The best literary festivals in Scotland 2011
Wigtown, Borders, Inverness and Edinburgh host book festivals
This article is from 2011.
Borders Book Festival
Melrose’s delightfully titled Harmony Garden will open its gates to 65 events featuring an array of authors and personalities. Among the hotshot names appearing are Maureen Lipman, Michael Parkinson, Alexander McCall Smith, Kirsty Wark and Rory Bremner.
John Lloyd, comic writer: ‘Entrancing, hilarious and altogether delightful. Unforgettable fun and a triumph of brilliant organization. It was the best experience I’ve ever had at a literary festival by miles.’
16–19 Jun, www.bordersbookfestival.org
Inverness Book Festival
The Highlands capital hosts its eighth annual literary shebang with the Eden Court Theatre housing some very exciting proceedings. Confirmed on the bill are crack authors Christopher Brookmyre and Louise Welsh, and playwright John Byrne.
Kevin MacNeil, author: ‘Friendly, relaxed and inspiring, it strikes a fine balance between locally and internationally renowned authors and caters for all age groups, offering attractive events to fans of literary and popular fiction, history, cookery, ecology and biography.’
10–14 Aug, www.invernessbookfestival.co.uk
Across Aberdeenshire comes this showcase of new work by poets, fiction writers, dramatists, storytellers, actors, comedians, translators, musicians, composers, sound artists, choreographers, dancers and visual artists.
Paulina Vanderbilt, poet: ‘New Words is a unique opportunity for local authors who cannot yet live off their writing, but nonetheless have to live by their passion for it. The festival offers a wealth of writings in all shapes and sizes, and is a marvellous blend of amateurs and professionals.’
1–30 Sep, www.newwords.co.uk
Off the Page
The sixth Stirling book festival takes place across the city’s libraries incorporating their Off The Stanza poetry competition. Among those appearing this year are Mark Billingham, Caro Ramsay and Stuart MacBride.
Louise Welsh, author: ‘I loved Stirling last year. The audience was warm, well informed and asked stimulating questions, not all of which I had the answers for!’
10–17 Sep, stirling.gov.uk/offthepage
Wigtown Book Festival
Set in Scotland’s National Book Town, Wigtown was dubbed ‘one of the best autumn festivals in the world’ and with good reason: the bookshops in and around the town house over a quarter of a million books.
Barbara Trapido, author: ‘The whole thing was a delight, from the town, with all those bookshops and little cafes (I especially loved ReadingLasses), the people and the gasp-inducing landscape.’
23 Sep–1 Oct, www.wigtownbookfestival.com
Scottish International Storytelling Festival
At the Scottish Storytelling Centre on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, a feast of performances, talks, workshops, discussions and fun family activities will once again take place. This year’s event will focus on Scotland and the Mediterranean with acts from Sardinia, Crete and Corsica appearing.
David Campbell, storyteller: ‘The Scottish International Storytelling Festival uniquely confirms that stories are the politics of the heart and celebrates our common humanity in a way our national bard would applaud, and embodies the prime Scottish virtue of hospitality.’
21–30 Oct, www.scottishstorytellingcentre.co.uk
Edinburgh Independent & Radical Book Fair
Run by Word Power Books, it’s a peculiarly high end event which can be enjoyed on a smaller budget. As well as author events and book launches, it features workshops, screenings and exhibitions.
Alan Bissett, author: ‘The Radical Book Fair is a unique and absolutely necessary forum in Scottish culture, one of the few that hasn’t been distorted by the market place. Marginalised authors and themes are given a voice regardless of media hype or publicity spend, which opens up a vital space for radical debate.’
26–30 Oct, www.word-power.co.uk
Dundee Literary Festival
Arguably the finest books bash north of the capital, the DLF brings together big names from the world of literature, journalism, philosophy and politics alongside workshops, talks, film, theatre, book signings, music and parties.
Kirsty Gunn, author: ‘The Dundee Literary Festival is a wonderful mix of events with internationally renowned authors with local author events, workshops and a chance to get advice from some of the most experienced professionals in publishing at our annual publishers panel.’
27–30 Oct www.literarydundee.co.uk