The city has rich links to the words and works of some of the most celebrated writers who have ever lived. Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Muriel Spark, Irvine Welsh, Alexander McCall Smith, Ian Rankin and JK Rowling are just a handful of the many authors with connections to Edinburgh, so it is only appropriate that Edinburgh plays host to the largest book festival in the world.

Each August over 800 events for adults and children are held over three weeks, when international writers, poets and musicians arrive to engage audiences in readings, writing workshops, education events, panel discussions, talks and performances.

In 2018, the theme of Freedom – free speech, freedom of movement, freedom of expression and freedom of identity – was explored at events during the festival. With it being the Year of Young People, there was also a programme strand created in collaboration with 8 to 14-year-olds called Codename F, as well as the excellent Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme.

Well known faces to appear at the Edinburgh International Book Festival included Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn, Julia Donaldson, Harry Hill, Brian May and Ann Cleeves, amongst others.


Held in the leafy surroundings of Charlotte Square, the Edinburgh International Book Festival is still something of a newbie compared to others, starting in 1983 and only becoming an annual event in 1997.

The festival initially held 30 meet the author events in its tented village. Recent festivals have featured Margaret Atwood, Yann Martell, George Monbiot, Harold Pinter, Sebastian Faulks, Alan Bennet, Germaine Greer, Susan Sontag, Zadie Smith and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.


Highlights from last year's Edinburgh International Book Festival: