Sponsorship makes schools book festival free for all

The Edinburgh International Book Festival has announced that this year’s Schools Programme will be entirely free thanks to the generosity of long-term Lead Sponsor Baillie Gifford.

In addition to all tickets being free, every child attending in person will receive a free book, and free online resources will be made available on the Book Festival’s Learning site.

Aimed at welcoming young people back into the fold of literature and live events after the two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic, the Baillie Gifford Schools Programme will run from the 22 – 30 August and is available to all primary and secondary school children.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival team are also delighted to announce that all authors appearing in this year’s line-up will be there in person, live on stage.

However, keeping health, safety and accessibility front of mind and reflecting the current climate, the programme will be wholly hybrid, meaning all events will be streamed live and be made available to watch on-demand on the Book Festival’s website.

To ensure all schools and pupils can attend, regardless of location and financial means, Baillie Gifford will also be supporting the Edinburgh International Book Festival Transport Fund, which helps lift significant barriers for many schools across the region by facilitating affordable travel to and from the festival site.

Rachel Fox, Children and Schools Programme Director, said: ‘We are over the moon to be able to offer every child of school age, from in and around Edinburgh and regardless of circumstance or financial means, the opportunity to engage with what we do – it really is a dream come true.

‘While the world has been shut down, our young people are some of those who have suffered the most, so to be able to offer an entirely live and in-person programme, completely free, really is something very special. That said, we are also aware that the pandemic is far from over, so we are also excited to be able to offer a fully digital programme for those who cannot attend in-person. We are so grateful to Baillie Gifford for making this possible.’

Michelle McLeod, sponsorship manager at Baillie Gifford, said: ‘The Schools Programme is an excellent way for schools to inspire and engage young people in books, and develop their love for reading. The festival team have worked incredibly hard to develop a wholly hybrid programme for schools, making it easy for any primary or secondary to take part. Our partnership has always been one of collaboration and we are delighted to support the festival’s ambitions, helping to remove barriers for schools and pupils so they can fully enjoy the magic that the festival brings”.

The line-up for the Edinburgh International Book Festival Baillie Gifford Schools Programme will be announced on Wednesday, 27 April. Tickets can be booked from Tuesday 3 May.

The Baillie Gifford Schools Programme enables children to participate in one of the world’s leading book festivals. This year, Baillie Gifford is also making it possible for all schools to attend entirely free of charge – and all pupils attending in person will receive a free book during their visit too. Additional schools who watch the events online can also enter a giveaway to receive free books for their school library.

Founded in 1908, Baillie Gifford & Co is an Edinburgh based independent investment management firm who employs more than 1,600 people. The firm plays an active role in the community and supports projects in education, social inclusion and the arts.