Edinburgh book festival to bring Jeremy Corbyn and Zindzi Mandela to Scottish capital and explore 'freedom to think' theme
2018 Edinburgh International Book Festival boasts big names, including Labour leader, South African politician, as well as Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o and Karl Ove Knausgård
Festival fever has well and truly kicked in with programme launches happening at a whirlwind pace, but for literature lovers, there is really only one that truly matters – the launch of the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The festival is jam-packed with over 800 events including talks, debates, workshops and readings surrounding a diverse range of topics.
This year's theme focuses on the importance of freedom and organisers want authors, participants and audiences to consider freedom in the context of the current questioning of long-standing democratic and capitalist systems.
Nick Barley, Director of the Book Festival, commented: 'This year's programme brings together writers whose experiences will truly change our way of looking at the world: from the emerging Rwandan-Burundian superstar Gaël Faye to the legend of Kenyan writing Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, this is the most international of festival programmes – but one that also proudly celebrates its Scottish history and context.'
Highlights of the festival include acclaimed Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgård, author of the My Struggle series, returning after a six-year break with final instalment The End. Writer and broadcaster Afua Hirsch looks at freedom of identity with American actor and activist Rose McGowan and writers Diana Evans, T. Geronimo Johnson, Prayaag Akbar and Miranda Kaufmann. Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis discusses global capitalism and the demise of democracy with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Labour Peer Shami Chakrabarti.
As a regular feature of the festival, a series of guest selectors are invited to curate events around a subject of their choice. This year Adele Patrick from the Glasgow Women's Library creates a Revolting Women events series to discuss the nonconforming female writers of the last century with Helen Pankhurst, Sara Wajid, Heidi Mirza, Brazilian human rights activist Djamila Ribiero and Nigerian authors Olumide Popoola and Chitra Nagarajan.
Other high-points of the programme include a talk from Nelson Mandela's daughter Zindzi and great-grandchildren Zazi and Ziwelene about his life to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth; Chelsea Clinton talks about inspiring women in events for both adults and children; Scotland's finest Ali Smith in conversation with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon; and former Queen guitarist Brian May with historian Professor Roger Taylor, examining the work of Scottish photography pioneer George Washington Wilson in a unique 3D presentation.
As part of the Baillie Gifford Children's Programme section of the festival, over 200 events for children and young people have been announced. With support from Scotland's Year of Young People 2018, a group of 10 pupils from schools in Edinburgh have co-programmed a strand of events titled Codename F. They feature prominent authors for young people such as Michael Morpurgo, Julia Donaldson, Helen Duggan and David Walliams.
Tickets to all events go on sale at 8.30am on Tuesday 26 Jun: buy them online at www.edbookfest.co.uk, by phone on 03453735888, or in person at the Box Office at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on the release day and thereafter at The Hub, Castlehill.
The Edinburgh International Book Festival, various venues, Tues 11--Mon 27 Aug.