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, 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

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, 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

Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival

Taking place in the National Trust's Georgian Harmony Garden, the Borders Book Festival attracts world-class literary figures.

Harmony Garden, Melrose

Thu 14 Jun 2018

Times & prices vary / 0844 493 2257

Fri 15 Jun 2018

Times & prices vary / 0844 493 2257

Sat 16 Jun 2018

Times & prices vary / 0844 493 2257

Sun 17 Jun 2018

Times & prices vary / 0844 493 2257

Off the Page Stirling Book Festival

This local festival offers a wide range of authors and speakers for adults and children of all ages. Featured authors include Denise Mina, Helen Fitzgerald, and Chris Townsend. There are also heritage walks in Balfron, tours of the Archives and a special 'How to Get Published Event' featuring Allan Guthrie.

Various venues: Stirling

Sat 12 May 2018

Times & prices vary / 01786 432383

Sun 13 May 2018

Times & prices vary / 01786 432383

Mon 14 May 2018

Times & prices vary / 01786 432383

…and 5 more dates until 19 May 2018

Scottish International Storytelling Festival

Billed as ‘the world’s finest feast of traditional storytelling’, the Scottish International Storytelling Festival is a 12-day celebration of stories, oral tradition and pure imagination. The festival is now officially in its late 20s, with 2017 marking its 28th year. Based in Edinburgh, the majority of events take…

Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh

Fri 19 Oct 2018

Times & prices vary / 0131 556 9579

Sat 20 Oct 2018

Times & prices vary / 0131 556 9579

Sun 21 Oct 2018

Times & prices vary / 0131 556 9579

…and 10 more dates until 31 Oct 2018

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. A dedicated Children's Garden hosts events for younger readers.

Various venues: Wigtown

Fri 21 Sep 2018

Times & prices vary / 01988 403222

Sat 22 Sep 2018

Times & prices vary / 01988 403222

Sun 23 Sep 2018

Times & prices vary / 01988 403222

…and 7 more dates until 30 Sep 2018

Dundee Literary Festival

With the magnet of the Dundee International Book Prize – the largest UK award for an unpublished novel, the festival draws in internationally acclaimed writers as well as local authors, and includes creative writing workshops, poetry readings and children's events.

Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair

Free readings and discussions plus bookstalls with an emphasis on small and independent presses and writings from outside the mainstream. There are talks, film screenings plus a huge array of books for sale.

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.

Comments