Edinburgh-based writer Maggie O’Farrell. Picture by Bill Heaney

The 2020 Book Festival programme is live!

The wait is over; the 2020 Book Festival online programme is here and this year, we’re inviting authors and audiences from around the world to ‘Keep the Conversation Going’. Join some of the world’s top writers, thinkers, and performers to explore issues affecting us all, such as climate change, gender and identity, racism, and global politics.

From 15-31 August, enjoy 140 events for adults and children for free via our website, including live conversations, panel debates, discussions, readings and draw-alongs. Through the magic of technology, we’ll be crossing continents and time zones to beam events from more than 30 countries straight into your home. What’s more, you’ll be able chat with fellow Festival goers via digital chatrooms and take part in Q&A sessions – plus there’ll be opportunities to meet the author and even get your books signed!
Browse events

Watch our 2020 teaser video!     Award-winning writers in your living room

We’re bringing some of the world’s biggest names to the 2020 Book Festival online. Here’s a snapshot of just some of the unmissable events instore during August: Double Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel discusses the final novel in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy.
Bernadine Evaristo, joint winner of the 2019 Booker Prize, joins Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. David Mitchell, the mind behind the fantastical CloudAtlas, shares his latest novel Utopia Avenue. Turkish author Elif Shafak launches her new polemic How to Stay Sane in an Age of DivisionAli Smith brings us Summer, the remarkable conclusion in her Seasonal Quartet. Arundhati Roy returns to the Book Festival with a thought-provoking new collection of essays. Executive Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans considers the future of Europe alongside former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Not to mention must-see appearances from Marian Keyes, Ian Rankin, Derek Owusu, Val McDermid, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Maggie O’Farrell, Richard Holloway, Maryse Condé, Roger Robinson, Matt Haig, Jackie Kay, Colm McCann, Philippe Sands, Stuart Douglas, and many, many more.   Browse events

Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme

The Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme is jam-packed full of fun, interactive and inspiring events for kids and readers of all ages!
yyoung ones will love: Julia Donaldson bringing her favourite characters to life. Cressida Cowell introducing the latest in her Wizards of Once series. Rob Biddulph, Guinness World Record Holder for the largest online art lesson, showing off his new picture book. Helen Skelton, Lily Dyu, Eilidh Muldoon and Lari Don exploring stories of fantastic female adventurers. Draw-Along activities with illustrators on our Facebook page every morning at 9.30am. And loads more… We have some great YA events too, featuring appearances from famed The Mortal Instruments creator Cassandra Clare; New York Times best-sellling author Nic Stone; award-winning poet Dean Atta; acclaimed debut novelist Liz HyderThe Gender Games author Juno Dawson; and Vlogger and Drag Queen George Lester.

Plus, we’ve created additional resources for teachers and librarians to accompany a number of events across the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme.   Browse events

Online Bookshop 

A Book Festival experience wouldn’t be complete without browsing our Bookshop – so we’ve created our very first online one! Opening soon, it will feature titles from every author in the 2020 programme as well as showcasing a range of books from Scottish publishers. Better still, it will be open 24 hours a day, so you’ll be able to browse until your heart’s content.
Across the Festival, there are a number of online book signings where audience members are offered the opportunity to chat face-to-face with the author and get their books signed. These signings are strictly limited and are available on a first come, first serve basis – so it pays to get in quick. The online Bookshop will be opening soon – keep an eye out for details.     

An interactive Festival experience

  Afraid that you won’t be able to chat with your fellow literature lovers? Fear not! You can mingle with audience members during the events in a digital chat room. Have a question you’d like to ask an author? Post it in the Q&A box during the event and vote on other people’s suggestions. Questions will be passed on to the chair during events with live Q&A sessions. The Chatroom and Questions will open 30 minutes before each event.   Browse the programme

   Win a Luxury Break in Edinburgh

 Here’s your chance to win a luxury break in Edinburgh – the UNESCO City of Literature – thanks to Book Festival online programme sponsor Baillie Gifford! If you win, take the break anytime you choose during 2021. The prize is for two people and includes flights or 1st class return rail travel, three nights in the Waldorf Astoria with breakfast each morning and access to the leisure club, dinner on one night in an award-winning restaurant, a tour of Mary King’s Close and a choice of Edinburgh Bus Tours. To be in with a chance of winning this fantastic prize all you need to do is subscribe to Trust, Baillie Gifford’s free award-winning digital magazine featuring exclusive author interviews, regular giveaways and insightful articles about transforming the way we work and live. 
Terms and condition apply.Enter now     Thank you to all our sponsors and supporters   Staging a Festival of this scale would be unimaginable without the support of a huge group of people and organisations. Our thanks go to each and every one of our sponsors and supporters. You can view who they all are on our supporters board.

If you feel you’d like to make a donation to the Book Festival charity to support our work, you can do so at any time on our website.

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