The life and works of the late Iain Banks will be celebrated by close friends including Ian Rankin and Val McDermid in a special event at this August's Edinburgh international book festival, for which the Guardian is media partner.

"Scotland and the world were rocked by his death last weekend," said Nick Barley, the festival director. "We'd been planning a celebration anyway as we're marking our 30th birthday, and his first novel, The Wasp Factory, was out in 1984. I spoke to him many times about what he'd like to do. He wanted to be there – sadly he can't be."

Instead, the event on the festival's closing Sunday will see Scottish authors including Rankin, McDermid and Ken MacLeod looking back over Banks's 29-year career. "There's a strong feeling that the literary world overlooked Iain Banks somewhat," said Barley. "The time is right for a reappraisal of his work, as well as a big send-off. I think it will be an amazing event."

The lineup of over 700 events for this year's festival was announced today, with appearances at the festival site in Charlotte Square Gardens from major literary names including Roddy Doyle, Kate Atkinson, John Banville, Antonia Fraser and Edna O'Brien.

As the festival marks its 30th anniversary, Salman Rushdie – chosen for the 1983 Granta best of young British novelists list – will be looking back on his career over the last 30 years, Margaret Atwood will be chairing a series of events on genre, and Colm Tóibín will be tackling Sons and Lovers as part of a new series of workshops in which the audience is guided through a close reading of a favourite book.

Over 200,000 visitors are expected to attend the festival, which runs from 10-26 August. Themes include "the tumultuous relationship with the church we have had over the last 30 years", said Barley, with Rowan Williams talking to the rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger. And as Scotland approaches the referendum, the festival will examine Scottish political and cultural life through events with Richard Holloway, Tam Dalyell and the Scots Makar, Liz Lochhead – who appeared at the very first book festival in 1983. Andrew Marr, meanwhile, is due to make his first public appearance since his recovery from a stroke. He will be launching a new version of his book The Battle for Scotland, first published in 1992.

This year's festival will look forward as well as back, with "blueprints for the future" to be hammered out in areas including the arts, the environment and defence. "We'll be imagining the world we'll leave for the next generation in 2043 and asking people to give blueprints about what they think should be done," said Barley. These range "from the future of the BBC to what newspapers will be like, and what we'll do about tax – we've got radical views from left, right and centre".

The debates will include Lib Dem politician Menzies Campbell taking on Faslane peace camp resident Leonna O'Neill over Britain's defence, and former Prospect editor David Goodhart going up against Sunder Katwala, the head of the pro-immigration thinktank British Future, on immigration.

The festival has also commissioned a new graphic novel, edited by Scottish author Denise Mina, which will imagine the world in 2043 and is set to be launched at next year's event. Comics will be a major part of this year's event too – "It's the biggest ever focus on graphic novels and comics in a mainstream literary festival," said Barley – with Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman and Posy Simmonds all in attendance.

Former children's laureate Julia Donaldson will launch her new book, The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat. Also as part of the children's programme for the festival, legendary Mog author Judith Kerr will discuss her life and work, and Frank Cottrell Boyce, Eoin Colfer, Michelle Paver, Louise Rennison and the new children's laureate, Malorie Blackman, will all appear.

Jack Straw, Alan Johnson and Ann Widdecombe will also be speaking at the festival, as will Rupert Everett and Monty Don, but Barley said that "just as important" as the major names were authors such as the American Philipp Meyer, whose new book, The Son, will be "an instant classic", and New Zealand writer Eleanor Catton, who he predicted "will be on every literary prize shortlist".

"This is not just a birthday but a celebration of an extraordinary generation of talent," said Barley. "The explosion of Scottish culture over the last 30 years has reverberated around the world and our writers, artists and performers have influenced all aspects of our lives. While we have prematurely lost one of our greatest authors just last week, we must also celebrate the next generation of writers who are distilling the world around us."

Tickets for the festival will go on sale on 28 June.


Alison Flood

The GuardianTramp

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