Inverness Book Festival 2009

If like me you can’t access the festival website (, look out for programmes in your local library.

There a few big names including Ian Rankin for the crime buffs and Katie Fforde for the incurable romantics, but also some great home grown talent. I’m looking out for Aberdonian Stuart MacBride. I’ve heard Stuart speak before and he’s worth the ticket even though his latest novel is apparently not set in the granite city. Obviously the man knows no fear.

The festival runs from Mon 5th to Saturday 10th October at various venues including Eden Court.


BBC looking for Scottish writers

Scotland Writes is an initiative set up by BBC Scotland. They are running a competition for writers born or living in Scotland, who are invited to submit a script for a 60 minute pilot episode for a serial or series. The subject can be of any genre but must reflect life in contemporary Scotland.

Details at BBC Writers’ Room.

Nairn Book & Arts Festival 09

The Nairn festival crams so much into the wee town over a week that this year ‘Book Week’ is going to last eight days.

Expect the usual imaginative blend of entertainment and bite, local and national, famous and unknown. On the writing front look out for Liz Lochhead, James Kelman, William Dalrymple and Erica James as well as the Highland’s own renaissance man James Ross and a positive rash of local writers.

There’s a creative writing workshop from Cynthia Rogerson, director of the Arvon Foundation’s Moniack Mhor. Book early!

Dates: 5th – 13th June 09

See for details.

RAW call for Homecoming fiction and poetry

The Highlands’ hottest literary magazine, Random Acts of Writing, is calling for submissions on the theme of Homecoming for a special autumn edition. Check the details (and subscribe, it’s a great read) at

Ullapool Book Festival

The programme is out for Ullapool, one of the first book festivals of the season. I went to last year’s event and enjoyed the way literary and folk traditions are given equal attention. The small venues make the most of the ceilidh atmosphere and there’s a chance for local and visiting writers to share their work at open mike evenings in the parlour.

This year’s line up includes AL Kennedy and Bernard McLaverty but the limelight might just be pinched by the wee gem that is Isle Martin, where several of the sessions are being held. Access by boat and time to wander through a nugget of west coast history in the tea break… not to be missed if you’re able to get there.

Sadly it’s on during my holidays this year so if you’re lucky enough to go yourself, drop by here afterwards and give us a review.

Miss Snark, literary agent

I’ve just discovered this blog  by a literary agent who dispenses advice and criticism to writers with a little bit of vinegar to sweeten the truth.

Sadly Miss Snark no longer posts new items but the back catalogue of Q & A, critiques and the famous Crapometer can still be read.

If you’re trying to get an agent it’s worth a read. If not, it’s still full of razor sharp pointers for honing your writing, synopses, cover letters etc. And it’s pretty entertaining along the way. Have a look, if you’re brave enough.


Golden Hour Literary Cabaret Tour

Evenings of readings and music from the gang from Edinburgh’s Forest Cafe. Come on, they’ve made the effort to come north. That’s got to be a good reason to support the gigs. 

Thursday 12th March 09 , 8pm at the Applecross Inn, Applecross.

Friday 13th March 09, 8pm at Mad Hatter’s, Hootenanny, Church St, Inverness.

Price: free but donations welcome.

Click here to visit The Forest’s website

Hi-Arts turns to crime

Hi-Arts have chosen crime fiction as their current industry focus, with seminars from top Scottish authors and the chance to pitch your unpublished novel to a specialist agent.

Click here to view the Hi-Arts web pages.

North East dialect short story competition

The Elphinstone Institute at the University of Aberdeen are running a short story competition  to commemorate Doric writer John Reid, who was an Aberdeenshire farm labourer.

Open to all amateur writers over the age of 16.

Words: up to 4000

Closing date: 31st March 2009

Language: Scots, Doric, English or a combination.

Subject: stories should be concerned with some aspect of life in North-East Scotland.

Prize: £500 and publication in Leopard Magazine, with a reading at the 2009 Word Festival in May.

For details visit the Friends of the Elphinstone Institute site, here.

Go on. Hae a wee shottie at it.

Winter Words Festival, Pitlochry

Pitlochry’s Winter Words Festival is on at the Festival Theatre from 22nd-25th January 09.

Download the brochure from the theatre’s website. There’s an interesting line-up, with Andrew Greig and Christopher Sommerville standing out for me. Everything from faery tales to guerilla gardening, with literary lunches in between. Could be worth a trip down the A9.