The 2020 Edinburgh Book Festival is up and running and they’ve got a bumper first week planned!
As well as must-see events featuring James Naughtie, Ian Rankin, Hilary Mantel, Julia Donaldson, and Maggie O’Farrell, they announce the Edwin Morgan Prize winner, crown the winners of the James Tait Black Prizes, present the first two events in our thought-provoking New York Times Series, host the penultimate episode in Jackie Kay’s Makar to Makar project, chat to International Booker Prize-longlisters – and loads more!
Remember, there is no limit to the number of events you can attend during the 2020 Festival. Browse more than 140 events in our programme, then save your place and receive reminders for any events you want to see. Alternatively, find an event in our programme that interests you and click the videoplayer button to be taken to the streaming page – then sit back and wait for showtime.
You’ll even have the opportunity to chat to audience members in the digital chatroom and take part in author Q&A sessions (for selected events only) from 30 minutes before the event starts. To ensure your Festival viewing experience is as pleasant as possible, make sure you are using an up-to-date browser – we recommend Firefox, Chrome, Microsoft Edge or Safari, which are all downloadable for free online.
Sunday 16 August
- In 2015, acclaimed writer and lawyer Raja Shehadeh presented a series of events at the Book Festival which explored the past, present and future of the Middle East – culminating in the publication of Shifting Sands. Five years on, Shehadeh brings together several of the book’s contributors to revisit their ideas.
- In a live event, Amelia Gentleman expands on The Windrush Betrayal, her Orwell Prize-winning journalism that fearlessly probes the morality of modern Britain.
- Double Booker Prize-winner Hilary Mantel joins us from her home in Devon to discuss The Mirror and The Light, the final novel in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy.
In case you miss any of our livestreamed events, the majority of events will also be available to watch on demand via the event pages on our website, and the day after the event on our YouTube channel.
Monday 17 August
- Following his acclaimed trilogy about the 1960s American soul music scene, much-loved Scottish broadcaster and writer Stuart Cosgrove discusses his latest American post-war era book, Cassius X: Six Months That Shaped the Sixties, with Val McDermid.
- Two extraordinary poets, Mojave American and Latinx poet Natalie Diaz and Mununjali Yugambeh poet Ellen van Neerven, come together in a powerful conversation about First Nations voices, race and racism, sexual identity and belonging.
Tuesday 18 August
- Ekow Eshun, the former director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, explores the idea that African identity is reflected in its contemporary art and culture and offers a fresh understanding of the experience of ‘African-ness’ for the 21st century.
- Baillie Gifford Prize-winner Philippe Sands is interviewed by Ian Rankin about his new book The Ratline, which tells the true story of Otto Von Wächter, a Nazi indicted for mass murder in 1945 who evaded capture and survived as a fugitive in the Austrian Alps.
Wednesday 19 August
- Val McDermid and Jo Sharp host acclaimed writers Ali Smith, Cameron McNeish, Jo Clifford and Leila Aboulela for conversation and readings from their fascinating and eclectic new collection Imagine A Country.
- Ugandan short story writer and novelist Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi shares her latest novel The First Woman, described by Caine Prize-winner Namwali Serpell as a “feminist coming-of-age classic for the ages”.
- Thursday 20 August
- In the penultimate edition of the charming lockdown project Makar to Makar, Scots Makar Jackie Kay and musician Suzanne Bonnar are joined by US poet laureate Joy Harjo for a poignant reflection on what it means to be the artistic voice of a nation.
- American writer Garth Greenwell expands on his new novel Cleanness, a searing examination of foreignness, intimacy, memory and desire.
Friday 21 August
- In this special live event, we’ll be announcing the winners of the James Tait Black Prizes, the UK’s longest-running literary prize – awarded by the University of Edinburgh – and celebrating the year’s best works of fiction and biography.
Scottish sensation Kirstin Innes dissects how she ended up creating new novel Scabby Queen, her state-of-the-nation meditation that counts Ian Rankin and Nicola Sturgeon amongst its fans.