Portobello Book Festival 2020 Programme

As you’ll know, the whole book festival will be online this year. Click on the links below to find out more about each event and when you will be able to watch them. To watch the events, just come to the website at the time indicated and click on the post. You will find either a video to watch or a podcast to listen to for each event which you can access at any time after the event has gone live.

Archie Foley – More Footprints in the Sand

Anne Stormont – Finding Fulfilment

Tom Mole – The Secret Life of Books

Janis Mackay – A Sense of Place and Imagination

Doug Johnstone – Dark Humour

Creative Writing Workshop with J L Hall

Edward Ross – Gamish: A Graphic of Gaming

John D Burns – mountaineer, writer and storyteller – talks to Portobello Book Festival.

Jackie Baldwin and Olga Wojtas – Captivating Crime

Gavin Francis – Island Dreams

Sheila M Averbuch – Social and Anti-Social Media

Peter Ross – A Tomb with a View

Leonie Charlton – Marram

Letters from Lockdown

Keith Skene – Resolving the climate emergency: Why societal and environmental sustainability are interdependent

Donald Bloxham – History: Why Bother?

Through Travellers’ Eyes (edited Leonie Charlton and Peter E Ross)

Listen to the Porty Podcast to find out about next weekend’s Portobello Book festival @portypodcast

David Calder from the Porty Podcast recently interviewed Joanne from the organising team to find out how the festival will be different this year and to hear about a few of the events.

180 Portobello Book Festival Online Porty Podcast

Next weekend, the 12th Portobello Book Festival will get under way; you may already have looked at the excellent programme on the website (link below). However, it will all be very different from those of previous years – the pandemic has seen to that! Like so many other events across the world, technology has come to the rescue. People will access every session online from the comfort of their own homes. There won’t be the same atmosphere around the High Street with people bustling from venue to venue. However, as Porty Podcast Producer David Calder found out, the upside is that, for once, we will have a permanent record of everything throughout the entire weekend.https://portobellobookfestival.wordpress.com/@PortyBookFest
  1. 180 Portobello Book Festival Online
  2. 179 Rowing Returns
  3. 178 Kilt Walk 2020
  4. 177 Art Walk Porty 2020
  5. 176 Craigentinny and Telferton Allotments

Books by all our participating authors are available to order from our local bookshop. Click the link to visit the page.
The Portobello Bookshop

Through Travellers’ Eyes edited by Leonie Charlton and Peter E Ross @charltonleonie

Sunday 4th October – 5pm – online podcast

Through Travellers’ Eyes is the product of two years of collecting stories, poems and snippets of conversation shared by people from Scotland’s Gypsy/Traveller communities. A series of workshops and personal interactions in Perth & Kinross, Edinburgh and the Lothians and North & Mid Argyll organised by MECOPP Gypsy/Traveller Carers’ Project led to the publication of this book.

Some of the contributors are regular writers of poems and stories whilst others had never considered that their storytelling skills could be of any interest outside of their own community. Katrina, who has been writing poems for many years, says: “I feel proud that I’ve had some of my poems published. I’ve not achieved much in life but this is one thing I’ve really achieved and I’m proud of. It’s something that my grandkids can look at when I’m no longer here and hopefully they’ll be proud to say that their granny had poems published.”

The book is full of personal stories and reflections of times gone by and of life in contemporary Scotland in an ever changing landscape of social and economic change. 

In its pages you will find gems that will touch you, make you laugh and give you a greater understanding of the traditions, lives and rich culture of Gypsy/Traveller communities in Scotland.

Books by all our participating authors are available to order from our local bookshop. Click the link to visit the page.
The Portobello Bookshop

Books by participating authors available to order from The Portobello Bookshop @portybooks

Books by all our participating authors will be available to buy or order from our local independent bookshop The Portobello Bookshop.

You will find the bookshop at 46 Portobello High Street. Opening hours are currently Tuesday to Saturday 11am-5pm. You can order books in person or by phone or online either to Click and Collect or for delivery. The phone number is 0131 629 6756.

The lovely people at the bookshop have created a page especially for Portobello Book Festival – just click on the link below.

Portobello Bookshop – PBF page

History: Why Bother? With Donald Bloxham

Sunday 4th October – 4pm – online

History matters, we know that. Evidence of its importance is all around us, in our films, bookshops, days of remembrance, political discourse and, as has recently been underlined, statues. But why does it matter? Why do people write it and read it? Here there is less consensus. My talk, like my book Why History? A History, begins at the earliest days of the western historical tradition, in ancient Greece, and charts the range of justifications that existed at that time for studying the past. It then considers changes and important continuities in these justifications across time, up to the present. Not only do many different rationales for history exist alongside each other today, some of these rationales are in tension with one another, and some of the most important tensions are considered in the conclusion of the talk.

Donald Bloxham is Richard Pares Professor of History at the University of Edinburgh

Books by all our participating authors are available to order from our local bookshop. Click the link to visit the page.
The Portobello Bookshop

“Resolving the climate emergency: Why societal and environmental sustainability are interdependent” with Dr Keith Skene @keith_skene

Sunday 4th October – 3pmonline

Dr Keith Skene is an ecologist and the author of five books and over  forty scientific papers, focused on sustainability and our place on  the planet. Born in the historic city of Armagh in Ireland, Keith  spent thirteen years as a principal investigator and lecturer at the University of Dundee before becoming director of the Biosphere Research Institute (www.biosri.org). The Biosphere Research Institute produces cutting-edge research on environmental, economic and societal sustainability, focusing on a fundamental dialogue around our place in the Earth system. Keith has carried out field research across the planet, from Kenya to the Carpathian mountains, from the Scottish Highlands to Southwest Australia and from Vietnam to Trinidad. His latest book, Artificial Intelligence and the Environmental Crisis: Can technology Really Save the World (Routledge), sets out a radical new approach, addressing the existential crisis facing humanity, beginning with a social revolution, where societal and environmental  sustainability are approached as inseparable issues.

Books by all our participating authors are available to order from our local bookshop. Click the link to visit the page.
The Portobello Bookshop

Letters from Lockdown

Sunday 4th October – 2pm – online

Six go scripting through creative writing

Letters from Lockdown has been written by a group of people in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. The group came together through an online creative writing course facilitated by ERA during the great pandemic of 2020. Through the Making Connections course the group quickly made connections with each other and the wider world as well as on paper.

ERA – Edinburgh Recovery Activities is a community project which provides activities, groups and social events for people in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction.

Please note, the views expressed in each of these written pieces is that of the author and not of ERA.

If you would like to contact the group, please do so via jemma.eveleigh@evoc.org.uk 

Leonie Charlton discusses Marram with Peter E Ross – @charltonleonie

Sunday 4th October – 1pm – online

Leonie Charlton lives on the west coast of Scotland in Glen Lonan, Argyll. She writes creative non-fiction, poetry and fiction. Her work has appeared widely in publications such as Causeway, Northwords Now and The Blue Nib. Her prizewinning poetry pamphlet ‘Ten Minutes of Weather Away’ will be published by Cinnamon Press early 2021. Her first full-length book was published by Sandstone Press in March 2020. Marram is the story of her journey through the Outer Hebrides with Highland ponies; the travelogue is intercut with intimate memoir as she leaves behind beads in memory of her mother. Marram has been described as ‘a love letter to the natural world and a clear appraisal of complicated relationships – gentle, raw and honest.’ Much of her writing is based on a sense of place and our relationship with other species and the natural world. http://www.leoniecharlton.co.uk.

Books by all our participating authors are available to order from our local bookshop. Click the link to visit the page.
The Portobello Bookshop

A Tomb with a View – Peter Ross in conversation with Alistair Heather @PeterAlanRoss @Historic_Ally

Sunday 4th October – 12noon – online

In A Tomb With A View, award-winning Glasgow author and journalist Peter Ross invites you to explore a grave new world of fascination and delight as he uncovers the stories and glories of graveyards. Who are London’s outcast dead and why is David Bowie their guardian angel? What is the remarkable truth about Phoebe Hessel, who disguised herself as a man to fight alongside her sweetheart, and went on to live in the reigns of five monarchs? Why is a Bristol cemetery the perfect wedding venue for goths? This is a book that shines a light on how we remember the ones we have lost, brimming with life, compassion and love. So push open the rusting gate, sweep aside the ivy, and take a look inside …

Alistair Heather is a writer and presenter from Angus. Most recently he wrote and presented a BBC documentary on the Scots Language, Rebel Tongue. He is a columnist at The National newspaper and is a regular contributor to BBC radio and television programmes.

Books by all our participating authors are available to order from our local bookshop. Click the link to visit the page.
The Portobello Bookshop