5 reasons to visit the Edinburgh International Book Festival
Edinburgh International Book Festival is often overlooked by the hoards of tourists who flock to the Scottish capital in August. Nicola Love offers five reasons why the literary festival might actually be better than the Fringe…
Tucked away in Charlotte Square Gardens, the Book Festival is a break from all the hustle and bustle on the Royal Mile. Entry to the site is absolutely free, so visitors are welcome to come and soak up the atmosphere. The best part? Flyerers are nowhere to be found – a complete novelty in Edinburgh during festival season – so come, grab a deck chair and relax!
Jura Unbound events
Jura Unbound is a series of late-night, drop-in events held in the Spiegeltent. The programme ranges from events like the ‘Literary Death Match’ to a gig from The Bookshop Band. All Jura Unbound events are completely free to attend, meaning they’re a great excuse to kick back, grab a glass of wine and unwind after a long day of intellectual jousting.
Stripped is a strand of events within the festival, focusing entirely on comics and graphic novels. It’s brought some of the biggest names in comics to Edinburgh, such as Grant Morrison and the Eisner-winning Chris Ware. Stripped will also announce the winner of the first ever 9th Art Award. Over August 24-25, some of independent comics’ finest talents will be exhibiting their work at Stripped’s first ever mini comic fair. Most of Stripped’s events start at just £5, so let your crash course in graphic novels begin.
Pop-up book shops
No literary festival would be complete without pop-up book shops. Why not stop, have a browse and maybe pick a book (or two, or half a dozen) to read in the sunshine? If a book festival guest wrote it, you’ll find it on these shelves. Most Edinburgh International Book Festival events are followed by signings, so you have the chance to meet your favourite author and have a book signed afterwards.
Last but not least, there’s the small matter of the main programme. While Edinburgh Fringe showcases some of the biggest names in comedy and theatre, it’s also a hotbed for rising talent. Edinburgh Book Festival is no different. Hosting big names like Caitlin Moran and Ian Rankin, the festival also boasts a number of rising stars; supporting the Guardian’s ‘First Book’ award, the only literary award that recognises first-time writers. My favourite ‘one to watch’? Hannah Berry, a graphic novelist and former online writer in residence for the Book Trust.