between daffy state-of-the-nation meditation and fantastic, elastic character study.


To watch this event – click here

5:30pm  Alain Mabanckou: Rewriting the Congolese Story

The luminary Mabanckou talks to award-winning writer, critic and cultural journalist Maya Jaggi, reflecting on the highs and lows of a career spanning four decades, and his enduring ability to boil the sweeping grand narratives of African history into exuberant, mischievous family dramas.


To watch this event – click here

7:00pm Lola Olufemi & Minna Salami: Critical Reflections on Feminism

Nigerian-Finnish writer and lecturer Minna Salami is a powerhouse of feminist thinking and organising whose first book of essays is Sensuous Knowledge: A Black Feminist Approach for Everyone.  Salami joins writer and activist Lola Olufemi, author of Feminism, Interrupted. Olufemi is an organiser with the London Feminist Library and co-founder of FLY, Cambridge University’s network for women and non-binary people of colour.  In conversation with feminist historian Jade Bentil, Salami and Olufemi discuss the big ideas around empowerment, inclusion and activism and how (in Salami’s words) ‘we see ourselves, our history, and our world’.


This event is sponsored by the Open University


To watch this event – click here

8:30pm Frans Timmermans with Gordon Brown: The Way Forward for Europe

In this special conversation for the Edinburgh International Book Festival Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Commission’s European Green Deal,  sits down with former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown to discuss the politics of environmental change. How much action is needed for meaningful change? What are the roadblocks to genuinely ending Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels? And what does a green recovery from COVID-19 look like?


This event is part of our Ideas for Our Times: The Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Event Series


To watch this event – click here


Saturday 22 August


9:30am Drawalong with Dapo Adeola  Facebook @edbookfest

10:00am Why Plastic isn’t Fantastic: Dapo Adeola & Nathan Bryon

CLEAN UP! is the sequel to LOOK UP!, Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Award and Foyles Book of the Year shortlisted debut from Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola.  Get a peek behind the scenes as Dapo and Nathan ask each other questions about how they met and came to make the books, plus enjoy an exclusive reading of CLEAN UP!


This event is part of the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme


To watch this event – click here

11:30am Liz Hyder: In the Jaws of Bearmouth

Liz Hyder’s multi award-winning debut Bearmouth is a novel so utterly original it swallows you up entirely and spits you out feeling bereft.  Dark and distinctive, Bearmouth explores ideas around oppression, autonomy, gender and religion while Newt’s voice is so powerful it will echo in the chambers of your mind long after you finish reading.


This event is part of the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme


To watch this event – click here

1:00pm Fire Front: First Nations Poetry and Power

Fire Front: First Nations Poetry and Power Today is a new anthology curated by Gomeroi poet and academic Alison Whittaker. It is, as Whittaker says in her introduction, ‘fifty-three poems fuelling, making space for, depriving, reshaping, undermining and doing power in every way. What they have in common is why they do it: for the emancipation of First Nations.’ Join  Whittaker and a selection of some of the poets who appear in the book – including Ellen van Neerven, Ancestress, Uncle Jim Everett, Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi, Declan Furber Gillick, Evelyn Araluen and Laniyuk – for readings and discussions that throw down a challenge to what contributor Bruce Pascoe calls ‘the tea-cosy nature of Australian comfort.’


To watch this event –click here

2:30pm Sophie Hughes & Fernanda Melchor: Another Mexico

Celebrated Mexican author Fernanda Melchor’s first book translated into English, Hurricane Season, has been shortlisted for the International Booker Prize.   The author and her translator Sophie Hughes come together with poet Juana Adcock to discuss these unavoidable darknesses, and share the processes — limitations, challenges and delights — of translating such a layered, densely playful work as Hurricane Season. Brutal, unflinching, depraved and profane, this is a story of small towns and violence, claustrophobia and rage. Unique and unforgettable.


This event is supported by the 2020 International Booker Prize


To watch this event – click here

4:00pm Cassandra Clare: All that Glitters is Not Gold

Cassandra Clare is the phenomenally successful author of internationally bestselling series The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, The Bane Chronicles and The Dark Artifices, and she joins us to talk about Chain of Gold, the first novel in her brand-new trilogy The Last Hours.


This event is part of the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme


Please note this event will NOT be available On Demand


To watch this event – click here

5.30pm Isabel Wilkerson: America’s Unspoken Caste System

As America seemingly implodes its way toward the 2020 election, pundits and political classes continue to try to understand how the Land of the Free has found itself in such disarray. And — as it has throughout Western democracies — the conversation inevitably turns to shifting facets of identity politics.  Wilkerson has turned her celebrated journalistic eye to what she describes as the unspoken system of power and control that underpins American society: caste. 


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7:00pm Edwidge Danticat: ‘Death Cannot Write Its Own Story’

Everything Inside is Edwidge Danticat’s twenty-first book, and once again confirms her as an essential voice in world literature. Across her generous and imaginative oeuvre, Danticat has written with urgency and deep compassion.  Searingly insightful and deeply humane, Danticat reflects on an astonishing career in words – from lyric fiction and forensic essays, to stories for children and young people – with British-Pakistani author Kamila Shamsie.


Please note this event will NOT be available On Demand


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8:30pm Bernardine Evaristo with Nicola Sturgeon: The Triumph of Girl, Woman, Other

Following her Booker Prize win last November, Bernardine Evaristo’s writing has won deserved and long-overdue acclaim across the globe. Girl, Woman, Other charts the intersecting lives of twelve characters, from a teenager working in a supermarket to a sixty-something playwright facing a career-defining moment. It is a sophisticated novel that – among other things – illuminates the complex forms discrimination can take.  Evaristo discusses her work and ideas with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

This event is sponsored by the Open University


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