JEREMY CORBYN, Nicola Sturgeon and Chelsea Clinton are to take part in events at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival (EIBF).
The Labour leader is to be involved in a discussion on “whether the current form of globalised capitalism is forcing democracy towards its ultimate demise” with former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.
Scotland’s First Minister, a regular at the festival, will be in conversation with author Ali Smith in a festival strand named Women Talking and Ms Clinton will discuss inspiring women and children.
Nelson Mandela’s daughter Zindzi and great-grandchildren Zazi and Ziwelene will discuss his life and legacy in a talk marking the 100th anniversary of his birth.
The same anniversary for Muriel Spark will see a series of theatre shows and events celebrating the writer’s work.
More than 50 writers from around the world have also been commissioned by festival organisers to write essays on freedoms around topics such as race, religion, sexuality and immigration to form the basis of discussions.
EIBF director Nick Barley said: “The book festival in Edinburgh is an unbeatable place for meeting inspiring people and sharing big ideas.
“This year’s programme brings together writers whose experiences will truly change our way of looking at the world: from the emerging Rwandan-Burundian superstar Gael Faye to the legend of Kenyan writing Ngugi wa Thiong’o, this is the most international of festival programmes – but one that also proudly celebrates its Scottish history and context.”
Other famous authors appearing at the festival include Philip Pullman, Judith Kerr, David Walliams, Sir Chris Hoy, Julia Donaldson and Harry Hill.
American actor Rose McGowan will appear in a talk about identity with broadcaster Afua Hirsch while journalist Robert Peston, Lib Dem deputy Jo Swinson and EU campaigner Gina Miller will also appear in a range of discussions.
For Lord of the Rings fans the last work by JRR Tolkein, The Fall of Gondolin, will have its global launch at the festival, with illustrator Alan Lee appearing.
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “This year’s programme – with its focus on freedom and its wide-ranging offer of compelling talks and events – is sure to stimulate debate and intrigue audiences, raising Scotland’s cultural profile on the international stage.
“Public funding for the arts and culture sector is vital for the thriving of Scotland’s talented artists and companies.
“That is why over the last ten years the Scottish Government has provided over £1.1 million to the Book Festival through the Festivals Expo Fund, enabling creative writers to push the boundaries and make international connections.”