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It can be a little overwhelming when confronted by 4 press releases, 3 programme directors and one (very nice) breakfast.

Having had just a little time to digest bits of the 146 page programme, I thought it would be useful to find the big names that most people will recognise – and the events you might like to bookmark.

There are 900 people taking part from 55 different countries, and some of those names do stand out.

Director of Edinburgh International Book Festival Nick Barley with the festival programme. Photo John Preece

Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks will talk about Perfect Picture Books for the 4-7 audience.

Philip Pullman will be in Edinburgh to talk about building fantasy worlds.

Susan Calman previews her brand new book The Kindness Quest – Dancing for Joy.

Ruby Wax will talk about her book How to be Human – the Manual.

Labour peer Baroness Shami Chakrabati and Labour Leaders Jeremy Corbyn will discuss with former Greek Finance Minister Yannis Varoufakis whether current globalisation is forcing democracy towards its ultimate demise.

Sir Chris Hoy will share the latest book in his magical cycling adventure series, Flying Fergus.

Ali Smith will be in conversation with the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in the Women Talking series. Smith’s book How to be Both will also be used by The Lyceum in its Playing with Books events when actors explore her book in a one off performance.

Allan Little who chairs the Book Festival Board will speak to Robert Peston about what is needed to mend our fractured society, and he will also speak with Jo Swinson MP about how to make society gender neutral. Little will also speak with Gina Miller about her book Rise and standing up for justice.

Jim Broadbent, the actor, brings his first graphic novel to the festival.

The Mandela family – Nelson Mandela’s daughter Zindzi will be in Edinburgh along with his two great-grandchildren Zazi and Ziwelene who wrote a book called Grandad Mandela which asks 15 questions about his 27 year prison sentence.

David Walliams is going for Big Laughs when he shares his latest book Bad Dad.

Brian May, guitarist with Queen, will look at the work of Scottish photographer George Washington Wilson in the Book Festival’s first 3-D presentation.

Chelsea Clinton will take part in the Women Talking series launched by Canadian novelist Miriam Toews discussing inspiring women.

Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse and David Almond will appear together discussing the process of taking a book to the stage or on film.

Archie Macpherson wonders if the Tartan Army has given up the Fight. An icon of football commentating in the days when Scotland had a team.

Denise Mina and Liam McIlvanney will talk about Killers and Outcasts.

Gordon Brown will tell all about the years in the job as Chancellor in an honest account of his political career.

Graeme Macrae Burnett will chair a session entitles Out of the Margins of History talking to author Rupert Thomson

Louis de Bernières takes readers back to the early twenties of the last century in his latest novel So Much Life Left Over.

A L Kennedy will entertain in the Spark Theatre, possibly talking just a little about her forthcoming Canongate fable.


Author A L Kennedy Photo John Preece

Jackie Kay, Scotland’s Makar has published a new collection Bantam. Poetry all about her family and early holiday memories it seems!

Author Jackie Kay Photo John Preece


Sue Black and Val McDermid are great chums. They will appear together and will be extremely funny. Little is funny in Black’s work as a forensic anthropologist but she will compare notes with the crime writer who seeks her advice on how to deal with dead bodies in her novels…..

Christopher Brookmyre collaborates with his wife Marisa Haetzman  under pen name Ambrose Parry on a crime novel which may involve chloroform.

The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon will talk with Scottish author Ali Smith.

Other big names are the sponsors who help to fund the book festival.

Baillie Gifford is the Lead Sponsor and will have their name on the main theatre. They have committed to funding for a further three years.

Hamilton & Inches support events featuring Ruth Jones and Ian Rankin.

Edinburgh Academy sponsor the Allan Little talk with Kamal Ahmed and Greg Wise who will talk with Sally Magnusson.

Dickson Minto sponsor Harry Hill in the children’s programme, Alexander McCall Smith and Brett Anderson lead singer of Suede. They are also sponsoring groups from disadvantaged backgrounds to come to an event for young people, 25 years of Horrible Histories.

Funding from Creative Scotland and The City of Edinburgh Council is key to the Book Festival.

Other sponsors include The Open University, RBS, Walter Scott & Partners, The Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, Edinburgh Gin, People’s Postcode Lottery,Windham-Campbell prizes, Borders Biscuits, Gusto, Heritage Portfolio, House of Hearing, Hampden & Co Bank and The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square.

The Festival will take place in Charlotte Square Gardens from 11-27 August 2018.

You can buy your tickets from 8.30am on 26 June 2018.  The ways to buy are :

Online here

By telephone 0345 373 5888

In person at the EICC on 26 June only and thereafter at The Hub, Castlehill.