Edinburgh By The Book

Edinburgh Castle (photo by David Monniaux)

The hugely popular Edinburgh Book Festival has unveiled its 2010 program. The annual bibliophilic love fest is being held in the beautiful Charlotte Square Gardens from August 14th through the 30th and is expected to draw more tha 250,000 visitors. With an abundance of prize-winning authors—Pulitzer, Booker, Orange and Costa—as well as Nobel and Poet Laureates and nearly 800 other writers from 50 nations, this year’s festival has something for every book lover.

The festival launches on Saturday August 14th with Philip Pullman debating his controversial, re-imagined story of Christianity, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, with Richard Harries, the former Bishop of Oxford. The festival was scheduled to close on Monday August 30 with an appearence by Jose Saramago, the first Portuguese language Nobel Laureate in literature, but the author died unexpectedly last Friday.

A 2010 festival highlight will be the first-ever Short Story Project for which the festival has commissioned 50 British authors to write stories based on the theme “Elsewhere”. The festival website has posted the first five stories by Louise Welsh, A L Kennedy, Allan Radcliffe and Eleanor Thom.

Scott Memorial

In another innovation, the festival is also introducing a free, unticketed mini-fringe festival called “Unbound”, which will include a mix of readings, performances, music and “a healthy dose of the unexpected”. Unbound will take place nightly at the Highland Park “Spiegeltent”.

If you can’t wait until August, West Port (Edinburgh’s Soho) neighborhood holds its own Book Festival this week, from June 24th through the 27th. The events are being held at 10 venues around West Port, including the beloved Edinburgh Books shop, Old Town Books, The Illicit Still and the Wee Red Bar. For more information visit the festival website.

Ian Rankin & Ruth Rendell 2009 Festival

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