Author announcement - Jenni Minto and Les Wilson

We are so excited to be offering a couple of guided walks this year with Jenni Minto and Les Wilson, the editors of Islay Voices, a superb collection of writings, poems, songs, and oral histories about Islay. The walks will be to the Oa and the American Monument (for more details, click here) and to Port Wemyss and Portnahaven (click here).

Jenni studied accountancy at Aberdeen University and then worked for BBC Scotland in a variety of business support roles. She now works in the Museum of Islay Life in Port Charlotte and is chairing WW100 Islay, which is planning Islay-wide commemorations marking the centenary of WW1 and the impact it had on the island.

Les is a writer and award-winning documentary maker who specialises in Scottish historical subjects. He is the author of a novel, Fire in the Head, and co-author of Scotland's War, an account of WW2.

Jenni and Les are married and live in Port Charlotte, Islay, where they moved in 2011 after having a holiday home there for many years.

Author announcement - Ryan Van Winkle

We're very lucky to have popular performance poet and workshop aficionado Ryan Van Winkle joining us this year. Ryan is kindly fitting us in on his way to judging duties at Wigtown Book Festival's poetry competition!

Ryan will be offering a poetry workshop at Islay High and will also be the star attraction of Jura Day, which will take place on 28 September (details to be confirmed soon).

Originally from Connecticut, Ryan is an Edinburgh-based poet who has performed to audiences all over the world. His second collection, The Good Dark, won the Saltire Society's 2015 Poetry Book of the Year award. Ryan enthusiastically encourages the reading of poetry, some say ‘by any means necessary’.

Author announcement - Ken MacTaggart

We're going a bit intergalactic this year! Not only do we have Alan Windram's new book One Button Benny for early years, but Dr Ken MacTaggart is also joining us for a family-friendly exploration of Outer Space. From the Space Age to space tourism, with slideshows and fun demonstrations, this promises to be a great session with something to interest all ages!

Ken is a journalist who covers spaceflight and astronomy topics, and he has worked in many countries as a writer and technology adviser. Ken is also co-editor of NASA’s Apollo 11 Flight Journal and has contributed to The Scotsman, The Herald, The Independent and other newspapers and magazines.

Ken is also the author of Haynes' Astronaut Manual, which was recently BBC Sky at Night ‘Book of the Month’. In it he interviewed most of the surviving astronauts who made nine trips to the Moon and back almost 50 years ago. Ken's book also features some fantastic photography by British astronauts Tim Peake and Helen Sharman.

Ken’s interests cover the human side of spaceflight, the Scottish origins of several astronauts, and how the lives of these intrepid explorers were changed by their unique viewpoint on the Earth. Ken's family originates on Islay.

Author announcement - Linda Macleod

We're delighted to announce that Linda Macleod is going to be joining us this year to visit Bowmore's Gaelic medium students and to offer a children's Gaelic storytelling and song session over the festival weekend.

Originally from North Uist, Linda is already well-known as a Gaelic singer and has more recently been busy across Scotland representing the Gaelic Books Council as its Young Gaelic Reading Ambassador.

Read more about Linda here:

Linda's sessions are sponsored by the Gaelic Books Council.

Author announcement - Alan Windram

And it's time for another author announcement! One for our younger audience this time!

We are really looking forward to Alan Windram's visit this year, which is going to be lively! Alan is the author of the hugely popular Mac and Bob series of picture books. Alan's exciting new robot picture book, One Button Benny, illustrated by Chloe Holwill-Hunter, will be published this summer.

Alan also works with Sticky Kids theatre, which regularly tours schools and theatres throughout the UK, and Alan is an accomplished singer-songwriter with four independent albums under his belt. He has toured extensively with some of Scotland's top musical artists.

Alan lives in Argyll and Bute with his wife and two cats, Sparkie and George.

Author announcement - Pauline Prior-Pitt

Author announcement: We're really looking forward to welcoming Pauline Prior-Pitt to Islay to inject some lively poetry into the book festival this year!

Pauline is an award-winning poet based on North Uist, whose readings attract large audiences. She has appeared on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Pick of the Week and With Great Pleasure, and on Channel 4 and Central Television. Pauline will share some of her poems on islands, growing older, and read from her new anthology about women.

Author announcement - Colin MacIntyre

Author announcement: we're delighted to have the multi-talented Colin MacIntyre, aka Mull Historical Society, joining us this year for an evening of music and words featuring his fabulous debut, 'The Letters of Ivor Punch', which won Edinburgh International Book Festival's First Book Award in 2015.

Colin is already a well-known, award-winning musician, having toured with the likes of The Strokes, Elbow and REM. But Colin also comes from a family of storytellers. He is the grandson of Angus MacIntyre, the 'Bard of Mull', and has promised to read some of his grandfather's poems. Something about Islay cheese being an aphrodisiac in Italy... If you want to find out more, you'll have to come along!

Author announcement - Helen Sedgwick

Author announcement: We're very pleased to have Helen Sedgwick joining us this year to talk about her wonderful debut novel, The Comet Seekers, which won wide critical acclaim across the UK and now also in the States. According to The Herald, “Helen Sedgwick’s story of many lives linked by comets over earth is brave, tender, vivid and magical.”

Helen will also be talking about her next book, The Growing Season, which is out in September this year, and generally joining in the festival fun!

Find out more about Helen here -

Author announcement - Barbara Henderson

Author announcement: we're thrilled that children's author Barbara Henderson will be joining us at this year's festival to talk about her wonderful book 'Fir for Luck', which is a great little Highland Clearances drama centred around a feisty twelve-year-old girl.

Barbara has been building up quite a following with her fun school visits, which have included baking beremeal scones, drama workshops, and more, so we're looking forward to a fun-filled event (no pressure, Barbara)!

We'll run an author feature on Barbara in the Ileach soon, and we'll keep you updated with details of her festival session over the next few months.

Check out her website here -

Author announcement - ES Thomson

ES Thomson was the very first author we invited and we're really excited that she'll be joining us at this year's festival to discuss gothic Victorian crime writing and gory surgical procedures!

Elaine's first book in the Jem Flockhart series, 'Beloved Poison', was so well received that it was shortlisted for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year in 2016 alongside Val McDermid, Doug Johnstone, and Chris Brookmyre. Her next instalment, 'Dark Asylum', has just been released and people are already raving about it!

Author announcement - Sara Sheridan

Author announcement: we're super excited to be welcoming Sara Sheridan to this year's festival to talk about historical thrillers, intrepid women, and much much more! There'll be an author feature on Sara appearing in the next Ileach, and we'll keep you updated about Sara and the details of her festival session over the next few months.