NICOLA Sturgeon is to appear with the prize winning author of Shuggie Bain at this year’s Edinburgh Book Festival, it has been announced.

The First Minister, an avid fiction reader, will host an event with Douglas Stuart, who won the 2020 Booker for his debut novel about a working-class boy growing up in Scotland with his alcoholic mother.

It is understood to be the first live discussion the Glasgow-born author has had about the work, although he will participate remotely, appearing on a live screen while Ms Sturgeon is on stage.

Also appearing is the First Minister’s Covid adviser Professor Devi Sridhar, who will present a discussion of the different political choices taken across the UK over the course the pandemic.

A festival regular, Ms Sturgeon is one of several politicians taking part next month.

Also appearing are former PM Gordon Brown and his ill-fated successor as Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Promoting his book, Seven Ways to Cange the World, Mr Brown will discuss global health, povery, inequality, climate change, education, financial instability and nuclear proliferation.

Mr Miliband will discuss the need for politics to “go big”, rather than continue its trend towards infantilisation, lies, stunts, and juvenile sloganeering, according to the event guide.

This year’s festival will take place at Edinburgh College of Art, rather than its traditional home of Charotte Square, and will have a hybrid format of live audiences and livestreaming.

The 250 events include authors Kazuo Ishiguro, Salman Rushdie and 2019 Booker co-winner Bernadine Evaristo, with around half of all speakers intending to appear in person at socially-distanced events.

The festival, which runs from August 14-30, is operating a pay-what-you-can scheme for all online events and limited numbers of in-person tickets for selected events will go on sale at midday on Thursday July 22.

Other writers taking part include Ian Rankin, who launches The Dark Remains, his completion of William McIlvanney’s final manuscript, Maggie O’Farrell, Alexander McCall Smith and Val McDermid who will be in conversation with footballer Pat Nevin.

Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, said: “We are incredibly excited to produce our first hybrid festival with authors and audiences joining us both in person and online.

“We welcome a mix of Scottish and international voices to discuss their ideas, hopes and dreams and we aim to explore together how to move onwards and upwards from this devastating pandemic.

“In our new home at Edinburgh College of Art, we have created three broadcast studios, two of which can accommodate limited audiences.

“These new facilities enable us to offer author conversations to worldwide audiences and to those closer to home who are unable to join us in person, as well as welcoming a limited In-Real-Life audience.”

Meanwhile, the Reading Scotland series, supported by the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festival Expo Fund, has teamed six Scottish writers with six young Scottish filmmakers to create short films based on their novels.

Scotland’s Culture Minister, Jenny Gilruth, said: “This year’s Book Festival offers excellent online and in-person experiences that will connect audiences all over the world to an impressive line-up of writers and events.”