Key themes as Book Festival approaches

From surveillance to religion and mental health to illustration, this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival has a novel's worth of themes and topics, as well as guest selectors, featuring from 15 - 31 August 2015. Here's a quick roundup...


  • Literature has long been a powerful tool for the politically minded so hear the issues facing global human rights as part of this year's Human Rights Now theme. Question the balance between surveillance and security, hear stories direct from activists and discuss other topical human rights issues.
  • Politics closer to home are also discussed in the Changing Britain strand. The events will assess the changing landscape of Britain's political system in the aftermath of the Scottish referendum on independence, and the subsequent general election, with writers, politicians and broadcasters.
  • Sticking with politics and The Changing Middle East will offer an insight into the past, present and future political landscape of the Middle East. Cyberspace warfare, drone use and religion will all be discussed as part of an in-depth look into this fascinating and complex region.
  • See how a story reaches a global audience with the Talking Translation theme. These events featuring both writers and translators will investigate issues of language, identity and writing in Britain and abroad.
  • Staying Well explores mental health and illness, giving attendees the opportunity to hear the stories of those affected and learn what more can be done to understand the issues.
  • Through open discussion the festival will consider the challenges and opportunities faced by the humble library in Spaces for Literacy. These events will look at the survival of the library in an ever-advancing digital age.
  • Designed with both adults and children in mind, multi award winning writer and illustrator Debi Gliori is this year's Illustrator in Residence and will bring her much loved stories such as No Matter What, The Tobermory Cat picture books and the Pure Dead Magic novels, to the festival. Children can also join Debbie for a big draw - sketch pads at the ready!
  • There's more imagery as part of Stripped 2015, which looks at the power of visual story telling. Comics and graphic novels are celebrated at these events which look at how visuals capture the world we live in.
  • Spoken word is increasing in popularity and Babble On - Spoken Word celebrates comic verse, city versus country, and the legacy of Larkin. Expect appearances from Mercury Prize nominated and Radio 1 stars Kate Tempest and George The Poet.

And these themes cover just some of the Book Festival - find out more at

Links to the themes mentioned in this article

  • Human Rights Now 
  • Changing Britain 
  • The Changing Middle East 
  • Talking Translation 
  • Staying Well 
  • Spaces for Literacy 
  • Illustrator in Residence 
  • Stripped 2015 
  • Babble On - Spoken Word 

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