A message from Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival


Film star Bryan Cox and his wife with Bill Paterson at Edinburgh Book Festival. Picture by Bill Heaney

It is with great sadness that I have to tell you the Edinburgh International Book Festival will not take place in August this year due to the risks surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is not a decision we have taken lightly. However the safety of our authors, audiences, supporters, staff and suppliers, and also that of the people who live and work in our wonderful city, is of paramount importance. It probably doesn’t come as too much of a surprise given the extraordinary challenges we are all facing and will likely face for some time to come.

I’m sure many of you will be as heartbroken as we are. So often you tell us the Book Festival in August is a highlight of your year, and it feels very strange that our marvellous tented village of joyful, inspiring, thought-provoking events won’t be taking place in 2020. We will certainly miss seeing everyone coming together in Charlotte Square Gardens.

We very much hope to be able to programme a series of online events to take place this summer. We don’t know yet if this will be possible, or what form it might take, but offering a place where writers can share their stories, ideas and perspectives with others is what we do, and we’ll be exploring the options available to us to help writers continue to connect with readers.
We will be back! The Edinburgh International Book Festival is an integral part of Scotland’s cultural life, and we will return next year. In the meantime, please keep reading and please keep supporting your local independent bookshops, many of whom are offering a mail order or door drop delivery service.
Keep an eye on our social media channels: we’ll continue to keep you updated. You can watch a huge range of past Book Festival events on our YouTube channel and listen to event podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Acast and Spotify, all free. Something stimulating to while away the hours of isolation.
We very much look forward to seeing you all next year.
Look after each other and stay safe.

Nick Barley, Director

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