Roland Gulliver, associate director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, chats about life in the tented gardens of Charlotte Square.


What’s your earliest memory of the book festival?

Eight years ago when I walked through the gates, and discovering this incredible tented village skilfully created amongst the trees. And sunshine, there is always sunshine.

Where would be your dream place to live?

Our Author’s Yurt. A special place where old friends, new acquaintances, colleagues, heroes come visit and gather. A place where we catch up on times past and dream of what happens next. Where we share our passion for books and stories.

Do you have a favourite building?

Our Spiegeltent. Its mirrored walls and wooden floors, velvet roof and cosy booths. At night it is magical. As darkness descends the writers, musicians and artists of Jura Unbound bring stories and song, poetry and performance, all for free.

A favourite place you visited on holiday, such as a hotel or villa?

Histoire-de-Lire. A brilliant second hand bookshop in the beautiful medieval town of Domme which sits on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Dordogne River in France.

How would you describe your home for August?

A collection of Mongolian tents, but the only yurts I am sure that have a woodchip stove. Rugs cover the floor and sunlight dapples the roof. Food, wine, pretzels and a plethora of wonderful people can be found inside.

What’s your favourite home smell?

Wood drying in the sun. Sitting outside the Yurt when the sun is shining watching the ebb and flow of the festival, surrounded by green trees and blue sky.

What do you miss about home if you are away for a while?

My bookshelves. Being surrounded by books is when I am happiness, staring at bookshelves a favourite pastime.

Do you have a favourite room in the house?

The Writer’s Retreat. Tucked away under the trees it's a place of tranquillity where you can discover the newest and most exciting authors and most intimate literary experiences, reading workshops and an array of debut and international author events.

How are your DIY skills?

If it involves Lego, Ikea or comes with an instruction manual, I am an ace. Anything else, rubbish and I will resort to cardboard, sellotape and tin foil to solve a problem.

When was the last time you worked on your garden?

We worked all day, every day to make our gardens ready for our 18 day party. Food, drink, deckchairs, ice cream, fantastic entertainment and convivial company.

Dinner at the table or in front of the TV?

Neither. Standing up. In conversation. Or in a hurry.

What’s your favourite thing to cook for the home?

Fresh bread. With the smell of fresh coffee you know the day is starting well.


The 2015 Edinburgh International Book Festival takes place from Saturday 15 August to Monday 31 August. For further information and tickets please visit