Spotlight on our Community Programme in August

Preparing for the August Book Festival

This year we are hosting four Citizen events in the August Festival programme, and using our Story Nation programme to take the Festival to those who can’t access it in person or online.



Edinburgh International Book Festival is just around the corner and we’re getting excited for a year of firsts: this is our first ever hybrid Book Festival, with events available to watch in person or online, and it’s also our first year in our new home at Edinburgh College of Art. There are over 250 events to choose from, with something for everyone. From crime writing to poetry, from performances to fun family drawalongs. Make sure you browse the full programme online to find out more. Our online tickets always have a free option, and there are more captioned and BSL-interpreted events than ever this year.

Our Citizen and Story Nation projects continue apace too. We are working to arrange events with authors in different prisons across Scotland, and are planning to deliver workshops in community settings in Edinburgh, including the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and the Streetreads hub, a space dedicated to bringing books and stories to people who have experienced homelessness. The Birks Cinema in Aberfeldy will be screening five of our events for free to their local audiences, and we have been creating our Citizen City Tour, a map which gathers the stories of locals and encourages Book Festival visitors to go beyond Edinburgh’s postcard exterior and explore its inner heart.

We are also hosting four special Citizen events, which invite the participants to reflect on what a sense of community can mean in today’s society. We are delighted that many of our Citizen participants will be joining us in person at the Festival site.

Saturday 14 August, 1-2pm

Graeme Armstrong, Jenni Fagan & Caleb Femi: Take Your Place

During the Book Festival’s Citizen workshops, the importance of place and the participants’ relationship to their local area and environment has been an ongoing theme. With this in mind, we have invited authors Jenni Fagan (Luckenbooth), Caleb Femi (Poor) and Graeme Armstrong (The Young Team), all of whom have placed locality at the centre of their writing in their most recent books, to join us for a panel discussion. Together they will explore how relationships to home and identity have shifted over the course of the pandemic. Find out more and book your tickets here.


Tuesday 17 August, 8.30-9.30pm

Stories & Scran

Following on from the success of last year’s virtual event, Stories and Scran returns for a second helping. The Scran Academy will be catering a meal for our community participants before they take to the stage for a special showcase of live readings, audio stories and short films. Featuring work by our talented Citizen writers, including The Citizen Collective, Saheliya Champions Group, our North Edinburgh and Musselburgh groups and locals from the Tollcross area.  The event is sure to be a heart-warming celebration of community spirit.  Find out more and book your tickets here.

Wednesday 18 August, 10-11am

R-Words: Infectious Poetry for Everyone

Award-winning theatre director Ross MacKay heads up R-Words: Infectious Poetry for Everybody, tracing the spread of his idea to infect people with poetry from conception to completion. For the R-Words project, 12 of Scotland’s finest poets contributed their first lines of poems, which were then distributed across the country in a game of poetry consequences. Join us for a celebration of the project, with live readings and conversation with the poets who started the process and those who contributed later on in the experiment. Find out more and book your tickets here.


Photo of Ross Mackay

Monday 30 August, 4-5pm

Wellbeing and Resilience: Imagining a Better Future

The ability to soothe ourselves in times of distress is essential for keeping us well. Project Soothe – a global citizen science project – investigates how ordinary people self-soothe on a daily basis. In this timely and vital event, lead researcher Professor Stella Chan is joined by some of the citizen scientists involved. Together they reflect on the many challenges faced by young people in 2021 and discuss the best ways to support the development of greater resilience, crucial for the wellbeing of individuals and, in turn, society at large. Find out more and book your tickets here.

We hope you enjoy the Book Festival this year and look forward to welcoming you at our new site, Edinburgh College of Art, 74 Lauriston Place, Edinburgh, EH3 9DF, or chatting to you online in the event chat and Q&A sections if you are joining us virtually.


Citizen is our long-term creative programme working in partnership with organisations across Edinburgh and Musselburgh, offering local people a platform to explore identity, connection and place. It is supported by the players of People’s Postcode Lottery and the PLACE Programme administered by Creative Scotland.

Our Story Nation project aims to bring the spirit of the Book Festival to audiences who, for various reasons, cannot access our physical events. It aims to combat isolation and create rich opportunities for engagement with the written word among vulnerable or unheard communities, enthusing and empowering readers across Scotland.

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