Jamie Jauncey



With nearly a quarter of a million visitors and 800 author events, the Edinburgh International Book Festival is the world’s largest annual celebration of the written word.

Everyone who visits the tented village that springs up in Edinburgh’s Charlotte Square gardens each August comes away with their own unique experience of the festival.

But what about the people who work there? What are the stories they tell about it? What are the words they use to describe it? And what happens when they share them?

I was invited to run a workshop for the 15-strong team, so I brought them together in another garden, the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens and its spectacular David Douglas room – a glass-walled workshop space looking out over lawns, rare trees and shrubs.

Over the course of an afternoon they told personal stories, wrote poems and used metaphors to describe to each other their own unique experiences of being part of the festival.

Not only did the exercises help team members get to know one another better and share a sense of enthusiasm, they also aired useful stories that not everyone had heard, and helped bring the brand alive in new and unexpected ways.

“Absolutely inspirational,” was festival director Nick Barley’s verdict on the afternoon.