A festival claimed to be the world's largest public celebration of the written word has found a permanent home.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival announced it will officially move to the University of Edinburgh's Futures Institute in the former Royal Infirmary site on Lauriston Place in two years.

For 2022 and 2023, the festival will take place at the Edinburgh College of Art, before settling at its long-term home in 2024.

The university said it is transforming the landmark building into a "state-of-the-art space for future collaborations and partnerships", with the aim to fulfil the pledge set in stone above the main entrance: "patet omnibus" - open to all.

The festival organisers said that this year will see the current site expand, with both increased capacity and number of venues.

The capital has rich links to the words and works of some of the most celebrated writers who have ever lived.

Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Muriel Spark, Irvine Welsh, Alexander McCall Smith, Ian Rankin and JK Rowling are just a handful of the many authors with connections to Edinburgh.

The festival has been designed as a distinctive international showcase celebrating the written word, literature and ideas and bringing leading and emerging international, British and Scottish authors and thinkers together to inspire each other and audiences in an extensive programme of public events.

Discussion, performance and interactive events have become prominent features of the festival, complementing the more traditional interview-style conversations and readings, which organisers say contributed to its reputation as a powerful forum for the public to exchange views with writers and experts on a wide range of issues: social, ethical and political as well as literary and cultural.

The festival has been traditionally located in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic New Town at Charlotte Square Gardens - but in 2021 it was reloacated to the University's Edinburgh College of Art for a world of online events.

It was the first year the festival had moved site since its inception in 1983, and the organisers say it was the beginning of a "long-term strategic partnership" with the University of Edinburgh.


Nick Barley, director at Edinburgh International Book Festival, said: "We have been working closely with the University of Edinburgh over the past two years and are thrilled that our new, permanent home will be the Edinburgh Futures Institute from 2024, an historic building with an all-important, village green, outdoor area which is being developed for everyone to enjoy, and of which our festival city can be proud.

"It throws up extraordinary, game-changing opportunities for the book festival, but importantly - for the first time in our festival's history - it helps us plan a number of years ahead."The new site will allow us to continue building back our world-renowned programme, while putting accessibility, sustainability and innovation at the core of what we do."

Professor Peter Mathieson, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, said: "We look forward to welcoming book festival-goers to Edinburgh College of Art for the next two years."

The festival which this year runs from August 13 to 29 will feature a schools programme that focuses on comics, climate change, and knitting.

Every event is free and fully-hybrid, allowing primary and secondary school pupils around Scotland and around the world to tune-in, even if they can’t make it to Edinburgh.

The schools programme – which runs between 22 and 30 August – features talks, readings, and interactive sessions.

Stars taking part include Blue Peter award-winning author Pamela Butchart, New York Times bestselling-author Jason Reynolds, and prize-winning dramatist Patrice Lawrence.

The book festival has already been seeking public participation in this year's festival around the theme of Scotland's Year of Stories 2022.

A project has been gathering and creating stories from and for people across Scotland in a bid to spotlight, celebrate and promote the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in the country.

Scotland’s Stories Now is a mass participatory project that will see people of all ages and from all backgrounds creating and telling stories about Scotland today.

The Book Festival has not only woried with community groups across the country but has been calling on for the public to submit stories of their own experiences of life in Scotland.

People have been submitting their own 500-word stories responding to the prompt ‘On this day’ having been invited to draw inspiration from uniquely Scottish sources, from the landscape to myths and legends, or the tackling of the current issues which matter most from climate change to the country’s post-Covid recovery. The campaign closed last month.