Welcome to Islay Book Festival’s new website as we enter our second decade!

Ceud mìle fàilte! We’re so thrilled to be launching this new website, created by the talented Rhianna Jones, as an online platform for Islay Book Festival as it enters its second decade. Although our programme is not yet 100% confirmed, we’ve included some of our session information here so that you can have a browse of the new site and get a glimpse of how the festival is coming together. Our finalised programme will be launched in July, so please do check back then for full details and even book a few tickets!

In the meantime, make sure you check out which events have already been opened up for early bird booking. Due to anticipated interest, we’ve opened online booking for our two evening events, Colin MacIntyre’s ‘From Stage to Page’ and Sara Sheridan and ES Thomson’s ‘Criminal Conversation’. And due to limited places and the need for pre-booking, we’ve also opened up early booking for our two adult bookbinding workshops (see one and two here) and our writing workshop. Don’t forget to use your ‘Early_bird’ discount code for 10% off when you purchase your tickets (valid until 31 July).

And while you’re visiting our website, please also take a look to the top left of your screen, where you’ll find a super logo designed for us by S1 art student, Sarah MacPherson, from Islay High, developed into digital format with the help of Brian Palmer and Rhianna Jones. We’ll be featuring this design at our festival this year, so make sure you pick up some branded merch while you’re here!

So what’s on at the festival this year? After our break in 2016, this autumn, from 29 September to 1 October, Islay Book Festival is aiming to bounce back in a big way. With an enthusiastic new team of volunteers in place, the festival is planning a lively programme of events aimed at increased variety, community engagement, and especially fun!

Islay Book Festival first grew out of a book club based in the village of Port Ellen, hosting its first festival in 2006. Islay has since held ten successful festivals in Port Ellen and has hosted a range of famous authors including Val McDermid, Ruth Rendell, Ali Smith, Julia Donaldson, Iain Banks, Chris Brookmyre and Mairi Hedderwick to name a few.

In just ten years, Islay Book Festival has gained an established presence on Islay’s busy events calendar and has also become a feature of the UK’s annual book festival circuit, and it is a particularly popular festival for authors. Who wouldn’t want a trip to Islay, after all?

As the festival approaches its eleventh instalment, the team has decided it’s time for a fresh approach. The festival is going to be on the move this year, based more centrally in Bowmore but with events happening across Islay in order to make the most of what this fantastic island has to offer and in a bid to reach as many people as possible. The festival will include writing workshops, guided walks, bookbinding, Gaelic storytelling and song, poetry, music, puppetry, crime, science, a ‘Meet the authors’ tea, books in the wild, and much more. We’re so keen, in fact, that we’re also about to add an extra day to the festival so that we can hold some events on Jura this year, so watch this space!

Authors and participants included in our exciting programme of events, for both adults and children of all ages, are Colin MacIntyre (Mull Historical Society), Helen Sedgwick, Sara Sheridan, ES Thomson, Pauline Prior-Pitt, Alan Windram, Barbara Henderson, Linda Macleod, Ken MacTaggart, Ryan Van Winkle, and Islay’s own Jenni Minto and Les Wilson, with more to confirm. Also featured will be Corinna Krause of Sollas Bookbinding.

There may also be whisky…

While you’re waiting for the confirmed programme to be announced, watch out for our authors’ books that we’ve been releasing into the wild across the island! Check phone boxes, benches, cafes, hostels, hotels, public toilets, bus shelters, distilleries. You might get lucky and find a free book! Please take it away with you, read it, and then leave it somewhere for someone else to find. Our books have already travelled as far as Hull and London. We look forward to seeing where they’ll go next and hope they'll carry news of our festival with them.

– Posted by Isla