Our guide to Scotland's book festivals

Category: Reading

Are you planning on holidaying in Scotland? If so, you’ll find a country bursting at the spine with literary activity.

This is a country with a vibrant, and ever-growing, book festival circuit featuring top names in stunning locations to offer you shelter from the incessant Scottish sunshine.

We’ve included as many of these diverse festivals as we could in this guide. Get booking!


Colonsay Book Festival | 27 – 28 April 2013

Set sail for the Inner Hebrides to the home of Clan Macfie and enjoy Ian Rankin, Sara Sheridan, Candia McWilliam and Mairi Hedderwick.


Ullapool Book Festival | 10 -12 May 2013

Scotland's north west coast is surely one of the more picturesque spots in Europe. The scenery alone would merit a visit to Ullapool, but from 10 to 12 May you can also spend time with Ian Rankin, James Robertson, Jenni Fagan, Ewan Morrison and Kathleen Jamie – all within the cosy confines of Ullapool’s Village Hall.


Borders Book Festival | 13 – 16 June 2013

Amongst the rolling heather-clad hills of the Borders – a picturesque area of Scotland often overlooked by visitors – sit the gardens of Harmony House in Melrose. In these green surrounds you can enjoy school, family and adult events with Dr Gavin Francis, Hilary Mantel, Darren Shan, Joanna Lumley, William McIlvanney, Kate Mosse, and many more big names, including our very own Bookbug.


Boswell Book Festival | 17 – 19 May 2013

The world’s only biography festival takes over Auchinleck House in Ayrshire during the month of May. Offering glamping for the semi-intrepid, its esoteric programme packs a punch with James Naughtie, food writer Claire Macdonald, Ewan Morrison, James Robertson, Artemis Cooper, John Sessions and Jane Ridley.


Wigtown Book Festival | 27 September – 6 October 2013

Wigtown in Dumfries & Galloway is Scotland’s book town with many book-related businesses to visit between events. Tickets for the main autumn festival go on sale in July but you can head there for the Spring weekend from 3 to 6 May and enjoy an exciting range of literary events including cycle rides, music and knitting.


Inverness Book Festival | 7 - 10 August 2013

Warm up for Edinburgh with a trip to Britain’s fastest growing city. Events take place by the river at the very handsome Eden Court. Head to IBF’s website now to sign up for programme updates.


Edinburgh International Book Festival | 10 – 26 August 2013

The largest public celebration of the written world in the world in the heart of Edinburgh. Lounge around the leafy Charlotte Square with the world’s top writers for adults, teens and kids. Over 800 authors take to the stage in just over a fortnight and with 750 events there is more than something for everyone. Tune in on 20 June 2013 for the 2013 programme launch.


Nairn Book & Arts Festival | 3 - 8 September 2013

For those who like their literary events with a bit of art and music mixed in comes the Nairn Book & Arts Festival. The programme for this Highland town’s 10th festival launches in June, giving you plenty time to plan a trip up north.


Bloody Scotland | 13 - 15 September 2013

Scotland’s first international crime festival will return for its second year this Autumn. The biggest names in Tartan Noir will gather to send a chill down the spine of Stirling audiences alongside top crime writers from across the world.


Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair | October 2013 (TBC)

Push the limits of your awareness of the world you live in at the 17th Edinburgh Radical Book Fair, held at one of Edinburgh’s best known social enterprises, Out of the Blue. Presented by Word Power Books, this five-day festival celebrates writers, publishers and readers neglected by the mainstream.


Lennoxlove Book Festival | 2 - 4 November 2013

Take your mind off the impending darkness of winter with a soul warming visit to Haddington in East Lothian. The 2013 programme isn’t yet available but in 2012 J.K. Rowling, Michael Morpurgo, Steve Cole, Alistair Darling and Richard Wilson entertained the crowds.


Also, save the date for West Dunbartonshire's Booked! Festival of Words in May, the Islay Book Festival in September and the Scottish Storytelling Festival and the Dundee Literary Festival in October. For a full list of all the book festivals taking place in Scotland each year, visit the Book Festival Scotland website.

For updates on literary happenings in Scotland and much more besides, join @ScottishBkTrust on Twitter.

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