Ullapool Book Festival 2016

Ullapool Book Festival 2016


I sometimes think that clocks tick louder in writers’ homes, reminding us of poems unwritten, stories untold, half-finished novels. The knowledge that we should be working adds an edge to moments when we escape our desks. You should be writing, should be writing, should be writing . . . whispers a small voice in our head. Writers can be difficult people to pin down, keener to re-enter worlds of our own making than to answer telephone calls or reply to emails. But there are certain occasions that draw novelists and poets out of their lairs, blinking into the daylight. Ullapool Book Festival is top of my list.

Literary festivals abound across Britain and beyond, but Ullapool is unique in its combination of local and international. The quality of the writers involved is clear from a glance at the programme. Ullapool’s reputation extends to Canada; a country the festival has developed a relationship with over more than a decade. This year Lynn Coady and Lisa Moore join the distinguished list of Canadian authors who have appeared at Ullapool. Authors Fiona Rintoul and Merryn Glover are visiting the festival for the first time. Bernard MacLaverty and Kevin MacNeil are already favourites of the Ullapool audience. Janice Galloway, one of the first authors to appear at the festival is back, with her new book of short stories.

Ullapool offers a superb combination of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Raja Shehadeh, winner of the 2008 Orwell Prize for Political Writing, will share a stage with Professor Avi Shlaim and Penny Johnson.

So what draws these writers here? The incomparable countryside, warm welcome and superb food (including an impressive array of tray bakes) undoubtedly play a part. But the draw is more than that – remember writers are not easily extracted from their pages. Ullapool Book Festival offers the opportunity for a high level, continuing conversation between writers of different backgrounds and genres and an intelligent, involved audience. It’s the lively discussions that pull me back to Ullapool and which I will miss most this year when I am in New Zealand on a Scottish Writers’ Fellowship.

I will be following the festival via social media from afar and feeling jealous of Chris Dolan who will be doing a superb job as honorary president in my stead. I will be writing but a small voice in my head will be whispering you’re missing Ullapool, missing Ullapool, missing Ullapool...

Silence the voice in your head. Give yourself a treat and join in the conversations at Ullapool Book Festival 2016!

Louise Welsh, Honorary President

The 2016 Program
click to view in pdf

Tickets now on sale
Festival 2016 timetable and tickets

Reviews of Ullapool Book Festival 2015:

West highland Free press http://www.whfp.com/2015/05/14/ullapool-delivers-another-book-festival-to-cherish/

Scotsman http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/books/ullapool-book-festival-must-read-pile-gets-bigger-1-3768971

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