Literary fans queue overnight in the rain for book festival tickets

Festival fans: Tickets for the book festival sold out within two hours.
Literary fans: Some book festival events sold out within two hours.STV

Hundreds of people queued from 2.45am on Friday to snap up tickets to this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Among those appearing at this August's event are former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, disco musician Nile Rodgers and entertainer David Walliams.

Tickets went on sale at 8am, with many braving the heavy rain at the city's Roxburghe Hotel on George Street.

At the front of the queue was Janette Finlay, from Edinburgh, who had arrived before revellers had spilled out of local nightclubs.

She said: "I've been here since quarter to three in the morning. It was busy because of the people coming out of the nightclubs on the other side of the road, but nobody bothered me. It rained a fair bit but we've got waterproofs and seats.

"I'm getting tickets for Alistair Darling, Michael Palin, Jeremy Vine, Jeremy Paxman, John McCarthy, Ian Rankin, Tom Kitchin and four children's events for my grandchildren. I've been going to the book festival for about six years. Last year I saw Stella Rimington, the former head of the MI5, who was really good. Charlotte Square is a lovely place to be when the sun's shining, even if you're not going to anything."

She was joined in the queue by Jill Galloway, who makes sure she is at the front of the queue each year.

She said: "The first ten people in the queue are the regulars. We see each other twice a year; here in the queue and then again at the festival in August. You have to be here at this time in person to get the really top authors. Trying to do it online or on the phone is very hard, so it's worth queuing early."

The Michael Palin event had sold out by 10.30am.

Last year, the festival's website crashed as people tried to log on and buy tickets. This year, a system in place to prevent this suffered technical problems.

Organisers tweeted: "We're aware some of you have a queue number that isn't changing. Our tech team are investigating. We'll update you as soon as we can."

Last year an estimated 191,200 people attended events at the festival, which runs from August 11 to 27.

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