This brilliant theatrical journey into books returns, bringing stories to life in the most unexpected ways right in front of your eyes. This year we have lined up events featuring hip hop, opera, music and more, plus special performances involving artists from Rwanda, South Africa, Australia, and of course Edinburgh. Our partnership with the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh continues with special one-off performances exploring three of the most interesting books of recent years: Isabel Greenberg’s graphic novel The One Hundred Nights of Hero; Mexican superstar Yuri Herrera and his noir classic Signs Preceding the End of the World; and Scotland’s own literary leading light Ali Smith with her much-loved How to Be Both.
The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg
A THEATRICAL EXPLORATION
Saturday 11 August 17:15 - 18:45
A gorgeous follow-up to her graphic novel The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, Isabel Greenberg’s The One Hundred Nights of Hero is set in the same world. It's a rich tapestry of folk tales and myths highlighting a secret legacy of female storytellers. We have partnered with Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum Theatre and playwright Ella Hickson to produce a short theatrical response to the graphic novel, with actors, a musician and a director. Greenberg then joins them on stage to discuss her work.
Comhairle nan Leabhraichean
GAELIC BOOKS COUNCIL: 50 YEARS
Saturday 11 August 19:00 - 20:00
The Gaelic Books Council celebrates 50 years of Gaelic writing and publishing this year. Join them for a showcase event and immerse yourself in a cornucopia of images, songs, music and Gaelic literary readings. With a star-studded line-up, this promises to be a hugely enjoyable hour of Book Festival entertainment, hosted by television and radio presenter Cathy MacDonald. This event is in Gaelic. Simultaneous translation available.
AN INTERACTIVE THEATRE EXPERIENCE
We’ve partnered with acclaimed Glasgow-based theatre company Visible Fictions to present a meticulously crafted dramatic interactive theatre experience, created by Dougie Irvine and Cameron Hall.
Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to crack the code! Someone is missing but have they left messages behind? Set in amongst the shelves and books at Edinburgh’s Central Library, your task is to piece together the story using all the clues you can find. Are they hidden in books, on index cards, scribbled on the back of an old photograph? Get thoroughly immersed in the performance by working together to gather the information. But what is the truth and who’s watching you?
Bring your curiosity and critical faculties and get ready to become part of the performance. This fascinating experience will have you thinking twice about our relationship with social media and artificial intelligence. Suitable for anyone aged 12+.
Monday 13 August 14:00 - 15:30 / 18:00 - 19:30
Tuesday 14 August 14:00 - 15:30 / 18:00 - 19:30
Wednesday 15 August 14:00 - 15:30 / 18:00 - 19:30
Thursday 16 August 10:30 - 12:00 / 14:30 - 16:00
Friday 17 August 10:30 - 12:00 / 14:30 - 16:00
Saturday 18 August 10:30 - 12:00 / 14:30 - 16:00 / 16:30 - 18:00
Monday 20 August 14:00 - 15:30 / 18:00 - 19:30
Tuesday 21 August 14:00 - 15:30 / 18:00 - 19:30
Wednesday 22 August 14:00 - 15:30 / 18:00 - 19:30
Thursday 23 August 10:30 - 12:00 / 14:30 - 16:00
Friday 24 August 10:30 - 12:00 / 14:30 - 16:00
Saturday 25 August 10:30 - 12:00 / 14:30 - 16:00
How to be Both by Ali Smith
A THEATRICAL EXPLORATION
Saturday 18 August 16:30 - 18:00How to be Both by Ali Smith
Brave, innovative and multi award-winning, Ali Smith’s How to Be Both is the dual-narrative novel that confirms her as one of Britain’s most talented living writers. In this special partnership with the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, theatre-makers Julie Taudevin and Claire Duffy work with actors and a musician to create a 45-minute live performance inspired by the book. Afterwards, they are joined on stage by Ali Smith to discuss her unforgettable novel.
Doctors of Philosophy by Muriel Spark
A THEATRICAL PERFORMANCE
Sunday 19 August 17:30 - 20:00
Several of Spark’s novels have been adapted for theatre and film, but Doctors of Philosophy is the only one written specifically for the stage. In partnership with the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh we present a rehearsed reading of the entire play in a special one-off performance edited by David Greig and directed by Marilyn Imrie. Hardly ever seen on stage since its London premiere in 1962, this astonishing piece of theatre demonstrates Spark at the peak of her powers. In a London theatre-world dominated by ‘angry young men’, a sophisticated play by a Scottish middle-class woman gained little traction in the 1960s. Its time has finally come.
Adapting Fat Boy Swim
A PERFORMANCE WITH SONGS
Friday 24 August 18:30 - 20:00
Cathy Forde's young adult novel Fat Boy Swim is being adapted into a stunning piece of musical theatre by Visible Fictions Theatre Company. Today is your chance to see some scenes and musical numbers from the play, performed by actors. Afterwards, the award-winning author Cathy Forde, director Dougie Irvine from Visible Fictions, and composer Michael John McCarthy discuss taking the book from page to stage to musical incarnation.
Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera
A THEATRICAL EXPLORATION
Saturday 25 August 18:30 - 20:00
Mexican novelist Yuri Herrera's Signs Preceding the End of the World charts the border between Mexico and the USA; a political hot potato since Donald Trump's election. Today, in a co-production with Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum Theatre, we present a theatrical exploration of scenes from the novel, created with a director and playwright Linda McLean, followed by a discussion with members of the creative team.
Sunday 26 August 19:00 - 20:00
Musician Gaël Faye made a startling impression with his novel Petit Pays, the moving account of a boy growing up in Burundi, before genocide destroys his family in neighbouring Rwanda and civil war erupts at home. To mark its publication in English, we present a musical storytelling of Faye’s Small Country. Rwandan musician Samuel Kamanzi joins Gaël Faye, actor Thierry Lawson and the book’s translator Sarah Ardizzone, in a performance of haunting music and vibrant accounts in English and French. Come and witness the acclaimed novel brought to life.
While we take every opportunity to ensure the details for Edinburgh International Book Festival Themes: Playing with Books are accurate, we always advise that you contact the event organiser before setting out for the event to avoid disapointment.
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