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Brian Cox and Mrs Cox with Bill Paterson at the Book Festival. Picture by Bill Heaney

By Bill Heaney

The opening week of the Edinburgh International Book Festival is finally here and they’re more than ready to throw open the gates of the Book Festival Village and show you everything their team has been working so hard on all year.

Join them and us – and celebrities by the score –  in a melting pot of ideas, inspiration and entertainment from all over the world, for all ages and all interests. We can’t wait to hear all the discussions that are sparked, laughs that are shared and new stories that we make together.

There are still tickets left for hundreds of events, so don’t miss your chance to hear from a favourite or try something new…

There’s so much to discover in the Edinburgh Book Festival Village, why not make a day of it? We think you’ll struggle to leave after just one event. You can spend hours here.

Don’t forget: entry to the Village is FREE and it’s open from 9.30am until late every day from 10–26 August.

Kick off your day with a free taster in Ten at Ten, a ten minute reading from one of our Festival authors every day at 10am – authors appearing this year include Tim Winton, David Almond, Elizabeth Acevedo and Salman Rushdie. Follow this with a late morning event: we recommend Rachel Reeves, Ben Okri or Iain Sinclair for some fresh and fascinating perspectives.

Bill and Edna O'Brien
Best-selling author Edna O’Brien with Bill Heaney at the Edinburgh Book Festival. Picture by Andrew O’Hagen

Don’t forget you can get your book signed after most events and get the chance to meet the author, signs and staff in the venue will help you find the right place. Don’t have a copy of the book? Don’t worry, there will be copies for sale in the signing queue, or you can take the opportunity to browse our bookshops. The Bookshop on George Street stocks a vast range of Scottish books for adults and children, while the larger Garden Bookshop has thousands of titles from all over the world for all ages and tastes.

Take a pit stop at one of our cafes, bars or food trucks – don’t miss Di Rollo’s ice cream trike – and find a grassy spot to relax and enjoy. If you’re visiting with children there are plenty of exciting areas for them to play in – be sure to explore the interactive area outside the Baillie Gifford Story Box and get a selfie with our giant books there and on George Street.

Catch an afternoon event like James MacMillan, Howard Jacobson or Sofie Hagen, followed by one of our daily free readings in the Amnesty International Imprisoned Writers Series which puts the plight of persecuted writers centre stage.

As we head into the evening, make your way to the Edinburgh Gin Bar in the heart of the Gardens for a tipple and catch Over a Gin With, a nightly impromptu reading or performance from one of our Festival authors. Before you know it, it’ll be time to head into The Spiegeltent for Unbound with Edinburgh Gin – drop in any time between 9pm and 11.00pm to revel in the playfulness of our free nightly literary cabaret.


Girl , Edna O’Brien’s hotly anticipated new novel, envisages the lives of the Boko Haram girls in a masterpiece of violence and tenderness.

I was a girl once, but not anymore.

So begins Girl, Edna O’Brien’s harrowing portrayal of the young women abducted by Boko Haram. Set in the deep countryside of northeast Nigeria, this is a brutal story of incarceration, horror, and hunger; a hair-raising escape into the manifold terrors of the forest; and a descent into the labyrinthine bureaucracy and hostility awaiting a victim who returns home with a child blighted by enemy blood. From one of the century’s greatest living authors, Girl is an unforgettable story of one victim’s astonishing survival, and her unflinching faith in the redemption of the human heart. (less)

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