Every year, Islay Book Festival sends authors to each of the schools across Islay and Jura. We aim to reach as many class groups as possible, from nursery through to advanced higher, and to offer fun, engaging sessions that inspire our islands’ schoolchildren with an interest in reading, writing and creativity. While our schools programme is not open to the public, we thought we’d highlight some of the authors delivering lively, jam-packed events for us this year on the Thursday and Friday of our festival.

This year’s schools programme has been carefully put together by our festival coordinator, Kirsty Izat, and is in no small part made possible thanks to the sponsorship of the Scottish Book Trust, the Mactaggart Third Fund, Baillie Gifford, the Schroder Foundation, and the British Council, as well as the generosity of the individual authors.

Check out our children’s programme (to be announced soon), taking place over the festival weekend, to which members of the public are very welcome! All children’s events are free!


Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve


This lively and award-winning author-illustrator double act will have travelled a very long way, from London and Devon, to visit Port Ellen, Bowmore, Port Charlotte and Keills primary schools, and will also be offering a comic workshop at Islay High School for the S1 and S2 year groups.


Morag Hood

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Popular Scottish children’s author-illustrator Morag Hood is going to be visiting Small Isles Primary on Jura, and will also be doing a bit of a nursery marathon, as she’ll be visiting each of our pre-five groups over the two days.

Stacey MacLean


Stacey, our Gaelic-speaking international writer in residence, definitely wins the prize for the author who has travelled furthest to the festival, as she’s coming all the way from Cape Breton Island in Canada! Stacey will be working in each of our schools while she’s here, including our Gaelic medium unit in Bowmore, introducing a bit of Cape Breton culture to this year’s school visits!

Ian Rankin

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The international bestselling creator of Inspector Rebus is going to have a busy time at Islay Book Festival as he’s also visiting Islay High School’s Higher and Advanced Higher English groups for a spot of crime-writing action!


Jackie Kay

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Scotland’s poet laureate has kindly agreed to spend some time at Islay High School while she’s here, and bring a bit of poetic inspiration to our National 5 English group.