Thursday 29th August

 
 
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Barnhill

Nine years in the making, Barnhill has been a labour of love for poet and screenwriter Norman Bissell, who brings to life Orwell’s desperate struggle to finish his dystopian masterpiece, 1984. Reading extracts from his keenly-awaited new novel, which takes its name from the Hebridean hideaway where it all came together, Norman will discuss Orwell’s final years in London, Paris and Jura and the sacrifices he made – most tragically in terms of his health – as he created the world of Winston Smith and Julia, Big Brother and the Thought Police.

Sponsored by the Scottish Book Trust.

Thursday 29th August
2pm at Jura Care Centre, Craighouse

Tickets £5 / £3.50 concessions / free to Jura Lunch Club members

 
 

 
 
 
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Music and Tales from the Islands

Local storytellers and musicians join writer in residence, Stacey MacLean, for a lively cultural exchange of tales and tunes, songs and poems between Islay and Cape Breton.

Featuring Stacey MacLean, Kate Coutts, Ruairidh MacKinnon, Ciara MacTaggart and friends.

The famous ‘T in the Church’ ladies will be selling teas/coffees and clootie dumpling during the interval (proceeds to Portnahaven Parish Church).

Sponsored by the British Council.

Thursday 29th August
7:30pm at Portnahaven Parish Church

Tickets £5 / £3.50 concessions

A free shuttle bus will leave from outside the Baptist Church on Jamieson Street (Bowmore) at 6:30pm / returning to Bowmore from Portnahaven Parish Church at 9:30pm.

 
 

 
 

Friday 30th August

 
 
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Special Event: A Dram with Rankin

Join international bestseller Ian Rankin in the atmospheric setting of the Filling Store at Laphroaig distillery for an hour of chat with leading whisky writer Dave Broom about the role single malt has played in the work, and life, of one of Scotland’s leading writers. Includes a complimentary dram (or a cup of tea), courtesy of our generous hosts!

Sponsored by Laphroaig.

Friday 30th August
From 3:30pm for drams, nibbles and mingling at the Filling Store, Laphroaig Distillery / Session begins at 4:30pm

Tickets £10 / £8 concessions

Please note: this event is not covered by festival season tickets.


 
 
 
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Sue Lawrence from Kitchen to Fiction

Join Masterchef winner and leading cookery writer Sue Lawrence as she discusses drawing inspiration from Islay and Jura for her latest recipe book, A Taste of Scotland’s Islands. In recent years, Sue has been carving out a space for herself in the world of fiction, and will also be discussing her recent historical thriller, Down to the Sea.

With a complimentary gin tasting by Lussa Gin.

Sponsored by the Scottish Book Trust.

Friday 30th August
7pm at Jura Care Centre, Craighouse

Tickets £5 / £3.50 concessions / free to Jura Lunch Club members

 
 

 
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A Taste of Cape Breton

Join our fellow islander and international writer in residence, Stacey MacLean, in an exploration of the history and culture of Gaelic Cape Breton.

Find out how Gaelic traditions have flourished on the other side of the Atlantic, from music, song and dance to language, food and traditional crafts. How different is Nova Scotian Gaelic? What is a milling frolic? All will be revealed!

Sponsored by the British Council.

Friday 30th August
7:30pm at Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle (Gaelic College), Bowmore

Tickets £5 / £3.50 concessions


 

Saturday 31st August

 
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Jackie Kay: The Making of a Makar

Drawing on material from her several award-winning poetry collections, and her recently dramatised memoir, Red Dust Road, Jackie Kay talks about her life in poetry and her work as Scotland’s poet laureate.

Saturday 31st August
10:30am at Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle (Gaelic College), Bowmore

Tickets £5 / £3.50 concessions


 
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The Sound of the Hours

Karen Campbell made her name with the Anna Cameron series of police novels before publishing two critically acclaimed contemporary dramas: Rise and This is Where I Am. Now she has turned her hand to historical fiction with The Sound of the Hours, a powerful tale set in the final stages of World War II around Barga, the Tuscan hill town to which many Scots Italians can trace their roots. Karen’s latest work tells the story of Frank Chapel, one of the black American “Buffalo Soldiers” who played a pivotal but long-underplayed role in the liberation of Italy, and Vittoria Guidi, a young Scottish-Italian woman caught in the middle of an occupied town and a divided family.

Sponsored by the Scottish Book Trust.

Saturday 31st August
12 noon at Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle (Gaelic College), Bowmore

Tickets £5 / £3.50 concessions


 
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Barnhill

George Robertson introduces Norman Bissell, who will talk about his keenly-awaited new novel. Nine years in the making, Barnhill has been a labour of love for the poet and screenwriter, who brings to life Orwell’s desperate struggle to finish his dystopian masterpiece, 1984. Reading extracts from his novel, which takes its name from the Hebridean hideaway where it all came together, Norman will discuss Orwell’s final years in London, Paris and Jura and the sacrifices he made – most tragically in terms of his health – as he created the world of Winston Smith and Julia, Big Brother and the Thought Police.

Saturday 31st August
2pm at Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle (Gaelic College), Bowmore

Tickets £5 / £3.50 concessions


 

Sue Lawrence from Kitchen to Fiction

Join Masterchef winner and leading cookery writer Sue Lawrence as she discusses drawing inspiration from Islay and Jura for her latest recipe book, A Taste of Scotland’s Islands. In recent years, Sue has been carving out a space for herself in the world of fiction, and will also be discussing her recent historical thriller, Down to the Sea.

Sponsored by the Scottish Book Trust.

Saturday 31st August
3:30pm at Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle (Gaelic College), Bowmore

Tickets £5 / £3.50 concessions


 
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Change in the Time of Rebus

Now in their fourth decade, Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus books have reflected 30+ years of social, political and technological transformation, from the final days of Thatcherism to the brink of Brexit, from an analogue world to a digital one. Join Ian Rankin as he talks about his latest book, In a House of Lies, and reflects on change in the time of Rebus, in conversation with Scottish historian Sir Tom Devine. Chaired by Karen Campbell.

Sponsored by Diageo.

Saturday 31st August
6:30pm at Ramsay Hall, Port Ellen

Tickets £5 / £3.50 concessions

A free shuttle bus will leave from outside the Baptist Church on Jamieson Street (Bowmore) at 5:30pm / returning to Bowmore from outside the Ramsay Hall at 10:30pm.


 
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Film Screening: The Amber Light

Award-winning whisky writer Dave Broom and his film director collaborator Adam Park bring their documentary “The Amber Light” to Islay Book Festival this year, fresh from its world premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. The film explores the untold story of whisky, past and present, and how it intertwines with Scottish culture: art, music, literature and food. Featuring music from the likes of King Creosote, and interviews with whisky-loving authors Ian Rankin and Alasdair Gray, Dave also speaks to the key innovators and thinkers in the whisky world – farmers, distillers, bar owners, historians – and explores the unsung role of women in distilling and blending over the centuries. [92 mins]

Sponsored by Diageo.

Saturday 31st August
8:30pm at Ramsay Hall, Port Ellen

Tickets £5 / £3.50 concessions

The shuttle bus will return to Bowmore from outside the Ramsay Hall at 10:30pm.


 

Sunday 1st September

 
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Festival Walk: Lurabus

New for 2019: Take a walk through Islay’s history with a Sunday morning stroll to the ruins of the deserted township of Lurabus via Carraig Fhada lighthouse and the Singing Sands beach. Led by local volunteers with knowledge of the area’s history, geology and wildlife, the three-hour hike will connect to the festival’s overall theme of ‘Change’ and historian Tom Devine’s afternoon presentation of his work The Scottish Clearances.

Mainly easy to moderate walking with one short steep incline. Sturdy footwear, long trousers, waterproofs recommended. The usual precautions against ticks advised.

Sunday 1st September
10:30am start from the old walled cemetery at Kilnaughton Beach

Tickets £5 / £3.50 concessions

Please note: numbers are limited to 30 and pre-booking is required.


 
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Writing Workshop: Finding the Spark

This informal writing workshop is for anyone who loves words. Whether you're looking for extra inspiration or just keen to try out writing, but don't know where to start, join established author and writing tutor Karen Campbell to explore where inspiration comes from – and how you can ignite a story and keep it burning! All you need to bring is an open mind, pen and paper, and one small object that means something to you (e.g. a photo or memento). Teas/coffees provided. (2hrs)

This workshop is kindly sponsored by the Scottish Book Trust and Islay House.

Sunday 1st September
11am-1pm at Islay House, Bridgend

THIS EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT. PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU’D LIKE TO BE PUT ON THE WAITING LIST.

 
 

 
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The Scottish Clearances

Leading Scottish historian Sir Tom Devine talks to Professor Steve Mithen of Islay Heritage about his recent book on the Scottish Clearances. It is the first ever attempt to examine the enormous dispossession of traditional peasant communities in the 18th and 19th centuries, not only in the Highlands but throughout ‎Scotland. Andrew Marr called the book 'superb' and Neal Ascherson commended it as 'perhaps the most important work of history Devine has ever written’.

Sunday 1st September
2:30pm at Cyber Bistro, Port Ellen

Tickets £5 / £3.50 concessions

A free shuttle bus will leave from outside the Baptist Church on Jamieson Street (Bowmore) at 1:30pm / returning to Bowmore from outside the Cyber Bistro at 5:15pm.


 
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The Folklore and Personalities of Argyll

Ronnie Black, widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest living Scottish Gaelic scholars, walks us through an exploration of the folklore and historical personalities of Argyll, with a focus on Islay, Jura and Colonsay. Drawing on material from several of his books, including The Gaelic Otherworld and The Campbells of the Ark, Ronnie also introduces his team’s current project to translate the Dewar Manuscripts, a massive collection of Gaelic historical tales made in the 1860s and stored in the archives of Inveraray Castle.

Sunday 1st September
4pm at Cyber Bistro, Port Ellen

Tickets £5 / £3.50 concessions

The shuttle bus will return to Bowmore from outside the Cyber Bistro at 5:15pm.