I was delighted to attend the launch of the Tidelines Book Festival this evening.
Now in it’s 7th year, this is a local book festival that I have watched grow from strength to strength, ably guided by a fabulous group of committed volunteers.
This year’s festival looks fascinating and has secured some stellar names. The festival takes place along Irvine’s historic Harbourside area at the Harbour Arts Centre and Puffers Café.
The 2019 programme has 17 events over the course of the weekend and opens on Thursday 26th September to the sound of traditional music, with a line-up of trad musicians (created specially for Tidelines and including two members of multi-award winning Manran), performing songs in Gaelic and Scots.
The Festival wraps up on Sunday 29th with a ‘Crime Wave’ of authors featuring award-winning author Denise Mina; novelist and playwright Catherine Czerkawska; and an icy blast of Icelandic Noir from authors Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Lilja Sigurdardottir.
In addition to the main programme, seven North Ayrshire schools will receive free author visits, aimed at inspiring their pupils to engage with reading. How neat is that!
2019 is The International Year of Indigenous Languages, and Tidelines marks the occasion with two Scots language events. Award-winning author Anne Donovan, author of Buddha Da, leads a celebration of Scots language and introduces local Ayrshire writers reading their own work in Scots, before answering questions from the audience. Artist and author Amanda Thomson introduces festival goers to unique Scots words for nature, many of which risk of falling out of use, in A Scots Dictionary of Nature.
For the gin connoisseurs, (I may be getting excited at this one) Sean Murphy hosts a talk and a tasting at Puffers Café on Fri 27th September, based on his book Gin Galore.
For the adventurous (I’ll be recovering from the gin tasting)), Alan Brown will take his audience on an epic coast-to-coast journey by bike, cycling across the Highlands, with Overlander: A Bikepacking Pilgrimage. On Sunday afternoon, lovers of spectacular views and poetry will enjoy The Spirit of the Hebrides, Alistair Jackson’s stories of walking the Hebrides to photograph the places written about by Gaelic poet Sorley MacLean. Jackson’s photographs have been collected in this brand new book along alongside new work from poet Kenneth Steven responding to the work of the incomparable Sorley MacLean.
With oodles of family fun, Moxie Creative Kids bring story-telling sessions based on The Gruffalo and Roald Dahl’s Matilda. The sessions are very interactive, with comedy, music and games all tailored to engage children with these brilliant books and to have some fun along the way.
The Tidelines programme offers plenty of choice for those who enjoy both historical non-fiction and fiction, discussing ideas around social change and equality both at home and further afield. Mairi Kidd introduces the bonnie fechters in her book Warriors and Witches and Damn Rebel Bitches, those witty, wise and occasionally wicked women throughout Scottish history who stood up to be counted providing us with inspiration today. This one is a must for me.
Margaret Skea takes attendees back to the time of James VI in Scotland and Ayrshire with her talk Bringing History Alive: The Ayrshire Vendetta, the backdrop to her novel Through Sword and Storm.
Keeping with the history theme, Donald S. Murray takes readers back to the 1st January 1919 with his acclaimed novel And the Women Lay Dreaming, exploring the true-life tragedy of the sinking of the HMY Iolaire, which resulted in the deaths of 200 returning servicemen within sight of their homes. On Saturday evening, Karen Campbell joins the Festival with her much anticipated new novel, The Sound of the Hours, an epic romance about conflicted loyalties, prejudice, and war, set in Barga, that most Scottish of Italian towns, during the Second World War.
On Sunday afternoon Tidelines welcomes Catherine Czerkawska who brings a true crime event to kick off our Sunday ‘Crime Wave’. Catherine talks about the harrowing process of researching the death of her own great great uncle in 1881, which resulted in her book A Proper Person to be Detained.
With crime and thrillers among the most popular reads in Scotland, Tidelines offers plenty of opportunity for thrill-seekers to discover new authors and stories from Friday through to Sunday. Friday evening sees best-selling authors Helen Fitzgerald (author of BBC hit drama The Cry) and acclaimed Scottish writer Doug Johnstone present their psychological thrillers Worst Case Scenario and Breakers in a double-header event. Both these authors have written amazingly strong books and this session will be unmissable.
On Saturday evening, Tidelines welcomes back Ambrose Parry (aka Christopher Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman) with a new thriller set once more in Victorian Edinburgh, The Art of Dying. On Sunday evening, award-winning author Denise Mina returns to the Tidelines Book Festival stage in the Harbour Arts Centre with her new (and fabulous) novel Conviction, which has been touted as the next Killing Eve.
The Tidelines Book Festival 2019 wraps up with a chilling Icelandic Noir double-header event, courtesy of two of Iceland’s best-selling crime writers, Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Lilja Sigurdardottir. Both women write cracking crime thrillers and both are lynch pins of the excellent Iceland Noir bi-annual festival. For crime fiction lovers there are no better exponents of the art of crime writing.
As Tidelines Patron, award winning author Andrew O’Hagan, says “It’s a treat every year to see the Tidelines Book Festival put on a grand show. In 2019, it has the strongest line-up yet. This is a cultural festival with a local flavour — a feast for the heart and the mind. As Patron, it makes me proud to see the area I grew up in celebrate great writing in such style.
If you hear an author and feel prompted to buy their books, West Kilbride’s Timberbooks will run a handy pop-up bookshop at the Harbour Arts Centre, selling books by all the featured authors.
The full programme details are available on the Tidelines Book Festival website
Tickets are now on sale from the Harbour Arts Centre 01294 274059 / www.ticketweb.co.uk
What are you waiting for? Get booking!