All Things Scotland at the Book Festival this August

With over 600 events at the Book Festival this year, narrowing down what to see can be a challenge. So, over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing roadmaps through the 2023 programme to guide you through events you might have missed.

This week we’re focussing on all things Scotland. Not the haggis-hairy-cows-and-wee-Jimmy-hats Scotland of tourist shops. More, Scotland as we know and love it: a rich, multi-faceted place, a place of culture and innovation and landscapes that will send a thrill down your spine. We’re sure that something here will spark your curiosity. Read on to find out.

Note: Click the images for full details of each event.
For lovers of music and landscape

How does the Scottish landscape inspire authors, poets, and songwriters? What are the places that have shaped our identities and how do they figure in the art we create? Both of these unique events bring together writers and musicians to explore these questions and more.

Amy Liptrot & Karine Polwart: Creating (with) a Sense of Place
Fri 18 Aug  |  17:00 – 18:00 
Merryn Glover & Hamish Napier: In a New Light
Tue 22 Aug  |  15:15 – 16:15
For the history buffs
These three events feature writers telling fascinating stories – both true and re-imagined – about the past.
Lisa Croft, Willy Maley, Jennie Renton & Tam Watters: ¡No Pasaran!
Tues 15 Aug  |  11:45 – 12:45
Hear the co-authors of this remarkable biography of four British men, three of them Scottish, who enlisted and fought in the Spanish Civil War.
Flora Fraser: On Flora Macdonald
Fri 25 Aug  |  13:30 – 14:30
Join us to hear historical biographer Flora Fraser discuss the adventure, courage, and drive of sometimes-overlooked Scottish legend, Flora Macdonald.
David Greig & Alan Warner: Scottish Legends Retold  
Wed 16 Aug  |  13:30 – 14:30
Bonnie Prince Charlie and St Columba like you’re never heard them before. Hear both novelists discuss their thrilling reimaginings of classic Scottish tales with Sally Magnusson.
For those with their finger on the pulse
This year, our programme features 13 alumni of the New Writers Award: an annual award from the Scottish Book Trust that supports emerging writers to develop their craft. Since its inception in 2009, many of the awardees have become key figures in the Scottish literary scene, including:
Nadine Aisha Jassat
Sat 12 Aug, Mon 14 Aug, Wed 23 Aug
Kirsty Logan
Mon 28 Aug
Martin MacInnes
Sat 12 Aug
Rachelle Atalla
Mon 14 Aug, Sat 19 Aug
If you’re an emerging writer yourself, applications are currently open for 2024 New Writers Award (deadline Wed 19 July). Find more events by the awardees here:
Hear from Scotland’s rising stars
For children and teens
From Scots and Gaelic Bookbugs for ages 0-3, to Spectacular Scottish Women for ages 7-10, to Growing up Lost in Song for ages 14+, there are events for all ages in our programme, including:
Theresa Breslin: Ten Monarchs, Ten Legends  
Fri 25 Aug  |  13:45 – 14:45Discover Scotland’s most famous monarchs in an event that brings to life fascinating characters from Scotland’s past. Age 7-10.
Chae Strathie: Spectacular Scotland  
Sat 26 Aug  |  11:15 – 12:15Bloody battles, magical myths, and gruesome ghosts – Scotland has it all! Join Chae as he takes you on a tour of Scotland and discover the secrets that make it so special. Age 8-12.
Growing Up Lost In Song with Catriona Child & Emma Grae
Tue 15 Aug  |  17:30 – 18:30Join the authors of The Tongue She Speaks and Fade Into You for an event about growing up in Scotland and the alternative music of the 90s and early 2000s. Age 14+.
And that’s all for this week. Keep an eye on your inbox next week for another roadmap through the programme, or find our full list of events online: here. Before we sign off…
Are you interested in learning more about fiction?

What makes a great novel? How can we best appreciate works of fiction? Answer these questions and more with this free short online course from The University of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Using examples from a range of texts including the four novels shortlisted for the 2023 James Tait Black fiction prize, you’ll discover four of the main building blocks of modern fiction on this four-week course.

Plot: Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
Dialogue: Bolla by Pajtim Statovci
Characterisation: Bitter Orange Tree by Jokha Alharthi
Setting: After Sappho by Selby Wynn Schwartz

Uncover the depths of fiction and enrol on “How to Read a Novel” now.

Enrol Here
We can’t wait to welcome you next month, August 12-28! See you soon.
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