Jonathan Safran Foer, Philippa Gregory and Eimear McBride are to participate in this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival which "in a world of global uncertainty and shifting influence” intends to “explore the power of the human mind to imagine a better world".
More than 800 writers, poets, illustrators, politicians, journalists, historians, scientists, philosophers and playwrights from 55 countries will come together to “energise, inspire and stimulate debate” in Charlotte Square Gardens at the festival which will run from Saturday 13th to Monday 29th August 2016.
Foer will launch his new book, Here I am (Hamish Hamilton) - his first novel in over a decade - at the festival. Meanwhile, Han Kang, author of The Vegetarian (Portobello) and winner of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize, will be joined by her translator, Deborah Smith, to discuss the key role of translation in bringing international fiction to an English-speaking audience. Doyenne of historical fiction Gregory will introduce her new Tudor novel - Three Sisters, Three Queens (Simon & Schuster); McBride will launch the follow-up to her award-winning A Girl is a Half Formed Thing (Faber); Prue Leith will give a glimpse into the second in her Food of Love series; and Scottish actor Alan Cumming, comedian Stewart Lee and survival expert Ray Mears will offer sneak previews of their brand new books, among other events.
Following a series of successful Book Festival events in 2015, a collection of Mexico’s journalists were invited to write essays on Mexico, its culture, politics and daily life. The resulting book, The Sorrows of Mexico (Maclehose Press), is launched at the Book Festival with three of the contributing authors – Lydia Cacho, Sergio González Rodríguez and Eduardo Ruiz Parra – travelling to Edinburgh.
Author and journalist Bidisha, reporter Wolfgang Bauer, author Gulwali Passarlay and journalists Patrick Kingsley and Charlotte McDonald-Gibson will also be in attendance.
Nick Barley, director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, said: “You could say that the theme of this year’s Festival is ‘Project No Fear’. It’s about encouraging and celebrating the sort of courageous, positive, creative thinking that we desperately need in order to make the world a better place for everyone, rather than just for a privileged few. Novelists, journalists, scientists and poets – writers are the people we always turn to at a time when we need to imagine better. We welcome legendary novelists, prize-winning journalists and life-changing poets, as well as emerging talents whose unforgettable stories will revolutionise our future thinking. All in all, it’s a Festival bursting at the seams with big ideas.”
Winners of the University of Edinburgh’s James Tait Black Prizes will be announced at the Book Festival as will the young Scottish poet receiving the biennial Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. Alongside this, human rights barrister Philippe Sands QC will deliver The Frederick Hood Memorial Lecture, children’s laureate Chris Riddell will give The Siobhan Dowd Trust Memorial Lecture and philosopher A C Grayling will explore the legacy of a complex intellectual in The PEN H G Wells Lecture.
The Book Festival continues to champion new talent and its annual First Book Award, now in its seventh year, features 44 debut novelists and short story writers. There are novels translated into English for the first time from internationally renowned authors including György Spiró, from Hungary; Lena Andersson, from Sweden; and Agustín Fernández Mallo, from Spain. The list also includes some "exceptional" home-grown talent including Kate Tempest, James Yorkston, Lorna Gibb, Frank Gardner, Harry Parker and Dorothy Alexander. The winner of the First Book Award is voted for by readers and visitors to the Book Festival and announced in October.
The Edinburgh International Book Festival receives funding from Creative Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council. Full details of the programme can be found at here. Tickets to all events go on sale at 8.30am on Tuesday 21st June 2016.