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Making Voices Heard

Support from our players is helping Edinburgh International Book Festival give a voice to communities across the country
An event taking place at the Spark Theatre on George Street as part of the Edinburgh International Book Festival

The Edinburgh International Book Festival continues to deliver brilliant events and invigorating projects across Scotland thanks to support from players of People's Postcode Lottery. This year's event is already underway, running from 10th August to 26th August.

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, actors, comedians, politicians and thinkers around. The Festival engages audiences of all backgrounds and circumstances with conversation events, workshops, activity sessions, debates and more, as well as hosting an extensive programme for children and families, all in a free-to-enter Festival village.

Funding from People's Postcode Lottery players, which totals over £1.4 Million to date, enables Edinburgh International Book Festival to work with partner organisations and help people across Scotland develop meaningful and inspiring connections with books, stories and writing, giving voice to communities and individuals through their On the Road programme.

The Book Festival launched its latest major ongoing creative programme, Citizen, in late 2018. To date this has seen hundreds of people from across Edinburgh attend events and take part in "life enhancing" discussions, writing workshops and creative activities, including a session with Shetland author Ann Cleeves and a "fabulous event bringing the whole community together" through free food and fun activities at North Edinburgh Arts.

Working With Communities

Working in partnership with community organisations and schools across the city, the Book Festival has appointed two writers-in-residence who have brought people's stories and views on the communities they live in to the fore. Hear these tales as Citizen comes to the Book Festival stage on Tuesday 20th August in a special performance featuring some of the Edinburgh residents who have taken part so far. Attendees can also make their own stories heard in a free day-long drop-in workshop in Charlotte Square Gardens, led by writer-in-residence Eleanor Thom.

The Book Festival's hugely important series of events in Scotland's prisons continues too, and support from players is helping organisers reach more prisons than ever before in 2019. Last year, inmates from Edinburgh, Polmont, Perth and beyond took part in discussion events with authors, including some in family visitor rooms enabling parents and children to enjoy events together. Described as making inmates "feel human for a while" and helping them to "feel like a family again", these events can be genuinely life-altering and have "been found to be one of the main ways to reduce reoffending when a prisoner is released" (Pam Simpson, HMP Grampian). In 2018, 90% of attendees said they felt these prison sessions were important or very important, with 75% saying they were more likely to make use of their prison library service as a result, showing a simple yet powerful positive impact on the day-to-day lives of offenders.

Thanks to funding from players, the Edinburgh International Book Festival continues to be shared by people across Scotland, whatever their age, location, economic or social circumstances.

Published: 19/08/2019

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