A 'TRANSFORMED' Edinburgh Book Festival will be taking place online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The event, which will be free to access through the festival's website, will include live conversations, discussions and readings by around 200 authors from more than 30 countries around the world.

Organisers have announced more than 140 online events for adults and children over 17 days, from Saturday August 15 to Monday August 31.

The festival will also host live "online book signings", where audience members can chat to authors face-to-face and get a book signed by purchasing a copy through the festival's online shop.

Festival director Nick Barley said: "It's been a leap of faith for everyone involved but in these extraordinary few months we've managed to transform the way we deliver our festival, bringing writers and readers together in a new online space for discussion and imagination.

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"Despite the challenges I've been inspired by authors' enthusiasm to try out this new approach, joining us in Edinburgh from all over the world without having to leave their homes.

"As society searches for ways to make sense of the new reality, it's clearer than ever that books and writers offer a framework for constructive dialogue and for sharing bold new ideas."

Among those taking part are double Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel and Utopia Avenue author David Mitchell.

2019 Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo will join Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at one event and Irish author Marian Keyes will discuss her latest bestseller Grown Ups.

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Scottish talent joining the online festival includes Alexander McCall Smith (above), who will chat with the former leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "The Edinburgh International Book Festival has long been a highlight of the Edinburgh Festivals' calendar, bringing together some of the world's finest authors and the best of contemporary Scottish talent.

"The Scottish Government has been continuing its support for the festival and since 2008 has provided over £1.3 million of funding through its Festivals EXPO fund."

International voices taking part include Samantha Power, former war correspondent and US Ambassador to the UN, who delivers the Frederick Hood Memorial Lecture.

The festival will also host an interview with the winner of the 2020 International Booker Prize, to be announced on August 26.

Full details of the 2020 Online Edinburgh International Book Festival can be found at edbookfest.co.uk and all events are free to watch.