UBF 2022 News

Our 2022 outline programme is here below. The full programme with all ticketing details and other information will be published on 14 March and tickets will go on sale on Monday 21 March at 7pm.

The reason for posting this just now is to allow those of you from away to get a look at it and book your accommodation according to what you want to go to.

Please note that we will be adhering to whatever the current Covid regulations and recommendations are in force at the time. The programme may change if travel restrictions come back into force.

But we are pretty confident that we will be back in May – albeit with a slightly reduced capacity.

We are no longer doing weekend tickets. There were often some empty seats at sessions as, when putting individual tickets on sale, we allowed a seat at every session for all weekend ticket holders. Because we are reducing the number of seats for Covid safety reasons we can no longer afford to do these tickets.



Graeme Macrae Burnet with his latest novel Case Study published last October to wide critical acclaim.  His second novel His Bloody Project was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize. Chaired by Chris Dolan.


A Platform of Poets International poetry and discussion with George Gunn (Scotland), Hannah Lavery (Scotland), Triin Soomets (Estonia), Ian Williams (Canada). Chaired by Jim Carruth


David Pratt: Pictures from the Frontline Over a four-decade long career as an award-winning reporter and photographer covering the world’s trouble spots, David Pratt has led an adventurous and dangerous life.  His life reporting on wars around the world is currently the subject of a BBC Scotland documentary series. In a unique event for this year’s festival, clips from all three films (Pictures from Afghanistan, Pictures From Iraq, Pictures From the Balkans) feature alongside a discussion about his life and work in the company of Ruth Wishart.


Three crime writers who play in the band Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers will talk about their novels.

Mark Billingham, Chris Brookmyre and Luca Veste


James Robertson  James has written seven novels. The latest is News of the Dead (2021) which is long listed for this year’s Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. His poetry is widely published in magazines, pamphlets and books. He has also produced four collections of short stories, most recently 365 Stories in 2014. James co-founded the Scots language children’s imprint Itchy Coo; he is also general editor and a contributing author. Chaired by Chris Dolan


Lynn Coady Lynn is a Canadian novelist, journalist and TV writer. Her 2011 novel, The Antagonist, was shortlisted for the 2011 Giller Prize. Her collection of short storiesHellgoing won the 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her latest novel (published in 2019) is Watching You Without Me was longlisted for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Chaired by Mark Wringe



Crime writing pals Stuart Neville, Mark Billingham, Doug Johnstone, Val McDermid, Luca Veste and Chris Brookmyre are a full-on, kick-ass band, murdering songs for fun to anyone who will listen. The band have proved a massive hit at literary and music festivals across the UK and internationally over the last five years (including Glastonbury). Be prepared to dance your socks off at this unique rock ‘n’ roll experience.



Leila Aboulelah

Leila Aboulela was born in Cairo, grew up in Khartoum and moved to Aberdeen in her mid-twenties. She has written five novels the latest of which is Bird Summons.  She has been Fiction Winner of the Scottish Book Awards, first winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing and her latest story collection, Elsewhere, Home won the Saltire Fiction Book of the Year Award. She has also been long-listed three times for the Orange Prize for Fiction. Chaired by Mark Wringe


Triin Soomets

Born in Tallinn, Estonia in 1969, poet Triin Soomets is the author of 20 books, most recently Pind ajajoone all (Surface below the timeline), 2021. Her work has been widely anthologized and translated into more than twenty languages and she has won many awards including the Estonian Cultural Endowment Award in 2014. Chaired by Jim Carruth


The other three crime writers who play in the band Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers will talk about their novels.

Doug Johnstone, Val McDermid and Stuart Neville.


Rhoda Meek Rhoda Meek lives on the Isle of Tiree and describes herself as a trainee crofter and builder of digital things.. Rhoda will talk about her recent controversial essay Let My Language Die With Dignity. Her personal conclusion is this – “Gaelic as a living community language…. is dying. The illness is terminal. Gaelic as a language may survive, but Gaelic as a key to an entire culture, a way of being, an approach to life, a lens through which the world is seen: that is not going to make it.” Chaired by Mark Wringe.

This event will be in Gaelic with simultaneous translation into English by Morag Stewart


George Gunn George, from Caithness, is one of Scotland’s finest poets. His 10th collection Chronicles of the First Light was published in 2021. He has also had over 50 plays produced for stage and radio. His second novel The Vinegar Wind will appear in 2022.Chaired by Jim Carruth


365: James Robertson, Aidan O’Rourke And Kit Downes

Words and music, the disarming drama of stripped-back storytelling. Bringing together two of the UK’s leading folk and jazz musicians with one of Scotland’s most celebrated authors, 365 is a sparse, evocative and bravely original collaboration.


10.15 am

Hannah Lavery

Hannah Lavery is an award-winning poet and playwright. Her poem, Scotland You’re No Mine was selected as one of Scotland’s Best Poems for 2019. Her second lyric play, Lament for Sheku Bayoh, premiered at Edinburgh International Festival in 2021. She was also appointed Edinburgh Makar in November 2021 for a three year term. She is an associate artist with the National Theatre of Scotland and is one of the winners of the Peggy Ramsay/Film4 Award 2022.   Chaired by Ruth Wishart


Ian Williams

Canadian Ian Williams’first novel Reproduction won the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize. His first nonfiction book, Disorientation, was a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Award. His poetry collection,  Personals, was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and his new collection, Word Problems, won the Raymond Souster Award. His short story collection, Not Anyone’s Anything, won the Danuta Gleed Literary Award and his first book, You Know Who You Are, was a finalist for the ReLit Poetry Prize. Professor of English at the University of Toronto, Williams will be the Visiting Fellow at the American Library in Paris in 2022. Chaired by Lynn Coady