Islay Book Festival 5 and 6 September

Saturday and Sunday, 5th and 6th September 2009 at Port Ellen Primary School

Adult and Young Adult Sessions
The authors will present their work, explain their methods and motivation, and answer questions from the floor. Saturday is a heady mixture of politics, photography, innovative romance and whisky; Sunday's focus is on crime, with The Femmes Fatales, three of Scotland's leading crime writers, discussing every aspect of this most popular genre.

- Festival patron, Sir George Robertson, will tell of his remarkable journey from Port Ellen schoolboy to NATO Secretary General. A parallel talent for photography is clear from his book 'Islay and Jura', published as part of Birlinn's Images of Scotland series. (10.30 Saturday)
- Hamish Macdonell is Political Editor at The Scotsman. While his 'Uncharted Territory: The Story of Scottish Devolution 1999-2009' is a serious and comprehensive study of recent events, we do hope he'll find time, while presenting it, for 'behind the scenes' gossip and scandal. (12.00 Saturday)
- Andrew Nicoll's first novel, 'The Good Mayor', was rejected by two dozen agents and publishers before one finally took it up. Their perception was rewarded when it won the Saltire Prize for fiction. Andrew will talk about his book and his own sometimes fraught experience of the UK publishing industry. (2.00 Saturday)
- Where would Islay be without its whisky? Well, with far less tales to tell according to Robin Laing (image), poet, songwriter and author of 'The Whisky Legends of Islay'. Robin will discuss his whisky themed books and music CDs, and maybe sing a song or two. (3.30 Saturday) Continue reading....

Next day gets off to a bizarre and somewhat grisly start. (11.00 Sunday) You are invited to join our crime writers for informal chat on murder and mayhem, over free coffee and home-made cake!

- The Femmes Fatales debut was part of Edinburgh's first 'Literature in the City' festival. Since then their 'act' has played to enthusiastic crowds at bookish events up and down the country. Top crime writers Lin Anderson, Alex Gray, and Alanna Knight talk about the darker aspects of their work and why women tend to relish both the reading and writing of crime fiction. (11.30 Sunday) Alanna may give examples from her own work which includes the Inspector Faro series.
- After lunch, Lin is back with a session aptly billed 'Bodies of Evidence', drawing on her own research and the work of her fictional forensic scientist, Dr Rhona MacLeod, whose latest adventures unfold in the unnervingly titled Final Cut. (1.30 Sunday)
- Our final cut (3.00 Sunday), sees Alex return with 'A Sense of Place', a session on scene setting and background authenticity. Her latest title, Glasgow Kiss, hints at her 'place' of choice and those who might question her knowledge, say of Scottish football, need only read the one before, Pitch Black, to be wholly reassured.

Children's Sessions
The authors will have visited the schools on Friday, presenting their recent work, so on Saturday the emphasis will be on encouraging the children to write their own stories. The morning sessions are writing workshops for P4 to P7s. Numbers are limited so please come early, or reserve a place at The afternoon is for younger children.

- Dawn, D A Nelson, (10.30 Saturday) whose acclaimed first novel, the terrifying, touching and funny 'DarkIsle', has chosen 'What makes A Good Story?' as her theme. She will take children through the basics - characters, plot and settings – and a better guide is hard to imagine; 'DarkIsle' was a winner at last year's Royal Mail Awards.
- The second workshop (12.00 Saturday) is led by Joan Lennon. She will share the secrets of building up tension and writing the really exciting bits, with striking examples from her own books, 'The Seventh Tide and Questors'.
- After the lunch break it's time for nursery and pre-school children, and their parents. (2.00 Saturday). Moira Munro invites everyone along, with their teddies, to meet Hamish Bear and to help her draw him, and maybe, just maybe, get him right for once, and to sing along to his favourite songs. As to Hamish and the Missing Teddy, was it ever found?
- For P1 to P4s, Simon Puttock's theme is 'Playing Around with Words' (Saturday 3.30). Join him for an hour of fun and games. Sample titles Goat and Donkey in Strawberry Sunglasses and Mr Mac's Bad Rabbits may (or may not,) give a clue to his quirky humour.

Doors open at 10.00 Saturday and 10.30 Sunday. Fine food served all day. Please take your seats 5 mins before each session (doors shut when session starts). Tickets available on the day (£3 each session, Concessions free). There is no charge for the Children's sessions.

More information and images of the participating writers are available from the revamped Islay Book Festival Website

Tag: book festival port ellen

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