Opening people’s minds

Supporter Leila, wearing a pruple jumper and silver necklace, sitting in front of a bookcaseI think I came to the first Book Festival with my daughter, who would have been about five and half years old then and she adored it! She’s always been keen on books and I always encouraged that of course.

What does it mean to me? Well, I think it’s fantastic because I think of all the festivals in Edinburgh, it’s the one I like to spend money on. And I’ve always read a lot you know, ever since I was a child so you are my number one festival in Edinburgh!

It’s a highlight for me in August, and the Book Festival is affordable for me as a retired person. I also love going to concerts, but I could go to many Book Festival events for the price of one concert!
There’s so much choice, and that’s the beauty of Edinburgh!

I think the Book Festival is fantastic for people who maybe haven’t travelled a lot, who haven’t lived in other countries. They can socialise with and get to know about other cultures and languages. So I think that’s the benefit of the Book Festival. It’s also great for parents to bring their children to encourage them to read. I was always encouraged to read and you can get lost in a book, especially if issues are difficult at home. And that’s like a therapy for people I think.

The last few years have been pretty awful with COVID and everything, so it’s a breath of fresh air I think to go to something like the Book Festival, whether you’re interested in books or not, just to see people from different cultures, speaking different languages.

My hearing is bad so I’ve always been able to get a seat at the front which I really appreciate, and it means I can hear the authors clearly. I came with my partner a few times, who needed support and that was made really easy, our seats were reserved at the front and we were very well looked after.

I think the Book Festival is very special and important because it will open people’s minds to different cultures and ways of life and different languages as well. It’s for teenagers, middle aged people, older people; through the generations everyone can find something for them, it opens your mind to something different. It’s truly international.

Laila Kjellstrom