Book Festival 2015 - Around the World in 18 Days

Edinburgh International Book Festival has revealed its full programme for August 2015, with a focus on how humanity flows across and around the world, taking along stories and creating new ones.


The Festival (15-31 August) offers its "most international programme to date" with over 900 participants from more than 55 countries, many seeing their work translated into English for the first time. There will also be the Trading Stories strand examining how stories travel, exploring language, identity and the international influences that have inspired and defined Scottish writing.

Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival (pictured), said:

Scotland has always been an outward-looking nation and this year the Book Festival is more international than ever before. Charlotte Square Gardens will reflect the idea of the Global Village as we welcome authors from across the planet.
Whether they are from Nigeria or North Korea; Colombia or China, these are writers whose stories shed light not only on the big changes in world power, but on the shifting nature of local cultures - changes that are also taking place in Scotland.

Big names from around the world include Spain’s Jaume Cabré, Germany’s Jenny Erpenbeck, Helle Helle from Denmark, South Korea’s Han Kang, Alain Mabanckou from Congo, and Salla Simukka from Finland.

The festival will also welcome American author Marilynne Robinson, French ‘rockstar’ mathematician Cédric Villani, renowned playwright David Hare, street artist Stik, Palestinian lawyer Raja Shehadeh and formidable civil rights activist, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, all of whom make their first visits to the Book Festival.

Political figures feature strongly, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon interviewing crime writer Val McDermid, Caroline Lucas of the Green Party looking at the Westminster system, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown examining the future of Scotland, former First Minster Alex Salmond discussing capitalism with Channel 4 Economics Editor Paul Mason and BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson talking about his 2015 Election Diaries. 

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said:

As well as another fantastic line up of top writers, this year the Edinburgh International Book Festival is highlighting one of today’s most important subjects, internationalism. For centuries, great writers have opened our minds to novel worlds and lands. Through understanding others we embrace new ideas and expand our imagination, both are vital for a country looking to succeed on the world stage.
Scots have always embraced internationalism. Our intangible cultural heritage of storytelling, poetry and music transcends boundaries and we are proud to support Trading Stories, a key strand of the international theme, through the Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund.

Five Guest Selectors have curated parts of the festival, including:

  • World renowned Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco talking with seven top writers and poets from Mexico's thriving scene
  • Lennie Goodings presenting The Female Gaze, a challenge to masculine cultural views of the world
  • Ian Rankin gathering some of his favourite writers and musicians, including Alan Cumming, Viv Albertine, Edwyn Collins and Stuart David
  • Charlotte Higgins of the Guardian, looking at the interactions between globalisation and xenophobia
  • Gill Arbuthnott, highlighting the need for science literacy among writers and readers, young and old

The Festival will also include the audience-voted First Book Award (announce in October), a strong performance element, a series of lectures and the renowned Baillie Gifford Children's Programme.

To find out more about this year's Book Festival, please visit

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