Janet Smyth leaves Edinburgh International Book Festival

Janet Smyth leaves Edinburgh International Book Festival

Janet Smyth is stepping down from her role of children and education programme manager at the Edinburgh International Book Festival after eight years.

Smyth, who will announce her next move in due course, said: “I have had an incredible eight years at the Book Festival – no year has ever been the same! I am immensely proud to have had the opportunity to share so many writers, illustrators, performers and artists with our incredibly engaged and passionate audiences; to share a love of books and celebrate the importance of culture in our lives. I leave with a heavy heart and many friendships but look forward to the next creative opportunity.”

During her time at the festival Smyth expanded the scope of the Baillie Gifford Children’s and Schools’ Programmes and oversaw events with Malala Yousafzai, Malorie Blackman, Philip Pullman, Neil Gaiman, Angie Thomas, Michael Morpurgo and Chelsea Clinton. In 2018, more than 13,000 school pupils and 21,000 children and families visited the Book Festival in August, according to the organisers.

She also helped create Edinburgh International Book Festival On The Road, which has run mini-festivals in Cumbernauld, Glenrothes and Irvine.

Festival director Nick Barley said: “It has been an incredible experience working with Janet since she joined us in 2011. Her enthusiasm and passion for bringing books and ideas to new audiences is nothing short of inspirational. She has constantly challenged everyone at the Book Festival to be more creative and imaginative in our approaches. The impact she has made on Scottish literature has been simply immense.”

A spokesperson said the festival will begin advertising for a replacement.