Spring book festivals round-up

Spring book festivals round-up

John Byrne

Colonsay, Boswell and Booked! all offer individual takes on literary festivities

Often it can be a tricky task choosing which book festival on the calendar to attend, especially when there’s a diary clash. Whether by accident or design, it’s possible to pop into all three of the major literary extravaganzas over the coming month. First up is a weekend of fun on the Isle of Colonsay with the Colonsay Book Festival (Fri 27—Sun 29 Apr). Among a fine selection of authors are Liz Lochhead, James Robertson and Margaret Elphinstone, while there’s also a literary pub quiz and a whisky tasting session.

If a slice of memoir and biography is your thing, then the Boswell Book Festival at the grand setting of Auchinleck House in Cumnock (Fri 11–Sun 13 May) will be a sure-fire hit. Royal biographer Sarah Bradford will be on hand to chat about the Queen in her Diamond Jubilee year, Tam Dalyell ponders on 43 years in parliament, we have a look behind the scenes of BBC genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are?, Richard Holloway reflects on his own life and the festival finale features John Byrne and Timothy West.

At the moment, full details of this year’s Booked! in West Dunbartonshire (Mon 14–Fri 25 May) remain under wraps, but the main theme will revolve around the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders.

Boswell Book Festival

A quirky literary festival devoted to biography and the first modern biographer, James Boswell. The fest spans talks, performances and workshops by writers, actors and artists. This year features Dame Judi Dench in the starring role followed by a terrific line-up of multi-award winning authors including Andrew O'Hagan…

Dumfries House, Cumnock

Fri 10 May 2019

Times to be confirmed / Prices vary / 01563 554900

Sat 11 May 2019

Times to be confirmed / Prices vary / 01563 554900

Sun 12 May 2019

Times to be confirmed / Prices vary / 01563 554900


A free, local literature festival run by West Dunbartonshire Libraries that nevertheless manages to book some big name authors for its programme of talks, signings and more unusual events.

Colonsay Book Festival

A book festival hosted by the beautiful inner Hebridean isle of Colonsay. As well as readings and performances, the emphasis is on meeting and chatting with the writers, and debate and good craic in the pub.

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