English and Scottish Literature

Edinburgh International Book Festival

The University is a major sponsor of the Edinburgh International Book Festival and presents Britain's oldest literary awards, The James Tait Black Memorial Prizes at the Festival.

The University is proud to be a major sponsor of the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2013.

With over 750 events and more than 800 authors populating Edinburgh's Charlotte Square Gardens, the Festival is the largest of its kind in the world. Academics will play a major part in the numerous debates, readings and workshops that will take place from 10-26 August 2013.

In this video Edinburgh International Book Festival Director, Nick Barley, discusses the special relationship between the University and the Festival.

Festival interview with Nick Barley

University-sponsored events

The University has sponsored a number of key events this year, including a discussion with acclaimed Canadian writer, Margaret Atwood, chaired by Scottish novelist Ian Rankin, and two events exploring memory, chaired by the University’s Professor Ian Deary.

Edinburgh College of Art academics and alumni will also host a workshop to determine how a story convincingly be conveyed on a book jacket.

The James Tait Black Memorial Prizes for fiction and non-fiction will be awarded at an ceremony at the Book Festival. As Britain’s oldest book awards, this event has been the cornerstone of the University’s relationship with the book festival for many years.

Academics in the School of Social and Political Science also had a major role in the ESRC independence debate, which will be chaired by Edinburgh alumni and broadcaster, Kirsty Wark.

Event Date Description
Positive approaches to Dementia 13 August, 2.30pm Poet John Killick shares stories about dementia with Professor Ian Deary.
The Independence Debate with Kirsty Wark 13 August, 4.30pm Nicola McEwen and Charlie Jeffery are co-ordinating an event on independence.
How do we know who we are? 14 August, 12.30pm Professor Ian Deary chairs a look at the neuroscience of memory with Suzanne Corkin.
The Heritage Industry 15 August, 4.00pm Can two leading Edinburgh-based authors shed light on the future of heritage?
Judging a book by its cover 17 August, 5.00pm How can a story convincingly be conveyed on a book jacket?
James Tait Black Prize 24 August, 6.30pm Shortlisted authors read their work and the winner of the James Tait Black Prize will be awarded.
Horror and Weirdness, a Scottish Peculiarity 26 August, 11.30am Leading writers discuss the dark side of fiction.

The University's literary awards

The annual James Tait Black Memorial Prizes are the only literary awards made by a university in Britain. Established in 1919, they are also Britain’s oldest literary awards and considered one of the most prestigious.

There are two prizes awarded for books - for fiction and for biography - and, from 2013, one prize for drama.

The book prizes

The James Tait Black book prizes are judged by a group of postgraduates at the University and the prizes presented at an event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Broadcaster Sally Magnusson hosts the 2013 event in which shortlisted authors will read their work and the winner will be announced.

Edinburgh International Book Festival - James Tait Black prize

The drama prize

The James Tait Black drama prize is judged by students and academics of the University, as well as representatives from the National Theatre of Scotland and the Traverse Theatre. The £10,000 prize will be awarded to the best new play written in English, Scots or Gaelic, that demonstrates an original theatrical voice that has made a significant and unique contribution to the art form.

The winner will be announced at the Traverse Theatre on 5 August 2013 at a free but ticketed event. Book your seat on the Traverse Theatre website.

Traverse Theatre - James Tait Black Prize for Drama