There’s a new venue and a new format for Edinburgh’s renowned International Book Festival as the traditional site in Charlotte Square Gardens has been swapped for Edinburgh College of Art on Lauriston Place.

Welcome. © 2021 J.L.Preece

With a new venue/format/etc. come a few new ideas, some driven by the different arrangements required due to Covid – most measures, obviously, had to be decided upon before the Scottish Government’s decisions on ‘opening up’ were known – and some, possibly, just because…

Chief amongst these is the installation of a giant video screen in the outside area, which was showing a presentation by Julia Donaldson, based on stories in her children’s books, at the time of visiting. Considering the early hour, it was reasonably well attended with the little ones, and some big ones, being fairly enthralled.

The play area, the big screen and some big books… © 2021 J.L.Preece

There are also a variety of seating areas, some under cover and some not. There’s a new play area for when those little ones get bored of looking at the big screen. Dotted around the courtyard are a number of food and drink options – you are welcome to ‘bring your own – as well as an indoor Café with ramped access. And, of course, the all important, toilets.

Some of those refreshment areas. © 2021 J.L.Preece

Oh, and the shop is now indoors in the old Fire Station.

From a press photographer’s point of view, the new – that word again – photography area is under a huge tree, on top of a mound and fully open to the public gaze, not hidden away ’round the back’, as with previous iterations.

The new, open for all to see, photography area. No skulking away this year… © 2021 J.L.Preece

The ‘theme’ this year is to present the, more-or-less, willing vict… eh, authors in pairs, on and around a giant, open book. Only time will tell…

However, it’s only Day 1, so plenty of time to evolve if required.

On your way out? Go buy some books. © 2021 J.L.Preece

Full information on where it is, how to get there and what to do once you’re there, how to book events, Covid security… In fact everything you need to know about EIBF 2021 can be found here. Enjoy your visit.