Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Game of Thrones author George RR Martin to make debut at Edinburgh book festival

George RR Martin Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption George RR Martin is to make his debut at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this summer

Game of Thrones author George RR Martin is to make his debut at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this year.

The writer of the books on which the TV series is based will be discussing the latest Game of Thrones developments.

Martin Amis will be launching his new novel set in a concentration camp, and Haruki Murakami will be unveiling the English translation of his latest book.

The festival in Charlotte Square Gardens runs from Saturday 9 August to Monday 25 August.

The festival will offer a "crucial forum for dialogue" in a momentous year for Scotland, organisers said as they launched the programme.

More than 900 participants from around the world will travel to Scotland's capital to take part in the event, which has the theme "Let's talk".

Outlander creator Diana Gabaldon is also among the international writers making their festival debut.

Image caption Richard Dawkins was one of the 50 events to sell out at last year's book festival

Others launching new books include Will Self, Sarah Waters, Esther Freud and Nicholas Parsons.

Among the familiar faces returning to the festival are Jung Chang, Margaret Drabble, Richard Dawkins, Max Hastings and Lydia Davis - who makes her first visit to the UK since winning the Man Booker International Prize.

Festival director Nick Barley said: "The book festival provides a crucial forum for dialogue, where we can listen to and learn from one another, particularly in this year of momentous events in Scotland.

"Our thought-provoking conversations with both authors and audiences will permeate through Charlotte Square Gardens as we welcome world-renowned writers and thinkers from many countries and cultures to Edinburgh, some for the first time in their careers.

"We offer a platform for emerging voices that are set to shape the world's literary stage in years to come and launch some of the most talked-about books of the year.

"Whatever the outcome of the (independence) vote on 18 September, we provide a space to view the coming changes from the wider context of the historical events that brought us to where we are today - from the Battle of Bannockburn to the end of World War One and the British Empire, the creation of the Commonwealth, the recent economic hardships and even last month's European elections."

Political perspectives

Poetry also features in the programme, with former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams previewing a new collection of his work.

Tom Pow and Simon Armitage introduce new collections, and are joined in the programme by the former US poet laureate Billy Collins, UK poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy and American war poet Brian Turner.

Broadcaster Kate Adie will deliver the annual Frederick Hood Memorial Lecture.

A series of evening debates, or "dialogues", will invite wide-ranging discussions on topics including the union and the implications of the referendum vote for the rest of the UK, energy and ageing, while events in the Scotland's Future strand invite leading writers and thinkers from a variety of political perspectives to sketch out their vision of Scotland after the vote.

Scottish writers appearing in the programme include Kirsty Wark, James Naughtie and former first minister Henry McLeish, while the international line-up features South Africans Damon Galgut and Zakes Mda, and Germany's Julia Franck.

The Baillie Gifford Children's Programme celebrates stories in many forms - music, song, poetry and illustration.

Writers appearing include children's laureate Malorie Blackman, Julia Donaldson, Patrick Ness, Kristina Stephenson, Darren Shan and Cathy Cassidy.

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