Festival's director says two-year deal will open new avenues for authors and expand debate and discussion
The Guardian is going into partnership with the Edinburgh International Book Festival, sponsoring the two-week event – the biggest of its kind in the world – in a new deal organisers hope will open up new avenues for debate and discussion around books, it was announced today.The two-year sponsorship deal will enable the festival's audiences to review books and discuss events on the Guardian's website, while readers of the Guardian, the Observer and guardian.co.uk/books will also be able to read and interact with coverage of the festival's literary workshops and debates.
Running this year from 13 to 29 August, in the past, the festival has hosted authors including JK Rowling, Seamus Heaney, Martin Amis, Muriel Spark, Alan Bennett and Harold Pinter, often featuring future prize-winners before they gain international acclaim. This year's programme will be announced on 16 June.
"The Edinburgh International Book Festival's annual programme features some of the world's most exciting writers and thinkers and is second to none for adults and children," said Claire Armitstead, Guardian News & Media books editor. "The festival's ambitions chime with that of our recently expanded literary coverage, where people who love books are at the heart of what we do."
Nick Barley, director of the Book Festival, said that the new media partnership with Guardian News & Media would "open up new avenues for authors and new outlets for the debate and discussion which is the lifeblood of the book festival", as well as "extending our reach and introducing our programme to a new audience around the UK and around the world".
The Edinburgh International Book Festival, founded in 1983, attracted 200,000 visitors to its home in Charlotte Square Gardens last year, with 870 authors, playwrights, poets, politicians, journalists and thinkers from 49 countries appearing at events.