Debate and delight at the Book Festival Children's Programme

Book Fest Childrens Prog 975x400

Edinburgh International Book Festival returns from 13-29 August with hundreds of authors and a hugely diverse programme - including a fantastic selection of events for young readers. Here, we take a look at just some of what's on offer in the Baillie Gifford Children and Young People’s Programme.

Young Adult?

One of the major themes of this year's programme is the classification of novels into age-related categories, and whether terms like 'Young Adult' fiction potentially do a disservice to both readers and authors.

Janet Smyth, Director of the Book Festival’s Children’s Programme, said:

YA author Frances Hardinge won the Costa Book of the Year with her novel The Lie Tree which was published as Young Adult fiction but clearly of a quality to stand alongside any great adult novelist. I do worry that YA fiction, the major publishing creation of the last decade, means many readers will never experience some wonderful writing.
Some of the bravest, boldest and darkest fiction is currently being created but it is often too readily overlooked. If Salinger had been writing Catcher in the Rye today it would have been classified as YA.

The discussion regarding the term will be brought to the fore in the Great YA Debate, when Anthony McGowan and Elizabeth Wein go head-to-head on the issue, with help from Chair Daniel Hahn. They'll be joined by wider audience that will include authors Annabel Pitcher, Christopher Edge, Jenny Downham and Patrice Lawrence.

With the huge recent success of the Young Adult market, the Book Festival will also host a number of events featuring leading YA authors including Anne Cassidy, Simon Mayo, John Boyne, transgender author Juno Dawson, Alaskan author Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock and Cat Clarke.

Children's events

The Book Festival will also include great events for younger readers too, with appearances from authors and illustrators like Cecelia Ahern, Sophie Kinsella, Judith Kerr, David Melling, Chris Riddell, Debi Gliori, Matt Spink, Hrefna Bragadottir, husband and wife team, Ana and Thiago de Moraes, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

Illustration is a major theme in the Children's Programme, with illustrator-in-residence Alex T Smith involved in various workshops, Big Draws and interviews. The illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone will get a first showing from Jim Kay, and there's a return to the Book Festival for French graphic novelist Barroux, who'll appear with Chris Haughton and Emer Stamp to discuss their three differing styles.

And there'll be anniversary events for a number of authors and books, including 60 years of Paddington Bear, 80 years of The Broons and Oor Wullie, and 90 years of Winnie the Pooh. 2016 also marks 100 years since Roald Dahl's birth and 150 since Beatrix Potter's, as well as 400 years since the death of Shakespeare, and all have events dedicated to their lives and work.

All of this just scratches the surface of a huge programme for everyone from babies to teens, which also includes a Guinness World Record attempt, rapping bears, singing farmers, giant talking beetles, dinosaurs, gymnasts, heroes, heroines, mythical beasts, magical creatures and moving and uplifting tales of coming of age, friendship and family.

Edinburgh International Book Festival runs from 13-29 August 2016 and tickets are on sale. Find out more about the Festival, including links to programme and ticketing details.

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