Edinburgh International Book Festival Themes: Ideas for Our Times

In this series, sponsored by Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, key writers offer their insights into the major issues of our times.

Edinburgh International Book Festival Themes: Ideas for Our Times

About Edinburgh International Book Festival Themes: Ideas for Our Times

Ideas for Our Times: The Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Event Series

How do we begin to make sense of the times we’re living through? Even before the world was brought to a standstill by the Covid-19 pandemic, the tectonic plates of geopolitical power were shifting, with the USA entering an era of protectionism, China increasingly flexing its economic muscles and both Russia and the European Union struggling to maintain their positions of power. And the biggest challenge of all: how to reverse the catastrophic damage we continue to do to our planet.

We’ve also seen more personal political dramas unfolding. Today it’s identity – ethnicity, gender identity and class – that has increasingly come to occupy the centre stage of public discourse. In this series, sponsored by Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, key writers offer their insights into the major issues of our times.

Olivette Otele & Angela Saini: Pseudoscience and Slavery
Saturday 15 August 16:00 - 17:00
Journalist and historian come together for a conversation with writer and broadcaster Anita Sethi, to reveal the ways in which the history of racism and an understanding of the legacies of slavery have converged with contemporary politics and trends in scientific racism to create a moment of reckoning. An urgent insight into how politics and memory in post-colonial Europe have formed a narrative of race and power that is only now being unpicked.

Shifting Sands, Five Years On: What Future for the Middle East?
Sunday 16 August 13:00 - 14:00
In this unmissable event, Raja Shehadeh and Penny Johnson bring together several of the book’s contributors – historian Khaled Fahmy, journalist Alev Scott, novelist Mai Al-Nakib, sociologist Salim Tamari and historian Avi Shlaim, to revisit their ideas.

Rutger Bregman: There is Hope for the Human Race
Sunday 16 August 16:00 - 17:00
BSLEvent
Bregman's compelling ‘hopeful history,’ Humankind, is a bracingly optimistic account of human nature. Essentially, in his view, the vast majority of people are pretty decent. He contrasts this idea with biologist Frans de Waal’s ‘veneer theory’ which posits that beneath a thin skin of human decency, there’s a savage waiting to burst forth.
In this event Bregman shares his invigorating thesis with Lee Randall.

Amelia Gentleman: Windrush – A Very British Betrayal
Sunday 16 August 19:00 - 20:00
BSLEvent
In The Windrush Betrayal, Amelia Gentleman expands on her Orwell Prize-winning journalism with a page-turner that fearlessly probes the morality of modern Britain, just as we are forced to examine once again who we are, and how we got here.
Amelia Gentleman talks to Matthew Ryder QC, the barrister who represented Stephen Lawrence's family in their claim against the Metropolitan Police.

Frans Timmermans with Gordon Brown: The Way Forward for Europe
Friday 21 August 20:30 - 21:30
BSLEvent
In this special conversation for the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Frans Timmermans sits down with former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown to discuss the politics of environmental change. How much action is needed for meaningful change? What are the roadblocks to genuinely ending Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels? And what does a green recovery from COVID-19 look like?

Christiana Figueres & Tom Rivett-Carnac: How We Can Survive the Climate Crisis
Saturday 22 August 17:30 - 18:30
With next year’s COP26 in Glasgow standing as a make or break moment in the fight against ecological collapse, Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac talk to New York Times international climate reporter Somini Sengupta about the practical ways we can empower ourselves to choose the path of survival — and not a moment too soon.

Anne Applebaum: Democracy Under Siege
Monday 24 August 19:00 - 20:00
Join Anne Applebaum for this event, as she discusses the fractured present and tenuous future of liberal democracy with BBC special correspondent Allan Little.

David Eagleman: A Mind-Blowing Future
Monday 24 August 20:30 - 21:30
BSLEvent
In Livewired: The Inside Story of the Ever-Changing Brain, the Stanford neuroscientist and New York Times bestselling author takes us inside our remarkable minds, breaking down the cutting-edge research that has seen once far-fetched ideas pulled within reach. In this dynamic conversation David Eagleman shares a collection of the most eyebrow-raising case studies from a fascinating career, and awakens us to the vast potential lying dormant behind our very eyes.

Elif Shafak: Writing the World’s Wrongs
Saturday 29 August 20:30 - 21:30
BSLEvent
Join Booker Prize-shortlisted writer Elif Shafak as she reflects on her work and ideas in a typically wide-ranging and enriching discussion. This is a live event, with an author Q&A.

Masha Gessen with Philippe Sands: Facing Down President Putin
Sunday 30 August 13:00 - 14:00
In conversation with award-winning author, QC and Professor of Law Philippe Sands, Masha Gessen reflects on truth and lies, power and corruption, and where 2020 might lead us.

While we take every opportunity to ensure the details for Edinburgh International Book Festival Themes: Ideas for Our Times are accurate, we always advise that you contact the event organiser before setting out for the event to avoid disapointment. All information (whether in text or photographs) is given in good faith but should not be relied upon as being a statement of representation or fact.

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