THE 2017 Edinburgh International Book Festival has seen a record footfall of 250,000.
The figure is the largest in the festival’s 35-year history and a significant increase on 2016.
Ticket sales were up over 4% and book sales grew by more than 5%, with over 63,000 books sold in 17 days.
Nasty Women, published by Scottish publisher 404 Ink, was the bestseller of the fest.
Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival said “It’s wonderful to see that our extension into George Street has attracted new audiences, while allowing us to retain all the spirit and vigour of the Book Festival’s beating heart in Charlotte Square Gardens.
This year’s festival line-up has featured a huge variety of authors, comedians and politicians from across the globe.
Sold out events included talks by Paul Auster, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in conversation with Nicola Sturgeon, Elif Shafak, Jackie Kay, Judy Murray, Richard Ford with Kirsty Wark and David Mitchell combining words and music with concert pianist and composer David Greilsammer.
Award-winning novelist Mitchell, one of the 2017 Guest Selectors, said “The Edinburgh International Book Festival is now a tangible national asset. Out of Charlotte Square director Nick Barley and his team serve up an annual all-you-can-eat banquet of reading diversity, mind-nourishment and creative collaboration. Edinburgh is the equal of any festival of literature, anywhere.”
Cressida Cowell, who launched the first book of her new series at the Festival said, “I have special affection for this festival because How to Train your Dragon was so directly inspired by my childhood on a tiny, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland. Edinburgh audiences are always brilliantly enthusiastic and supportive – I love visiting.”
The Book Festival won a Herald Angel for Outriders. The project, supported by the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund through Creative Scotland, sent five young Scottish writers on adventures across the Americas accompanied by local writers.
All ten writers reunited in Edinburgh in a series of events celebrating their experiences, and also unveiling the creative output inspired by their travels. Jenni Fagan commented “Through the Edinburgh International Book Festival writers find a space to be inspired, connect, argue, debate, form friendships and a literary community — all of these things are so important and I am eternally glad and enriched to be a part of it.”
For a second year, the Book Festival was awarded the Euan’s Guide Most Accessible Pop-Up Festival Venue award, recognising the effort put into ensuring every part of the festival site is accessible to all. Euan’s Guide also awarded the Book Festival their Spirit of Inclusion Award.
Sophie Moxon, Executive Director of the Book Festival, said “This Spirit of Inclusion Award is particularly special. It recognises our people and how we make everybody welcome and make sure all our audience has the best possible experience. It’s because of this that we’re building a community of readers and writers that is truly inclusive.”