Onwards and Upwards: 2021 Book Festival Programme Announced
The programme for th 2021 Edinburgh International Book Festival has been announced, with an aim to explore together how to move ‘Onwards and Upwards’ from this devastating pandemic.
In their new home at Edinburgh College of Art the Festival has created three broadcast studios which enables it to offer author conversations to worldwide audiences and to those closer to home who are unable to join us in person, as well as welcoming a limited In-Real-Life audience. Around half of our participants will appear in person in Edinburgh, while others join digitally from their homes around the world. Tickets for socially-distanced in-person events will go on sale from midday on 22 July. During the Festival dates, 14-30 August, audiences can enjoy more than 250 events for adults, children and families online, all available to watch on a Pay What You Can basis.
You can browse the entire programme HERE – with plenty to entertain, challenge and inspire – and to help you on your way we’ve pulled together a dozen highlights.
- Jed Mercurio & Prasanna Puwanarajah: The Bionic Policeman [16 August]: Mercurio, the creator of Line of Duty has joined forces with one of the stars of the most recent series to produce Sleeper, the first in a hotly-anticipated graphic novel series.
- Alex Renton & Lisa Williams: Scotland's Black History Matters [18 August]: Lisa Williams, whose tours of Edinburgh explore the city’s prominent black figures, and journalist Alex Renton, whose new book recalls his own family’s involvement in transatlantic slavery, talk to Sally Magnusson about inheritance, the case for reparations and rethinking the past.
- Winners of the 2021 International Booker Prize [19 August]: French-Senegalese author David Diop, whose At Night All Blood Is Black won this year’s International Booker Prize, joins us with translator Anna Moschovakis to discuss their unforgettable short novel set in the French trenches of the First World War
- Salman Rushdie with Allan Little: Standing in the Rubble of Truth [20 August] : For BBC journalist Allan Little’s Big Interview, Rushdie talks about the role of writing in shaping public debate, and his own encounters with artists and writers who are trying to rebuild a shared sense of what is ‘true’.
- Black Britain, Writing Back [21 August]: Booker prize winner Bernadine Evaristo interviews a panel of writers whose novels were first released in the 1990s and are newly republished as part of a series entitled Black Britain: Writing Back
- Marilynne Robinson: The Prodigal Son [22 August]: Pulitzer Prize-winning Marilynne Robinson talks about her Gilead novels with fellow author James Runcie
- One City: A Just Capital? [23 August]: Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith and Irvine Welsh return to the stage with Nadine Aisha Jassat, Sara Sheridan and Anne Hamilton to discuss a brand new edition of One City [first published 2005] and whether Edinburgh is more or less of a divided city today.
- Amartya Sen: Home and Humanity [23 August]: Sen’s passionate commitment to choice, freedom and justice shines through in his evocative prose – principles which were surely central to winning him the Nobel Prize in 1998 for his work in welfare economics – and here he talks about his life and work with Scottish journalist Ruth Wishart
- The Force of Law [24 August]: Nearly 20 years after 9/11, BBC correspondent Nick Bryant, writer and journalist Tariq Ali and The New York Times’s Pentagon correspondent Helene Cooper discuss whether intervention can ever be humanitarian or whether the mistakes of the past are likely to be repeated.
- Kazuo Ishiguro: On Being Human [29 August]: Living legend Kazuo Ishiguro joins us remotely for an unmissable hour exploring artificial intelligence and human relationships
- Hari Kunzru: The Breakdown of Truth [30 August]: Hari Kunzru returns to the Festival with his new novel Red Pill which traces the rise of the alt-right through the dark web
- Douglas Stuart with Nicola Sturgeon [30 August]: Book your spot for the Festival’s Booker Prize-winning author events including Douglas Stuart who talks to Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon about his debut novel Shuggie Bain
Of course, the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme is full of fun for all ages – with 60 events to take part in from home including readings, draw-alongs, and dancing. The Festival is also excited to launch a new series of pre-recorded, audio-only events, available from the very start of the Festival, and a range of walking tours and family trails around Edinburgh.
Over 60 of the online events offer BSL Interpretation or Live Captions courtesy of StageText - you can find a list of these events in the What's On section. And once again the Festival offers an interactive event designed especially for those with learning disabilities focused on the wonderful new picture book You Can! by Alexandra Strick and illustrator Steve Antony, created with the support of our friends at PAMIS.