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Irvine Welsh and Bernardine Evaristo on book festival line-up

Greta Thunberg, Val McDermid, Chris Brookmyre and First Minister Humza Yousaf will also take part.

Irvine Welsh, Sebastian Faulks and Bernardine Evaristo will be among the writers appearing at the Edinburgh International Book Festival as it marks its 40th year, organisers have announced.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg and authors such as Val McDermid, James Kelman, Ian McEwan and Elif Shafak are also on the line-up for the event in August.

This year’s programme includes nearly 600 live events featuring more than 470 authors, writers and thinkers from 49 countries.

From the world of politics, those taking part will include former prime minister Gordon Brown, Conservative peer and former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, and ex-Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale.

Val McDermid
Crime writer Val McDermid will be among those taking part in the festival (John Linton/PA)

Continuing the tradition of Scotland’s leader conducting an interview at the book festival, First Minister Humza Yousaf will interview Hashi Mohamed, who arrived in Britain as an unaccompanied child refugee from Kenya and is now one of the UK’s leading housing barristers.

Festival director Nick Barley said: “This year’s book festival programme is called The Joy Of Words, and it’s been truly a joy to bring it together.

“My team and I have aimed to build an uplifting festival that is packed with exceptional thinkers from all over the world.

“At a time of polarised opinion and deep divisions, we hope to rediscover the pleasure of conversation; the satisfaction of spending time with people who can offer positive insights into the world today.

“This is my 14th and final programme for the book festival, and I’m very excited by the prospect of 18 days in August with such a cornucopia of brilliant writers.”

Scotland-based authors appearing at the festival include Jenny Colgan, Denise Mina, Chris Brookmyre and Alexander McCall Smith, while Deborah Levy and Katherine Rundell are among other UK writers taking part.

The programme also features three authors who attended the first festival in 1983 – Alistair Moffat, Michael Rosen, and AN Wilson.

Those coming from abroad include the prime minister of Iceland, Katrin Jakobsdottir, who joins Ragnar Jonasson to discuss their crime novel Reykjavik.

This year’s poetry line-up features stars from the US including Claudia Rankine and Eileen Myles, as well as Canadian poet Dionne Brand, while from Britain Zaffar Kunial, Alice Oswald, Liz Lochhead and Carol Ann Duffy are among the poets taking part.

Humza Yousaf
Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf will be interviewing one of the authors (Jeff Mitchell/PA)

Audiences can also hear about memoirs from the likes of Judy Murray, Rob Delaney and Munroe Bergdorf.

There will be plenty for children and young people, with authors including long standing book festival fan Julia Donaldson and children’s laureate Joseph Coelho returning, alongside events featuring the likes of Dapo Adeola and Nathan Bryon, Tracey Corderoy and Steven Lenton.

Rachel Fox, director of the festival’s children’s programme, said: “As well as our animated courtyard performances and character appearances, we have an array of interactive workshops with leading authors, illustrators and comic book creators again this year.

“Children will have the chance to learn how to draw manga, preserve plant specimens, make explosions with food, and write the story of their life (so far) and much, much more.”

The book festival, which runs from August 12-28, is again taking place at the Edinburgh College of Art.

Iain Munro, chief executive of Creative Scotland, said: “Featuring an impressive range of international and homegrown talent, this year’s programme provides an opportunity for people from all walks of life to experience the joy of words.”

Scottish culture minister Christina McKelvie said: “Without words there would be no books so the theme for this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival is well chosen. With the world’s greatest writers and thinkers gathered in Edinburgh, there really is something for everyone.

“The Scottish Government is proud to support the festival as it celebrates its 40th anniversary with £182,500 from our Expo and Place funds.”

Tickets for the festival go on sale on June 29.

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