How to Run a Book Festival

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If you wanted to create the perfect book festival...

You'd choose a beautiful, ancient city with a spectacular summer climate and plenty of hotel rooms, restaurants, and pubs within short walking distance.

You'd pair it with other festivals running locally at the same time, so that you could collectively draw visitors from all over the world. 

You'd install it in a roomy but cozy enclosed space, like a small park, where everything--venues, cafe, restrooms, grassy central lawn--are all adjacent to one another. You'd make access to the common areas free and encourage people to linger all day long.

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You'd train the staff to be ultra-friendly and ultra-efficient. You'd have high technical standards for the venues and presentations. 

You'd invite a wide range of authors. You'd have a terrific photographer on hand to liven up the campus with large, exhuberant author portraits (I'm light-bulb eyes, top-right; top-left is novelist Nora Chassler).


You'd create a great bookstore right on your temporary campus.

You'd call it the Edinburgh International Book Festival. I had a terrific time here this week discussing my new book at three (sold-out!) events. I thank the staff, sponsors, the attendees, the photographer Chris Close, and the University of Edinburgh's ESRC Genomics Forum for hosting me. 
Presented by

David Shenk is a writer on genetics, talent and intelligence. He is the author of Data Smog, The Forgetting, and most recently, The Genius In All of Us. More

David Shenk is the author of six books, including Data Smog ("indispensable"—The New York Times), The Immortal Game ("superb"—The Wall Street Journal), and the bestselling The Forgetting ("a remarkable addition to the literature of the science of the mind."—The Los Angeles Times ). He has contributed to National Geographic, Slate, The New York Times, Gourmet, Harper's, The New Yorker, The American Scholar, and National Public Radio. Shenk's work inspired the Emmy-award winning PBS documentary The Forgetting and was featured in the Oscar-nominated feature Away From Her. His latest book, The Genius In All Of Us, was published in March 2010. Shenk has advised the President's Council on Bioethics and is a popular speaker. Click here to follow him on Twitter.

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