It was announced today that the Edinburgh International Book Festival will remain at the Edinburgh College of Art for this year and next, before moving to a brand new city centre site in 2024.
Building on the success of last year’s hybrid programme, this year the current site will expand, with more room for audiences and more venues.
Last year the Book Festival moved from Charlotte Square for the first time since it began in 1983, marking the beginning of a long-term strategic partnership with the University of Edinburgh.
As part of the partnership, the Book Festival will move to the Edinburgh Futures Institute in 2024, the landmark development on the site of the old Royal Infirmary on Lauriston Place. The University of Edinburgh is transforming this iconic building into a state-of-the-art space for multi-disciplinary collaborations and partnerships, aiming to fulfil the pledge set in stone above the main entrance: ‘patet omnibus’ – open to all.
The philosophy of ‘open to all’ is a longstanding one for the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the move will not only allow it to evolve in the coming years, but also to maintain its high standards of accessibility.
The Edinburgh Futures Institute will give the Book Festival a variety of beautiful, accessible indoor and outdoor areas along with the facilities to stage a hybrid programme of livestreamed and in-person events. It will have ample space to create the atmospheric literary gathering place that audiences and authors have long valued, for socialising, making connections and sparking ideas.
The move will also allow the Book Festival to further develop its programme for adults, children and schools with the possibility of new experiences for authors, audiences and partners.
Nick Barley, Director of Edinburgh International Book Festival, said: “We are hugely excited to be returning to the Edinburgh College of Art in August where we can bring back the buzz of Edinburgh’s best festival years. We’ll build on what we offered last year and look forward to sharing how this lovely, welcoming site can offer unforgettable experiences for audiences and authors.
“We have been working closely with the University of Edinburgh over the past two years and are thrilled that our new permanent home will be the Edinburgh Futures Institute from 2024, an historic building with an all-important ‘village green’ outdoor area which is being developed for everyone to enjoy, and of which our Festival city can be proud.
“It throws up extraordinary, game-changing opportunities for the Book Festival, but importantly – for the first time in our festival’s history – it helps us plan a number of years ahead. The new site will allow us to continue building back our world-renowned programme, while putting accessibility, sustainability and innovation at the core of what we do with an all-important ‘village green’ outdoor area.”
Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, said: “I am delighted that The University of Edinburgh is deepening our partnership with The Edinburgh International Book Festival. We will provide world-class venues and our students and staff will be an intrinsic part of the Festival’s programme, sharing and discussing ideas with audiences from Edinburgh and all over the world.
“We look forward to welcoming book festival-goers to Edinburgh College of Art for the next two years. When the Festival then takes residence in the Edinburgh Futures Institute from 2024, it will help realise the inscription etched onto its wall: ‘Patet Omnibus’, which means ‘Open to All’.”