The Edinburgh International Book Festival continues to deliver brilliant events and invigorating projects across Scotland thanks to the incredible support of our players. This year's Book Festival – the largest public event of its kind in the world - welcomes everyone for 17 days of inspiring events with some of the best writers, musicians and artists around. The Festival aims to engage audiences of all backgrounds and circumstances with events, workshops, activity sessions, debates and more.
Funding from People's Postcode Lottery players, which totals over £1 Million to date, enables the Book Festival to take vibrant and varied events out of Charlotte Square Gardens and around the country throughout the year. The Book Festival On The Road seeks to foster learning and understanding through book-related activities for people of all ages and abilities. This aims to instil a love of books and reading for enjoyment in participants, and to help bring books and stories to life for people in their own communities.
With this support, the Book Festival On The Road has been able to take many forms - from a series of community conversation sessions, long-term residency projects and small festivals in each of the five Scottish New Towns, to major events in the capital throughout the year.
A festival in Glenrothes in May this year welcomed over 3,500 attendees, including families and school groups, to events involving authors like Val McDermid, Judy Murray, and Chris Brookmyre. Around 2,000 attending school pupils from the area were gifted a free book related to the event they went to, helping start or continue many children's journeys in literature.
Across 2017, 3,451 pupils attended events in their local area, many coming from among the most deprived places in the country – and 91% of them said the experience made them more interested in engaging with culture in future.
This August, a major priority of the Book Festival On The Road is a series of events in Scotland's prisons, including some which bring children's authors into visitor rooms so prisoners can share the experience of a Book Festival event with their families. Pam Simpson, Family Centre Manager of HMP Grampian, said the events have "been found to be one of the main ways to reduce reoffending when a prisoner is released".
Following an event for adult prisoners at HMP Grampian in 2017, an attendee said the experience made them feel recognised as human beings. This positive reaction has led the Festival to expand the programme to more than ten events this summer, involving authors including Ben Okri, Debi Gliori, and Jason Reynolds.
Thanks to funding from our players, the Edinburgh International Book Festival is able to be shared by people across Scotland, whatever their age, location, economic, or social circumstances. This year's Book Festival takes place from 11th to 27th August.