Edinburgh’s book festival flits to new home

THE Edinburgh International Book Festival is moving from its traditional home in Charlotte Square Gardens to the University of Edinburgh’s College of Art.

This year’s festival will take place from Saturday 14 August to Monday 30 August at the college.

The festival plans to use both indoor and outdoor spaces at the Lauriston Place site.

Organisers said shifting venue would allow them to broadcast talks, readings, and other sessions online, as well as hold in-person events if social-distancing restrictions allow.

Even after the pandemic ends, organisers intend to continue hosting the festival at the college.

Nick Barley, director of the book festival, said: “While we are now experiencing a full lockdown in Scotland which is challenging for so many people on so many levels, we very much hope that the combination of this, together with the ongoing vaccination programme, will bring the virus under control by August.

“While 2020 proved extremely challenging for the book festival it also opened up some extraordinarily exciting opportunities.

“Building on the success of our online Book Festival we can now announce that we will be entering into a new strategic partnership with the University of Edinburgh that will enable us to inhabit this innovative space in 2021 with facilities to create events for both digital and, if circumstances permit, physical audiences.

“In the grassy courtyard of Edinburgh College of Art we will, if rules allow, recreate the elements of the book festival that our audiences love – bookshops, cafes and open spaces in which to come together safely offering the ‘oasis of calm’ for which the book festival is renowned.”

He added: “We intend that this partnership with the university will be a long-term arrangement, and the book festival will continue to occupy their spaces when a covid-free festival, with audiences able to enjoy live events in person, can be staged.

“However digital events will continue to be a key part of future book festivals, enabling us to reach truly global audiences as well as those closer to home who face barriers to attending the event.

“We are excited that our hybrid festivals of the future will engage with authors and audiences around the world in a more environmentally responsible way.”

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