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Game of Thrones and Outlander authors to appear at Edinburgh International Book Festival

The best-selling authors behind the literary and television hits Game of Thrones and Outlander will both feature in this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival.

The festival, held in Edinburgh's Charlotte Square gardens, will also feature leading authors Haruki Murakami and Martin Amis for the first time.

The programme, launched this morning, has the theme of 'Let's Talk' this year and will run from August 9 to 25.

It will feature debuts from Games of Thrones writer George RR Martin and Outlander author Diana Gabaldon, whose latest book Written in My Own Heart's Blood is published this year.

In events that are sure to sell out, Martin and Gabaldon will talk about their best selling fantastical novels which have both inspired multi-million pound television shows - Outlander is currently being filmed in Scotland while Game of Thrones is shot in Belfast.

Also in the programme is Murakami, the lauded and award-winning Japanese writer, making his first trip to Edinburgh's book festival to launch the English edition of his latest novel Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.

Amis also makes his debut in Charlotte Square Gardens to launch his new novel The Zone of Interest.

Will Self, Amy Bloom, Sarah Waters, Alan Warner, Esther Freud, John Lanchester and Nicholas Parsons will also launch new books at the festival.

The 'Scotland's Future' series of events will looking at issues such as the arts, economy, immigration, democracy and the future of Europe include Linda Colley, Iain Macwhirter, James Robertson, Lesley Riddoch, Tom Devine and Henry McLeish.

The festival said: "The Book Festival will provide a neutral forum to facilitate broad, open-minded dialogue between authors and audience members who are keen to look forward, past the immediate politics of the vote, and envisage the shape of things to come."

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will preview a new collection of his poetry, and Tom Pow and Simon Armitage also introduce new collections.

Major poets at the festival also include former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins, the UK Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and the US War Poet Brian Turner.

The South African literary figures Damon Galgut and Zakes Mda will be joined by Mpho Tutu, Michel Laub from Brazil and Germany's Julia Franck.

Authors making a return include Bonnie Greer, Graham Swift, Jung Chang, Margaret Drabble, Richard Dawkins, Max Hastings and Lydia Davis who makes her first visit to the UK since winning the Man Booker International Prize.

Richard Sennett, Ali Smith, Raja Shehadeh and Lauren Child have been invited to select and chair a series of events on Turning Points for Civilisation, the power of words, the Middle East and children's literature.

The veteran jouranlist Kate Adie will deliver the annual Frederick Hood Memorial Lecture, Patrick Ness delivers The Siobhan Dowd Trust Memorial Lecture, and the winners of the James Tait Black Prize and the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award will also be announced.

A series of evening debates will tackle subjects including The Union and the implications of the referendum vote for the rest of the UK as well as "Surveillance and The Self" and ageing.

Nick Barley, director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival said: "The Book Festival provides a crucial forum for dialogue, where we can listen to and learn from one another, particularly in this year of momentous events in Scotland.

"Our thought-provoking conversations with both authors and audiences will permeate through Charlotte Square Gardens as we welcome world-renowned writers and thinkers from many countries and cultures to Edinburgh, some for the first time in their careers.

"We offer a platform for emerging voices that are set to shape the world's literary stage in years to come and launch some of the most talked-about books of the year.

"Whatever the outcome of the vote on 18 September, we provide a space to view the coming changes from the wider context of the historical events that brought us to where we are today - from the Battle of Bannockburn to the end of WWI and the British Empire, the creation of the Commonwealth, the recent economic hardships and even last month's European Elections.

As previously announced, the festival will also feature drama, in tandem with the Scottish theatre company Grid Iron.

Four writers, Kei Miller, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Kamila Shamsie and Christos Tsiolkas, will produce brand new pieces of short fiction.

These letters have been adapted into a promenade theatre production, Letters Home, which is supported by the Scottish Government's Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund and is part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme.

The Children's Programme includes Children's Laureate Malorie Blackman, Julia Donaldson, Patrick Ness, Kristina Stephenson, Darren Shan and Cathy Cassidy as well as Mackenzie Crook, Steven Camden and Sally Green.

Ms Donaldson visits Charlotte Square Gardens with her latest book The Flying Bath.

The award-winning author Frank Cottrell Boyce will come to read from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Over the Moon, his third sequel to Ian Fleming's original and Michael Rosen will be at the festival to celebrate 25 years of his popular children's classic We're Going on a Bear Hunt.

Lauren Child, creator of Charlie and Lola, is this year's Guest Selector and will be speaking to Judith Kerr, author of The Tiger Who Came to Tea.

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