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Rare Books Edinburgh and Edinburgh Book Fair 2019


Rare Books Edinburgh and Edinburgh Book Fair 20th - 30th March 2019

Rare Books Edinburgh, now in its third year, is Edinburgh’s annual festival celebrating rare and collectable books and book history. This year the programme is larger and more varied than ever before, with a dozen separate talks, workshops, tours, and exhibitions and other events leading up to the annual Edinburgh Book Fair, jointly hosted by the ABA and PBFA.

The festival this year opens with BOOKMARKS, an annual event arranged by the Edinburgh College of Art which focuses on the artists’ book. BOOKMARKS is its own mini-festival, with a book fair of stalls from students and established book artists, zine makers, and more accompanied by several talks and workshops on their theme of artists’ books.

Talks held during Rare Books Edinburgh will include a specialist from Lyon & Turnbull on rare books at auction, a ‘whistle-stop’ tour of special collections at the National Library of Scotland, stories from the library of Arthur Conan Doyle hosted by the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society, and antiquarian bookseller Simon Beattie discussing his new translation of a previously untranslated Friedo Lampe story in the convivial surroundings of the Edinburgh Bookshop’s monthly Speakeasy. One of the major highlights is the Centre for the History of the Book’s annual public lecture, this year given by Christopher de Hamel on the Duc de Berry (1340-1416) as a Book Collector.

Elsewhere in the programme the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is hosting two events, a journal-making workshop and a talk on the making of Gray’s Anatomy, based on the authorial corrections in a proof copy held by their library. The Signet Library is also offering a rare opportunity to visit their amazing building and see highlights from their map and cartographic collections.

Throughout the festival three exhibitions will be open to visit, two in person and one digitally. The Edinburgh Central Library will be displaying 18th and 19th century travel books relating to the Nordic countries from their collections, while the Scottish Poetry Library shows off its holdings of small press books by and from women. The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh website has an online exhibition of the annotated proofs of Gray’s Anatomy.

All of this concludes with the Edinburgh Book Fair, the largest collectable book fair in Scotland, this year with over 45 exhibitors from around the country. Jointly hosted by the Antiquarian Booksellers Association and the Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association, it will showcase a wide range of books, prints, manuscripts, photographs, and ephemera at price points to suit all pockets.

Most events are free to all, though several require either a reservation or RSVP, and two are ticketed. Full details, including how to book tickets or reserve spaces for the events that require it, are available at http://www.rarebooksedinburgh.com