Top authors set for Edinburgh book festival

image captionSeamus Heaney is set to appear at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

Philip Pullman, Fay Weldon, Seamus Heaney and Lionel Shriver are among the authors appearing at this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival.

The theme for this year's event will be the new world order, with US authors playing a prominent role.

The programme, the first under new director Nick Barley, was announced in Edinburgh on Thursday.

He said 750 authors from 50 different countries would offer a subtle perspective on an ever-changing world.

Ambitious survey

Mr Barley said: "I believe that writers are fundamental to our understanding of the world. Away from the barrage of instant news, writers give a more subtle perspective on everything from complex economic problems to personal issues in our day-to-day lives.

"The book festival gives us a wonderful opportunity to bring these perspectives into focus as we look at the world we live in today.

"This year we will be looking at the new world order and particularly at the USA's place in this world with an ambitious survey of American contemporary writing."

The American strand will feature more than 45 authors, including Garry Trudeau - whose Doonesbury strip is one of the most published cartoons in the world - Bill Clegg, David Vann, Willy Vlautin, Leanne Shapton, Simon Rich and Adam Ross.

A series of evening debates will take place to continue the discussions of the day and there will be a new award for first-time novelists, with audiences voting for their favourite book at the festival.

Poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy will also return to the festival with a preview of her new collection of poems, due to be published in 2011.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival opens in Charlotte Square Gardens on 14 August. The public programme runs until 30 August, with the RBS Schools Gala day closing the festival on 31 August.

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