Official Guide to Edinburgh
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Edinburgh Book Festival

21 July 2014

Edinburgh Book Festival
9-25 August

What could be better than curling up on the grass or a deck chair in the sun with a wonderful new book? Well, perhaps knowing that the author may be lounging right beside you, ready for a chat!

Or what could be better than having a feisty debate with friends about the political issues of the day, from the future of literature to healthcare policies? Having global experts join in might be just the thing.

And what's even better than introducing a child to literature by reading them their favourite books? How about having the author run an interactive workshop, bringing the story to life for young readers?

The Edinburgh International Book Festival is a place where all these things and more can and do happen. The gloriously long summer days in Charlotte Square Gardens overflow with discussion, thought and celebration of the written word, in the biggest gathering of its kind in the world. For lovers of literature and ideas, there's simply no better place to be.

A Celebration of Renowned and New Authors

Every August over 800 writers and thinkers gather in Edinburgh to explore, debate, challenge and consider ideas and opinions, with packed audiences eager to engage. From famous names - this year the Edinburgh Book Festival will host George R R Martin, author of the Game of Thrones novels, and Jeremy Paxman, to name just two - to writers newly arrived on the literary scene and ready to wow, there's an incredible range of personal and professional experience ready to be tapped into. So it's fitting that this year's theme is "Let's Talk", opening up a truly unique space for sharing in the heart of the Scottish capital.

The book festival is a perfect place for people of all ages. Families will find the Gardens a wonderful place to relax in-between festival events - bring a picnic to make the most of the lush green grass. The Baillie Gifford Children's Programme offers engaging events, talks, workshops and readings for children of all age groups, helping to set young attendees up for a lifetime of book-loving.

For the adults, events are organised into themed streams, allowing audiences to navigate the festival according to their areas of interest - though it would be hard to put a foot wrong with any selection from the packed programme.

If health and healthcare are your passions, why not join in on a debate about Scotland's sugar habit, or listen to mental health experts challenging our attitudes towards hearing voices. If you’re interested in illustration, be sure to sit down with the festival’s Illustrator in Residence, a title this year held by James Mayhew, whose work focuses on bringing classical art and music alive for younger audiences. If poetry is your true love, explore the world of spoken word with some of the world’s most talented performance poets.

The Perfect Place to Relax with your Favourite Book

After filling your day with a heady mixture of challenging discussion and inspiring stories give yourself plenty of time to lie in the gardens digesting it all with a coffee or a glass of wine. And as night falls, don’t miss Jura Unbound, the nightly free events in the Guardian Spiegeltent, mixing things up and bringing people together in celebration of the unexpected and playful.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival runs from the 9th to the 25th of August in Charlotte Square Gardens. To browse the full programme and buy tickets, visit the Edinburgh Book Festival website.

Image courtesy of Edinburgh International Book Festival and words from Edinburgh Festivals.