More Baillie Gifford Controversy for UK Festivals

More Baillie Gifford Controversy for UK Festivals

Festival News


Edinburgh international book festival has ended its Baillie Gifford partnership. The Festival has bowed to pressure from authors and activists over investment firm’s links to Israel and fossil fuel companies, assertions which a spokesman for the firm says is ‘offensively misleading’. Jenny Niven, the book festival’s director, said “it is with great regret” that the partnership has ended and that pressure on her team “has simply become intolerable”. Read more here

It follows last week’s decision by The Hay literary festival to drop Baillie Gifford, its principal sponsor, after boycotts from speakers and performers. The Hay chief executive, Julie Finch, said the decision had been taken “in light of claims raised by campaigners and intense pressure on artists to withdraw”. Environmental writer Mark Lynas has condemned the campaign by Fossil Free Books (FFB) against festival sponsorship from investment company Baillie Gifford, suggesting authors had been pressured into cancelling events at the Hay Festival. In additions to sponsoring Hay and Edinburgh, Baillie Gifford supports the Cheltenham literature festival and the Cambridge literature festival as well as the Baillie Gifford prize for nonfiction.


Scotland’s annual celebration of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror (SFFH) writing,

Cymera, 2024 takes place 31 May – 2Jun. With 50 events and 70+ authors, guests include Cassandra Clare, Molly X Chang and Eliza Chan.


Brisbane Writers Festival is spinning a rollicking tale of festive entertainment across four days and 150 events. Louise Doughty, Michael Connelly, Paul Murray, Katy Hessel, Sarah Ogilvie and Bryan Brown are amongst the guests.  See the full programme.


Essex Book Festival begins its month-long run this weekend (31 May – 30 June) Sarah Perry, Lionel Shriver and the crime-writing duo Nicci French feature in the line-up.


The Auckland Writers Festival Waituhi o Tāmaki reported that this year’s festival program, held 14 to 19 May, has “broken all attendance records”. The festival recorded more than 85,000 attendees at 167 events, with 25 events sold out completely and most venues at near capacity. Among the 240 guests were Sam Neill, Paul Lynch, Bonnie Garmus, Catherine Chidgey, Selina Tusitala Marsh and Ann Patchett.



Publishing News


Haruki Murakami’s first novel in six years, The City and Its Uncertain Walls, will be published by Harvill Secker in November 2024. It has been described as “an ode to books and to the libraries that house them”.


In the UK, Bloomsbury has reported its highest revenue and profit in its 37-year history, reports the Bookseller, which also said sales of titles by Bloomsbury author Sarah J Maas were up 161%. Chief executive Nigel Newton said the company’s “dramatic increase” in revenue and profit “arises from our entrepreneurial diversification strategy, which has forged a portfolio of portfolios combining consumer and academic publishing across formats, territories and subject areas, a resilient model delivering long-term success”.


The Madrid Book Fair starts on 31 May. The inaugural talk will be held by Leila Guerriero, Pierre Assouline, Miguel Pardeza. 


30 May marks the 30th anniversary of the death of Juan Carlos Onetti, Uruguayan writer. Here are some of his most recognized works.


Our obsession with origin is a global danger, says Jhumpa Lahiri. Flawed desire to restore authenticity and purity is fuelling right in US, India and Italy, author tells Hay festival.


Yepoka Yeebo takes home 2024 Jhalak prize for writers of colour.

Author of Anansi’s Gold, a nonfiction account of a notorious Ghanian conman ‘told with biting wit’, wins £1,000 award.


Romance Writers of America files for bankruptcy amid bitter racism battle.

Group says membership crisis means it cannot pay conference contracts as top writer condemns RWA’s ‘retreat from commitment to equality’


Book borrowed from Finnish library in 1939 returned 84 years late,

Copy of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Refugees was due to be returned to Helsinki’s central library month after USSR invaded Finland.


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You can explore more content via the association’s website here and discuss topics in the forum with other member festivals here.