We’re back on 8-10 September 2023!

The Islay Book Festival AGM took place on 18 December 2022 at the Gaelic College, and we’re delighted to announce that we’ve formed a new, enthusiastic committee, complete with new office bearers.

Lyn Rogers has been voted in as secretary, Darren Hehir as treasurer, Isla Rosser-Owen as vice-chair and Charlène Busalli as chair. The other committee members are Carolyn Ferguson, Heather Harvey, Sue Hehir, Ingrid Hill and Richard Mansbridge.

We would like to say a huge thank you to all previous committee members for their tremendous work: the Islay Book Festival wouldn’t be the fantastic event that we all know without them. We are also very grateful to Isla Rosser-Owen for remaining as vice-chair for the time being, so that we can have a smooth handover over the next few months, as we organise our first physical edition since 2019.

The festival has grown considerably over the years and that year, around 35 events were held across Islay and Jura. As an almost completely renewed committee, we have decided to scale down a bit for our 2023 edition, but the general orientation will remain the same, with both public and school events, including a Gaelic programme. Here are the dates to put down in your diaries: Friday 8 to Sunday 10 September 2023.

We look forward to working with other local organisations to make it yet another fantastic edition. If there are any writers/illustrators you would like to be considered as guest authors for future editions, do not hesitate to pop us an email at hello@islaybookfestival.co.uk. We are also open to new committee members and would be particularly keen on welcoming within our team a Gaelic speaker to help us with our Gaelic programme, a Jura resident, as well as one or two youth committee members. We’re also always on the lookout for volunteers to help us around festival time, so do give us a shout if this might be something of interest.

All of us at the Islay Book Festival would like to wish a happy, healthy, successful New Year to all Ilich, Diurich and Ileach readers on farther shores!

Islay Book Festival: 2021 update

We have reluctantly decided to cancel this year’s event due to the continuing uncertainty over travel and other restrictions linked to the Covid pandemic.

We are not confident of being able to hold a physical festival towards the end of the summer and so have decided to cut our losses and cancel now.

And while we learnt a lot from our online programme last year, and are incredibly grateful for everyone’s contributions and support from across the globe, our feeling is that live events on the island are really what our festival is all about and we don’t want to move too far away from that.

We also feel there is no point trying to compete in a now very cluttered digital landscape.

However, we have decided instead to try and organise some one-off book events this year to support a couple of local publications coming out in May and June respectively. These events will most likely be held online over the summer months.

In the meantime, we’ll be working away in the background on a future strategy for the festival and in particular to try to secure longer-term funding for our activities. We look forward to coming back with a bang in 2022!

AGM announced

The Islay Book Festival AGM will take place at 12 noon on Saturday 6 February. This is a delayed AGM from 2020, as due to various difficulties caused by Covid, we were unable to hold it before the end of the year. This AGM will therefore present on our 2019-20 activity, but will also include a summary of our 2020-21 activity so far to keep everyone up to date.

The AGM will be conducted on Zoom and is open to members and residents of Islay and Jura. If you would like to attend, please register here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMpdOGtqjMvGdwdz_3dmHHPjjgFPYkn1uTE

Please do just get in touch if you have any queries or if you would like to attend but are not currently a member: hello[at]islaybookfestival.co.uk

Our Hebridean offering to the digital landscape

Our chair, Isla Rosser-Owen, introduces this year’s digifest, which she calls “our own unique, informal Hebridean offering to the digital landscape”. As well as highlighting some of the events she’s most looking forward to, Isla also talks a bit about why we decided to go digital this year, saying that “just because we’re a small festival on an island off the south-west coast of Scotland does not mean that we don’t have a valid contribution [to make], it does not mean that we can’t have a seat at the digital table too”.

Watch the full announcement below, and while you’re at it, please do subscribe to our YouTube channel!

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