The best literary festivals in Scotland 2011

  • The List
  • 30 May 2011
The best literary festivals in Scotland 2011

Borders Book Festival

Wigtown, Borders, Inverness and Edinburgh host book festivals

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,

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,

New Words

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information displayed here is accurate, always check with the venue before attending (especially during the Covid-19 pandemic).

Scottish International Storytelling Festival

A celebration of live storytelling and imagination uniting Scottish and international storytellers and musicians. Performance, workshops, talks and children's events radiate out from the capital with guest storytellers from across the globe. The 2020 edition will focus on tales that explore Scotland's place as a coastal…

Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh

Sat 17 Oct

Times & prices vary / 0131 556 9579

Sun 18 Oct

Times & prices vary / 0131 556 9579

Mon 19 Oct

Times & prices vary / 0131 556 9579

…and 12 more dates until 31 Oct

Wigtown Book Festival

An established and celebrated feature in the Scottish literary calendar attracting many big names. For ten days Scotland’s National Book Town buzzes with book events as well as theatre, music and site-specific events in quirky venues. The 2020 event will now take place online and will feature two main themes: Resilience…

Online events

Fri 25 Sep

Free / 01988 403222

Sat 26 Sep

Free / 01988 403222

Sun 27 Sep

Free / 01988 403222

…and 7 more dates until 4 Oct

Edinburgh Radical Book Fair

A festival of ideas ran by the folks at Lighthouse Bookshop. It showcases publishers and speakers with an emphasis on small and independent presses and writings from outside the mainstream.

New Words

North-east Scotland's innovative festival exploring the spoken and written word in performance with an emphasis on events that combine literature with other art forms.

Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival

Taking place in the National Trust's Georgian Harmony Garden, the Borders Book Festival attracts world-class literary, sport and comedy figures. The 2019 line up included David Coulthard, Kate Humble, Ruth Davidson and more.

Off the Page Stirling Book Festival

This exciting local book festival features a wide range of authors and speakers for adults and children of all ages.

Dundee Literary Festival

Launched in 2007, the Dundee Literary Festival is a university-led event celebrating ideas, words and books. Bonar Hall serves as the festival hub, with a pop-up bookshop and Ms Battenberg’s Travelling Tea Room creating a haven for bookworms. The programme covers a mix of literary genres, including crime, autobiography…

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