The programme for this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival’s 2015 has been revealed, with speakers coming from over 55 countries.
The festival has an international focus this year, with speakers including American author Marilynne Robinson, Spain’s Jaume Cabré, multi-award winning Danish author Helle Helle and Germany’s Jenny Erpenbeck all attending.
South Korea’s Han Kang, Alain Mabanckou from the Congo and Salla Simukka, a new Young Adult author from Finland, will also appear alongside French ‘rockstar’ mathematician Cédric Villani, American civil rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson and Palestinian lawyer Raja Shehadeh.
Nick Barley, director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, 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.”
Closer to home, Philippa Gregory will launch her new novel about Henry VIII’s last queen at the festival, while Val McDermid will discuss her new crime novel with the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Pat Barker, Arne Dahl, Aleksandar Hemon, Tom Holland, John Banville and Andrew Miller will also launch their new books. Other contributors to the programme include Louis de Bernières, Joanne Harris, Etgar Keret, David Mitchell, Irvine Welsh, Emily Woof, Owen Sheers, Amit Chaudhuri, previous Man Booker Prize winners Ben Okri and Howard Jacobson, Pulitzer Prize winner Jane Smiley and historians Antony Beevor and Ferdinand Mount.
The Trading Stories strand will introduce new writing from across the globe and examine how stories travel, bringing together writers and translators for an exploration of language, identity and the international influences that have inspired and defined Scottish writing. Many of the Reading Workshops have been inspired to focus on translated classics, such as Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina.
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.”
The festival’s Children’s Programme will explore books and stories in translation and examine how young people’s literature needs to be reflective of our multi-cultural, multi-lingual world.
Highlights include comedians Julian Clary and Danny Wallace both presenting their first children’s books, Cressida Cowell launching the last in her How to Train your Dragon series, while Kristina Stephenson and Derek Landy will each reveal their new series. Patrick Ness will also launch his new novel.
Janet Smyth, children and education programme director, added: “It is particularly important for young people to visit a festival that welcomes their cultures, backgrounds, heritage and languages. We welcome writers and illustrators from Europe, China, Iran and Australia as well as from across the UK to explore everything from contemporary tales to myths and folk tales.”