List of Scottish Literary and Book Festivals
Aos Dàna is part of the Skye Festival. Billed as 'the biggest small festival in Scotland', the festival takes place in scenic Sleat in south Skye in summer around the end of July and the beginning of August. It is organised by SEALL Arts. In 2008 Aos Dàna concentrated entirely on just one book, the second edition of Scotland's Music by Dr John Purser and over four days followed the story of Scotland's musical traditions in a series of talks and concerts that brought the book to life.
Glasgow festival Aye Write! started in 2005 but is already a well-established annual event taking place in March at the city's magnificent Mitchell Library. The festival brings together the best Glaswegian, Scottish, British and international writing. It is dedicated to celebrating writing and publishing, promoting reading, and encouraging debate. It runs a free children's festival during the week of Aye Write! with over 70 events and organises the annual citywide read (a specially-commissioned book of Edwin Morgan's poems in 2008). Kathleen Turner joined the long list of acclaimed writers and commentators who took part in the 2008 festival.
Black Isle Words
The former Cromarty Book Festival is now known as the Black Isle Words Festival, and runs in September each year. The venue is the Old Brewery in Cromarty, and this volunteer-run festival has attracted leading authors such as Nicola Morgan, Margaret Elpinstone and James Robertson.
The first Bloody Scotland crime writing festival was held in September 2012, and is the brain child of writers Lin Anderson and Alex Gray. It features a mixture of workshops, author events and readings.
Borders Book Festival
The Borders Book Festival has established itself as one of Scotland's premier literary events. From its modest beginnings in 2003, it has seen a huge rise in both its audience and its profile. The Book Festival takes place over four nights and three days at the end of June each year and attracts world-class quality writers to talk to enthusiastic audiences. A parallel Schools Gala Day and Children's Book Festival attract thousands of children, their parents and teachers. Most of the festival events take place at Harmony House and Garden, the National Trust for Scotland's stunning Georgian property in Melrose.
The Boswell Book Festival
The James Boswell Book Festival (also known as bozzyfest) is a new festival held each May in Ayrshire. Named after the famous Scots biographer of Dr Samuel Johnson, the festival is set in the grounds of Boswell's Georgian manor, Auchinleck House, near Cumnock. The festival has a strong focus on memoir and biography.
Colonsay Book Festival
The Colonsay Book Festival launched in 2012, with six author events spread over the last weekend in April. The festival ends when the last ferry leaves the island at 8pm on Sunday evening.
Dumfries And Galloway Arts Festival
The Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival is a 10-day annual festival at the end of May. Its founding aim was to bring international performers of the highest quality to a region containing many scattered rural communities that would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience such talent. In addition to a revitalised literary programme it offers a wide range of events: music, including classical, jazz and folk, dance, theatre, children's plus the visual arts and films. Events take place in a range of venues throughout the region, from large to small, formal to informal, urban to rural.
Dundee Literary Festival
Dundee Literary Festival was set up in 2007 and events mainly take place in the New Teaching Block, University of Dundee. The organisers aim at a festival that caters for Dundonians, as well as visitors to the city. In addition to author readings and writing workshops, the 2008 festival ran a series of lunchtime events ('Poem and a Piece') where visitors could enjoy a sandwich while listening to poetry. Fittingly for the home of DC Thomson, publishers of the Beano and the Dandy, the festival also hosts an international Comic Conference.
Edinburgh International Book Festival
The Edinburgh International Book Festival began in 1983 and has grown rapidly in size and scope to become the largest and most dynamic festival of its kind in the world: over 200,000 visitors each year. It takes place in the last two weeks in August, and programmes over 700 events including a high profile debates and discussions series that is now one of its hallmarks, and a Children's Programme that is a leading showcase for children's writers and illustrators. The Book Festival forms part of what is now widely regarded as the biggest and best arts festival in the world.
Faclan Hebridean Book Festival
Faclan is an island book festival which aims to celebrate writing in both English and Gaelic, and to explore books with Hebridean themes. 2010 marks the fifth anniversary of the Festival, and events are held in venues across the Western Isles. The festival runs in the Autumn, around September or October.
Imprint East Ayrshire Book Festival
The Imprint book festival started in 2007, and is organised by the staff of East Ayrshire libraries. It runs for a week each November, and contains a mixture of adult and children's events. In 2009 the festival added a Fiction Writing Award with a £200 prize, for short stories written by adults living or working within Ayrshire.
Inverness Book Festival
Launched in 2004, the Inverness Book Festival takes place in the Autumn at the newly refurbished Eden Court Theatre. Over the course of the festival there is a varied programme of events including events for children and schools, workshops and masterclasses. The 2008 festival included special screenings of two films adapted from novels: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Brideshead Revisited. The 2010 festival will run from 12th to 15th August.
Islay Book Festival
The Islay Book Festival (formerly the Port Ellen Book Festival) was inspired by a local reading group's prize-winning trip to the Edinburgh International Festival in 2004. Set up the following year, the festival attracts well-known authors to its beautiful and unique setting. It takes place in the first weekend of September each year.
Lennoxlove Book Festival
An autumn offshoot of the Borders Book Festival, the first Lennoxlove festival held in Lennoxlove House near Haddington, ran for a weekend in November 2009. The first programme included Alexander McCall Smith, journalist Kate Adie, and storyteller Lari Don.
Linlithgow Book Festival
Linlithgow Book Festival is a volunteer-run event founded in 2006 by Roy Dalgleish and Gail Boardman. The Festival began as a one-day affair but quickly grew to fill a full weekend, usually in winter. LBF brings to the town authors with a wide range of subject matter and experience based around the central belt of Scotland.
Milngavie Book and Arts Festival
The festival, the first of its kind in the local area, provides six days of readings, exhibitions, workshops, live music, performances and entertainment and a fantastic art exhibition "Art in the Village" in the Art Marquee in Station Road. It was set up in 2008 and runs in September each year.
Nairn Book And Arts Festival
The Nairn Book and Arts Festival takes place in the Inverness-shire town in September. Venues include the new Community Centre and refurbished Court House. In 2008 featured writers included Christopher Brookmyre, William Dalrymple, Dr Christopher Duffy, Janice Galloway, Isla Dewar, Bernard McLaverty, Lesley Riddoch, Cameron McNeish, Professor Robert Crawford and Professor Tom Devine.
New Words grew out of the Wordfringe festival, a complementary event to the University of Aberdeen's WORD festival. From 2010 it changed its name and is an independent festival in its own right and takes place in September. A festival of new writing, it showcases the literary talent of North-East Scotland together with invited writers from further afield. Events take place in Aberdeen and at venues around the North East.
Off The Page: Stirling Book Festival
Organised by Stirling Council Libraries, off the page features nationally and internationally-recognised authors and performers. The festival takes place annually in September and events are held in communities throughout the Stirling area, with a number in venues around the city.
Orkney Book Festival
Organised by Orkney Library and the Scottish Island Writers' Network, the first Orkney Book Festival was held in April 2011. A free book fair, several writing workshops, and a George MacKay Brown lecture form the basis of this new festival.
Perth Festival Of The Arts
Mainly a music festival with a small amount of literary content. This ten-day festival in May takes place at Perth Concert Hall, Perth Theatre and St John's Kirk.
Pitlochry Winter Words Festival
Winter Words, described by The Scotsman as "Where Scotland's literary year gets into gear", is a book and storytelling festival organised by Pitlochry's Festival Theatre. The ten-day programme, which runs over January and February, has a mixture of author readings, children's events, and writing workshops.
Portobello Book Festival
One of Scotland's newest book festivals. This festival runs for a long weekend in October and is shared amongst several venues alongside Portobello beach. The festival concludes with a book quiz.
Scottish International Storytelling Festival
This Lothians-based festival takes place in October/November. It offers a range of entertaining and inspiring live storytelling performances, thought-provoking talks, workshops and discussions and fun family activities at numerous venues across Edinburgh, the Lothians and Scottish Borders.
St Magnus Festival, Orkney
Orkney's annual celebration of the arts in June – The St Magnus Festival – was founded in 1977 by resident composer Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Though music is central to its programme, it also encompasses drama, dance, literature and the visual arts. This midsummer festival attracts audiences from throughout Britain and further afield.
StAnza: Scotland's International Poetry Festival
StAnza is Scotland's only regular festival dedicated to poetry. It is held each March in St Andrews and celebrates poetry in all its many forms. As well as poetry readings, the festival has a wide range of performances and events linked to poetry.
Text Messages North Ayrshire Book Festival
The first Text Messages festival was launched during Scotland's Homecoming year in 2009, and ran for two weeks in libraries across North Ayrshire. It featured leading Scottish authors such as Des Dillon and Janice Galloway.
Three Lochs Book & Arts Festval
The Three Lochs Book & Arts Festival is a new festival set up in 2010, with a focus on local writers and musicians. It is held at the Sunart Centre in Strontian, and the headline appearance for 2010 is from Alexander McCall Smith.
Ullapool Book Festival
Ullapool is nestled on the shores of Lochbroom in the north of Scotland. The book festival takes place over a weekend in May and attracts writers and performers, with both English and Gaelic events.
'Booked!' West Dunbartonshire Festival Of Words
The 'Booked!' Festival is run by the Libraries Department of Educational Services for West Dunbartonshire. It takes place in May of each year at various library and other venues. In 2008 the events for adults included Sally Magnusson delivering the Alistair Pearson Lecture, and in the events for children new author DA Nelson read extracts of her book DarkIsle.
West Port Book Festival, Edinburgh
The first West Port Book Festival took place in 2008 during Edinburgh's annual August festival season. Its diverse programme of events take place in an assortment of local venues, mainly around its West Port location. The 2008 Festival contained storytelling for children, Sherlock Holmes, Ian Rankin, bookbinding, AL Kennedy, concise ceilidh, Douglas Dunn, Ali Smith, Flash Fiction and more. A bit of a movable feast, the festival was held in June in 2010 and October in 2011.
Wigtown Book Festival
Wigtown is Scotland's National Book Town and its book festival is the biggest annual literary event in Scotland outside of Edinburgh and Glasgow. It celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2008 with a wide range of authors and an expanded theatre and children's programme. Wigtown is in Dumfries and Galloway in South West Scotland and the festival takes place in September/October.
WORD, the University of Aberdeen's Writers Festival, takes place in May. Over a packed weekend there are readings, music, art exhibitions and film screenings at the university and some of the major arts venues throughout Aberdeen.
Wordplay is Shetland's annual book festival, run by Shetland Arts, and runs over the first weekend in September each year. The festival combines a mixture of readings, signings, workshops and events for children. Wordplay was started in 2001.
Words North Lanarkshire Festival of Books and Writing
Organised by the library service of North Lanarkshire Council, Words is a month-long festival of events with a particular focus on children's and school events. They also have a strong poetry strand.
There are numerous other festivals in the United Kingdom and the British Council has an extensive list in the Arts section of its website.
Calendar of Festivals
- Pitlochry Winter Words
- Aye Write!
- StAnza Poetry Festival
- Orkney Book Festival
- Colonsay Book Festival
- Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival
- Perth Festival of the Arts
- Ullapool Book Festival
- 'Booked!' West Dunbartonshire Festival of Words
- WORD Writers Festival
- The Boswell Book Festival
- Margins Books & Music Festival
- Borders Book Festival
- Text Messages Festival
- St Magnus Festival
- Littoral: East Neuk Writers Festival
- Aos Dàna
- Edinburgh International Book Festival
- Edinburgh Book Fringe
- Inverness Book Festival
- Books, Borders & Bikes
- Black Isle Words
- Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival
- Fife Children's Book Festival
- Islay Book Festival
- Milngavie Book and Arts Festival
- Nairn Book and Arts Festival
- New Words Festival
- Stirling Off The Page Book Festival
- Wigtown Autumn Book Festival
- Wordplay Shetland
- The Three Lochs Book & Arts Festival
- Edinburgh Independent & Radical Book Fair
- Dundee Literary Festival
- Faclan Hebridean Book Festival
- Portobello Book Festival
- Scottish International Storytelling Festival
- Words North Lanarkshire Festival of Books and Writing
- West Port Book Festival
- Margins Books & Music Festival
- Linlithgow Book Festival
- Lennoxlove Book Festival
- Imprint East Ayrshire Book Festival