29 hot ticket events at Edinburgh International Book Festival
tracey thorn

The Edinburgh International Book Festival unveiled its programme for 2015 this week, and there’s another stellar cast of literary heavyweights, famous faces and up and coming talent heading for Charlotte Square in August.

Introducing this year’s line-up, director Nick Barley said that the festival would become a “global village”, reflecting the fact that writers from 55 countries are confirmed.

Here we flick through some of the hot-ticket events.


irvine welsh
Irvine Welsh – TSPL

As ever, the festival’s strongest suit is its ability to attract the biggest names in literature from across the globe. So have a wander around Charlotte Square this August and you can expect to see Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell, the Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer Marilynne Robinson, Regeneration Trilogy author Pat Barker, and previous Man Booker Prize winners Ben Okri and Howard Jacobson.

Local favourites are also well represented, with Irvine Welsh and Val McDermid appearing, while Ian Rankin is a guest curator for the festival.

The great Alasdair Gray will also discuss his masterpiece, Lanark, to coincide with the Festival’s new stage production of the epic novel.


jesse jackson
Rev Jesse Jackson – Getty

A civil rights legend will be at the festival this August, with the Reverend Jesse Jackson reflecting on a lifetime of campaigning in a keynote event.

In a coup for the festival, which has previously hosted her predecessor Alex Salmond (who also returns this year), First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will be discussing crime fiction with Val McDermid, while former Prime Minister Gordon Brown will examine the future of Scotland and BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson will reflect on the recent General Election.

Elsewhere, the popular Channel 4 Economics Editor Paul Mason will discuss capitalism and a route to a fairer society at his event, and there’s a lecture by the former Beirut hostage Terry Waite.


edwyn collins
Edwyn Collins

As previously mentioned, Ian Rankin is a guest curator this year, and as such, the avid music fan has invited one of his heroes, the former Orange Juice frontman Edwyn Collins, along for what should be a truly fascinating meeting of minds. Rankin has also organised events featuring Viv Albertine, a key figure in the punk movement with The Slits, and Stuart David, co-founder of Belle and Sebastian.

The acclaimed spoken word artist Kate Tempest, who was nominated for a Mercury Music Prize, will perform at the festival, the legendary Manchester DJ Dave Haslam will discuss his new book on the nation’s music venues, and Tracey Thorn, Everything But The Girl star turned acclaimed writer, will offer an insider’s guide to the art of singing.


greg proops
Greg Proops

What’s this? Comedy at the Book Festival? Isn’t this the Fringe’s job? Well, we’re not exactly talking stand-up here, but while Edinburgh is flooded with comedic talent, you might has well try to get an insight into their craft. Some of the standout events include Glaswegian cult favourite Limmy talking about how he creates characters, US wit Greg Proops on his hit podcast, screenwriters Jesse Armstrong & Tom Drury on the art of screen comedy, and Have I Got News For You star Paul Merton talking frankly about his life.

Theatre and Film

wolf hall
Mark Rylance in Wolf Hall – BBC

It’s not all about the words on the page. The Book Festival will also play host to some of the stars of stage and screen. Scottish star Alan Cumming will be in town to talk about his memoir Not My Father’s Son and his career in general (with Ian Rankin), while Mark Rylance, who recently won rave reviews in the BBC’s adaptation of Wolf Hall, will feature in an event about Paul Kingsnorth’s novel The Wake, for which he has the film rights.

Elsewhere, David Hare will reflect on a life in the theatre, while Liz Lochhead will discuss her fascination with the French playwright Molière.

For full info and tickets, visit www.edbookfest.co.uk

Main image: Tracey Thorn