SCOTLAND is to have its first literary festival dedicated to some of the most popular genres in fiction: fantasy, horror and science fiction.

The Cymera festival is to launch next year in Edinburgh, and will run for three days in June.

Scotland already has successful book festivals that feature various genres, including the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Glasgow's Aye Write! and the Wigtown Book Festival, while Bloody Scotland, in Stirling, is firmly established as a leading crime writing festival.

Cymera, to be staged at the Pleasance venue in Edinburgh, hopes to do the same for the popular fantastical genres.

The full line up for the festival is to be announced in the new year, but so far writers inlcuding Samantha Shannon, author of the Bone Season series, Ken MacLeod, the noted Scottish sci-fi writer, Charles Stross, the prolific horror writer, and Claire McFall and Cassandra Khaw have been confirmed as attendees.

Scotland has a long literary history of the horrific and arcane: James Hogg's The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner was published in 1824, while the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was published by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886.

More recently, the science fiction books of Iain Banks, as Iain M Banks, were both acclaimed and gathered a large following of fans.

The new festival has been founded by Ann Landmann, formerly the event manager for Blackwell's book shop in Edinburgh.

She said: "I founded Cymera to celebrate three often overlooked but hugely popular genres.

"By modelling it on existing book festivals, we aim to put genre writing on an equal footing with literary fiction.

"We want to connect readers with some of their favourite authors, and introduce them to the writing stars of the future."

Mr MacLeod said: "For Scotland to have its own festival of science fiction, fantasy and horror is long overdue. "From classics to comics, the fantastic in Scottish literature has a storied history.

"Cymera lights a bright beacon for its future."

Ms Landmann noted that combined print and digital book sales have doubled for science fiction and fantasy since 2010.

She said she hopes the festival will "break down the boundaries between genre writing and general fiction."

The festival hopes to bring national and international authors to the festival, as well as "discovering, nurture and showcase local writers."

It has also formed a partnership with the MLitt Department at Glasgow University and the Creative Writing MA programme at Edinburgh Napier University.