Edinburgh International Book Festival announces new Festival Director

  21 Jun '23   |  Posted by: Birlinn
Edinburgh International Book Festival announces Jenny Niven as new Festival Director

Today the Edinburgh International Book Festival announces that Jenny Niven, a leading cultural producer and director who has worked with a range of influential literary festivals in Scotland and internationally, will replace Nick Barley as Festival Director. Jenny will begin her new role in September after Nick has overseen his final Festival programme, following a hugely successful 14 years.

Nick Barley, outgoing Edinburgh International Book Festival Director, said: “I am absolutely over the moon that Jenny Niven has been chosen to take over from me as the next Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Jenny has a stellar reputation in the world of literature and culture, both in Scotland and elsewhere. She is open-minded, dynamic and – vitally for this role – a good listener who knows that running a festival is a team game. On top of that, her creativity, connections and enthusiasm will be a huge asset to the Festival.”

Allan Little, Chair of the Edinburgh International Book Festival Board of Directors, said: “We are very excited to welcome Jenny Niven as the new Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Nick leaves incredibly big shoes to fill, but Jenny is no stranger to the Festival or the world of the written word here in Scotland, and indeed further afield, and we look forward to seeing what she brings to this new Book Festival chapter.”Jenny will join the team as the Festival prepares for an exciting move to its new permanent home at the Edinburgh Futures Institute, a landmark development based on the site of the old Royal Infirmary on Lauriston Place, in 2024. 

Jenny Niven, the new Edinburgh International Book Festival Director, said: I am absolutely thrilled to be appointed to lead the Edinburgh International Book Festival as its new Director. The Festival has influenced Scottish culture, and shaped the development of book festivals globally, for 40 years. There’s no greater platform to bring together the conversations that we need to have, to celebrate the role of creativity, imagination and story in understanding and reshaping the world around us, and to demonstrate that exploring the world collectively via books and ideas is one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences you can have. The opportunity to reimagine the Festival in its exciting new home at the Edinburgh Futures Institute, and to lead the organisation at such a pivotal time for Scotland’s cultural life, is an honour. Following the inspirational lead of Nick and his predecessors, I am excited to begin working with the impressive Festival team and board, and the incredible network of partners the Festival has cultivated in Scotland and beyond, to build on the Festival’s stellar reputation and to shape its future.”

Jenny is founder and Director of the award-winning Push the Boat Out, a festival of poetry, spoken word and language; Executive Producer of Dandelion, an epic programme of sowing, growing and sharing across Scotland, and was previously the Head of Literature at Creative Scotland. She was named in The List’s ‘Hot 100’ people influencing Scotland’s arts and cultural landscape in 2022. 
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