About Islay Book Festival.

Set against the stunning backdrop of Scotland’s whisky isle, Islay Book Festival is a successful community festival which draws a lively audience from locals and visitors alike.

Since it first started back in 2006, growing out of a small book club in Port Ellen, our volunteer-run book festival has firmly established itself on Islay’s busy annual events calendar and is part of Argyll’s thriving cultural scene. This friendly Hebridean festival has also achieved wider recognition for its varied and enjoyable programme and for its positive local impact. 

Islay Book Festival celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2015. In those first ten years, the festival has brought a colourful mix of authors, poets, and storytellers to Islay, including Ali Smith, Ruth Rendell, Val McDermid, Iain Banks, Chris Brookmyre, Julia Donaldson, Alistair Moffat, Mairi Hedderwick, and many others.

And it’s not always about the whisky! We offer sessions on crime, historical and contemporary fiction, a range of non-fiction and island themes, new writing, children’s events, school visits, poetry, performances, workshops, and lots more.

We have some exciting plans for the next ten years. We are going to be opening the festival up across the island for greater accessibility. We are offering new kinds of events through the festival that will lead to increased community engagement. Most of all, we’ll continue to provide and enhance a lively and enjoyable festival for authors and their audiences, and for the island and its many visitors.

We invite you to come along for a dram, some fantastic scenery, and some book chat. After all, what more could you want from a festival?