Snippets from the literary world
THERE are only 120 people on Colonsay, but as far as Bookworm can ascertain, they are well provided for. Not only have they got their own bookshop, but on the last weekend of April they will have their own book festival too.
“Conversations @ the edge” (27-29 April), is not only Britain’s most remote book festival, but almost certainly its most scenic. It certainly has an excellent line-up: Alexander McCall Smith, Liz Lochhead, James Robertson, Margaret Elphinstone, Kenneth Steven and Sophie Cook are all on the bill.
Another difference with mainland book festivals is that with this one, once you arrive on the Friday evening ferry, the earliest one back is on Sunday evening. But spending two whole days on the island won’t be too much of a hardship: it is never more beautiful than at this time of the year, something Colonsay celebrates with its own Festival of Spring (28 April-18 May).
One of the organisers of the book festival should be well-known to readers of the 44 Scotland Street series in this newspaper: Dilly Emslie often features in it as a friend of Domenica.
The festival concludes with a session chaired by Lesley Riddoch at which all of the authors will debate anything the audience suggests. “A bit of a risk, but it could be interesting,” as Dilly observes. Check out www.spanglefish.com/colonsaybookfestival for more information.
THE PULL OF ULLAPOOL
Further up the west coast, and a couple of weekends further on too, Ullapool is also gearing up for its own book festival. I went last year and loved it: it’s friendly, well organised, and always has an interesting programme. This year they’re bringing over award-winning Canadian short story writer Alexander MacLeod (son of Alistair MacLeod, “the Canadian Chekhov”, who was a guest three years ago) for his first reading in the UK, Alan Spence will be giving a sneak preview of his next novel, and John Burnside will be reading from his collection Black Cat Bone, which won both of Britain’s top poetry prizes last year.
The programme also includes Robin Robertson, Louise Welsh, Sue Peebles, Andy Wightman, Martin McIntyre, a return visit of Scottish Opera and a Ceilidh for Aonghas to celebrate Aonghas MacNeacail’s 70th birthday, while Rodge Glass will be reading from his novel Bring Me the Head of Ryan Giggs just two days before the Manchester United star plays his last match of the season. The full programme is on www.ullapoolbookfestival.co.uk
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Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 16 C
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