The Edinburgh International Book Festival unveils this year’s programme

Published On June 14, 2017 | By Joe Gordon | Books, Comics, News

Yesterday I was at the launch for this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival programme, and have been happily thumbing through the programme to pick out some of the SF&F and comics-related events of special interest to us. And equally happily checking out the legions of other events – there are a thousand events this year. Yes, a thousand events, you read that correctly, book lover – authors and artists from some fifty countries, all at the world’s largest literary festival, covering comics, picture books for kids, novel, poetry, science, history, biography, politics, art, there are events crossed over with other artforms, including music. A reader’s paradise…

In the children’s programme I’m delighted to see one of our faves on the blog returning yet again, the brilliant Neill Cameron, who will be explaining how to create your own comics. Also returning are French comics and children’s book creator Barroux, and another of our faves, Sarah McIntyre, will also return (one of my abiding memories of the young people’s programme at the book fest is watching a happy gaggle of children following her across the gardens, Sarah in costume, naturally, from their event to the signing tent, like some artistic Pied Piper), and for a second events Sarah will be joined by her regular partner in crime, Philip Reeve. The wonderful Julia Donaldson also returns, along with some of her artistic collaborators such as Axel Scheffler. Another of our faves, Glasgow’s Metaphrog return to the book fest once more with their achingly beautiful The Little Mermaid (reviewed here). And of course that’s just scratching the surface, picking out some comics and picture book faves, please do check the full programme, there are so many events to encourage and inspire youngsters.

(a page from Metaphrog’s The Little Mermaid, published by PaperCutz)

Over on the big person’s side of the programme I am really pleased to see one of my favourite authors (and a book festival regular), Ken MacLeod, is a guest selector, and Ken has picked out some excellent SF&F and horror scribes, including Nalo Hopkinson, Ada Palmer, Charlie Stross, Jo Walton, Adam Roberts, and Stephen Baxter. ¬†Matt Haig, whose work I’ve enjoyed, will be discussing his new book How To Stop Time, which has already seen Benedict Cumberbatch signed up for a film adaptation. Comics scribe, novelist and now film screenwriter (and all round fine chap), Mike Carey returns to discuss his astonishingly atmospheric The Boy on the Bridge (reviewed here), on a double header with the equally fine Joe Hill, who will be discussing his latest work, The Fireman, and the great Joanne Harris is back with her Norse-inspired fantasy. You can read a review of Ken’s novel Dissidence and a report on his 2016 Book Festival event here on the blog.

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2015 - Ken MacLeod 02
(Ken MacLeod at the 2015 Edinburgh International Book Festival, pic from my Flickr)

On the comics and illustration front the fortieth anniversary of 2000 AD is marked with an event with former Thargs Steve McManus and David Bishop, novelist Stef Penney explores Modesty Blaise, the superb Chris Riddell is back once more (performing poetry with illustration alongside much-loved bard Roger McGough). Hannah Berry and Sarah Laing will be discussing their latest graphic novels (a review of Hannah’s Livestock can be found here on the blog). I had the pleasure of chairing Rob Davis last time he visited the festival for The Motherless Oven, this year he’s back to discuss the next in the series, The Can Opener’s Daughter (reviewed here) and he’s joined by Scottish comics scribe David Baillie, who will be talking about his excellent Red Thorn series for DC’s Vertigo imprint (you can read a Director’s Commentary guest post by David here).

Edinburgh Book Festival 2013 - Rob Davis & Martin Rowson 05
(Rob Davis, with Martin Rowson, at the 2013 Edinburgh International Book Festival, pic from my Flickr)

The Edinburgh International Book Festival runs from the 12th to the 28th of August; as I mentioned at the start, the already large programmes of the past has been increased to a thousand events this year, and this is just a tiny slice focusing on our geek-centric events – there are hundreds of events for adults, kids and teens to explore. Not to mention the fact just hanging out with a drink or an ice-cream in one of the literary-themed deckchairs in Charlotte Square is a pleasure in itself. As ever I hope to report on some of these events on here come August, so stay tuned. Meantime check out the website for the full, massive 2017 programme.

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About The Author

Joe Gordon

Joe Gordon is’s chief blogger, which he set up in 2005. Previously, he was professional bookseller for over 12 years as well as a lifelong reader and reviewer, especially of comics and science fiction works.

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