Val McDermid and Jarvis Cocker set for Edinburgh International Book Festival

As well as in-person events, many will be available to stream online.
As well as in-person events, many will be available to stream online. As well as in-person events, many will be available to stream online.

Writers including Alexander McCall Smith, Val McDermid and Julian Barnes and musician Jarvis Cocker will be among those taking part in the Edinburgh International Book Festival this year.

There will be more than 600 events during the festival in August, which will feature in excess of 550 authors, performers, musicians and thinkers from 50 countries under the banner “All Together Now”.

The programme will build on the hybrid format developed over the past two years of the pandemic, with live, in-person events, many of which will also be available to stream or to watch at a later date.

Those appearing at the festival include Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa, Outlander writer Diana Gabaldon, linguist Noam Chomsky and writer and director Armando Iannucci.

Sir Ian Rankin
Sir Ian Rankin Sir Ian Rankin will take part in the festival (Jane Barlow/PA)

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will join the festival for two events, interviewing writer Louise Welsh about her new novel The Second Cut, and actor Brian Cox about life on the Scottish stage and his role in hit television series Succession.

Nick Barley, director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, said: “We’ve learned a great deal in the last two years, so that alongside the return of our full-scale in-person festival we can also offer the accessibility and international reach of livestreamed events.

“The world has changed immeasurably since 2019: we’re learning to live with the effects of the pandemic and war in Europe – but we’re also beginning to imagine what a better future should look like.

“Exploring these issues in inspiring conversations with scientists, historians, poets and novelists is exactly where the book festival comes into its own.”

Glasgow-born writer Douglas Stuart, who won the Booker Prize with his first novel Shuggie Bain, will be back in Scotland to discuss his next book, Young Mungo, while writers Irvine Welsh, Maggie O’Farrell and Sir Ian Rankin will also be taking part in the festival.

Appearing via screen link from their home countries will be Helen Garner from Australia, and Jonathan Franzen, AM Homes and Jennifer Egan from the US.

There will also be events featuring musicians including Martha Wainwright, Jarvis Cocker, Vashti Bunyan, and Deacon Blue’s Ricky Ross, who will share stories of their journeys through the world of music.

Questions around the role of Europe and the impact of war will be discussed at the festival, with Ukrainian historian Serhii Plokhy among those taking part.

Val McDermid
Val McDermid Val McDermid will be at the festival (John Linton/PA)

There will be non-fiction events considering black perspectives, including Lord Simon Woolley, founder and director of Operation Black Vote and the first black man to lead an Oxbridge college, talking about his life with Baroness Lola Young.

The festival will also feature a range of LGBTQIA+ voices.

Meanwhile the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme will include writers such as Julia Donaldson, Cressida Cowell and Michael Morpurgo.

The book festival, which runs from August 13 to 29, will take place at Edinburgh College of Art again this year and also adds new spaces to accommodate events, such as Central Hall on Lothian Road.

Alan Bett, head of literature and publishing at Creative Scotland, said: “This fantastic 2022 programme once again brings the literary world to Edinburgh, whether in person or online.

“It allows readers and audiences in Scotland to engage with important contemporary themes through the work of the world’s best writers.

“As part of this, Scottish communities, writers and books take their place through innovative programming.

“This includes Scotland Through Time, using sign language, image and performance to look at Scotland’s past, present and future through new books such as Harry Josephine Giles’s innovative Orcadian sci-fi, Deep Wheel Orcadia, and Chitra Ramaswamy’s important new blending of biography and memoir, Homelands.”

Tickets are on sale from 10am on Thursday June 23.