The next Portobello Book Festival will run from 29th September to 2nd October 2022

The organising team has been busy planning a brilliant Portobello Book Festival for 2022. This year it will begin with an event at The Portobello Bookshop on Thursday 29th September then run over the weekend until Sunday 2nd October. Full details will be revealed early September so watch this space.

We start to plan our October Festival in January so if you’re interested in being considered for inclusion contacting us in the first half of January is a good idea. There are always limited spots and after our early planning sessions most of these are already accounted for. 

We’re volunteers so can’t always keep track of requests carrying over year on year so making our job easier and getting in touch in early January makes it easier for us to consider you. 

A thank you from the Portobello Book Festival organising team

The 13th Portobello Book Festival was a great success and we hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did. It was great to be able to be back in the library again and to have in-person events, as well as a couple of events online. 

The organising team would like to thank:

Cal MacAninch for excellent readings and the talented musicians who took part in the opening event celebrating the launch of our publication Pandemic Portobello. Also thanks and congratulations to all the local writers whose work was included. Pick up your free copy from the library if you don’t have one already.

All our participating writers for inspiring us

Our fantastic chairs for keeping everything running smoothly

Our soundman Jock and his assistants Jill and Riley for making sure that everyone could be heard

The security and cleaning staff for being so cheery as they worked – they really helped create a lovely atmosphere. 

The folk from the Chest Heart and Stroke shop who lent us their step at a moment’s notice when we realised the stage needed something to make it more accessible. It felt like a real community effort to see them so pleased to help when we were in need. 

Ally Heather for organising the online event with Peter Geoghagen and Peter McColl

Emma Christie for organising and hosting the online crime fiction event with the Caledonia Crime Collective

The Portobello Bookshop for making sure all our authors’ books were available for sale both in the shop and on their website’s book festival page: https://theportobellobookshop.com/porty-book-festival/

Evelyn Kilmurry (Locality Manager for North East Locality) and Andrew McTaggart (Service Manager for North East Locality) for their help and advice on Covid protocols to make sure we were able to use the library safely.

A huge thanks to Paul, Lesley and the staff of Portobello Library, a fantastic resource on our doorstep, without whose help and time we would not be able to run our festival. Special mention to Ian for spending his whole day off making sure our last minute tech requirements for the unexpected zoom event could be met.

And of course, thanks to everyone who came along to the events and created such a vibrant atmosphere.

The 2022 programme will be launched early September with tickets available shortly afterwards. The organising team will be starting to plan for this very soon. Any ideas and suggestions will be warmly welcomed.

Watch now: Democracy for Sale? with Peter Geoghegan

Sunday 3rd October – 3.30pm
Click the YouTube link below to watch this event

Peter Geoghegan, the well-known writer, journalist and broadcaster, talks about his recent, highly acclaimed book Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics.  According to the Observer, ‘This should be the most discussed political book of the year.  The subject could not be more urgent.’ 

Chair: Peter McColl

Change to this evening’s Val McDermid event

Unfortunately, Val McDermid is now unable to join us in person this evening. However, through the wonders of technology, she will be joining the live audience and chair via Zoom. The event will still take place in the library at 5pm, chaired by Louise Fairbairn, and will not be streamed online. Those attending will still have the opportunity to put questions to Val.

The queen of crime talks about her latest thriller, the first in her new series.  In the winter of discontent, Allie Burns and her fellow journalist Danny Sullivan, at the risk of making powerful enemies, are exposing the criminal underbelly of respectable Scotland.

Books by all our participating authors are available to order from The Portobello Bookshop.
Click here to visit the PBF page

Watch now: The Caledonia Crime Collective

Saturday 2nd October – 12.00 noon
Click the YouTube link below to watch the event

Join the Caledonia Crime Collective (CCC) as they discuss the thrills, spills and sometimes chills of everything Tartan Noir and all its facets. From gritty police procedurals to psychological thrillers – and even a splash of the supernatural – the panel will discuss and debate the diversity of modern Scottish crime fiction. 

Hosted by Portobello author and CCC founder Emma Christie (The Silent Daughter).

Attending events this weekend? Here’s some useful information!

There’s just one day to go before the 2021 Portobello Book Festival begins and we thought it would be useful to give you some information about attending events. Some things are different from previous years so please do make yourself familiar with what is going to happen this year.

Entry to each event will be five minutes before it is due to start.

If your event is in the library upstairs, you will enter and leave by the fire exit door to the left of the main entrance. If you require to use the ramp, that will still be possible of course.

If your event is in the library downstairs, you will enter and leave by the usual main library doors.

As rooms will be cleaned between events, even if you have a ticket for the following event you will need to leave the building.

You must have your ticket with you. Regretfully, we cannot admit anyone without a ticket, no matter the reason. The only exceptions are guests of the contributors whose names are on the guest list.

There are no tickets available on the door before events this year. If you have a ticket you now can’t use, please return it to the library as soon as possible. Many events have no tickets left so this will give others a chance to attend.

You must register attendance by either checking in with the QR code, or via the Check In Scotland website or by giving your contact details to the staff.

You must wear a face covering at all times in the library, unless you are exempt.

We will be filling up the events from the front and after each event, we will ask those at the back to leave first.

As windows will be open for ventilation throughout all events, please wrap up warmly!

We will, as always, be delighted to receive any donations. Buckets will be available on the way out after each event. If you do intend to donate, it would be helpful if you could have your money ready as you leave to avoid queueing.

With all these precautions in place, we hope that you will feel safe and enjoy the events over the weekend. We are looking forward to seeing everyone and listening to all our fabulous participants.

Books by all our participating authors are available to order from The Portobello Bookshop.
Click here to visit the PBF page

Checking in for Portobello Book Festival events

As you’ll be aware, we are required to take contact details for everyone attending book festival events at the library for Test & Protect contact tracing purposes. To make this as quick as possible, and to minimise queuing, we’d really appreciate if people could scan the Check in Scotland QR code while waiting to get in to each event. There will be posters up at the library you can scan with your smartphone or you can use the website as mentioned on the poster below.

If you don’t have a smartphone, staff will take a note of details on a paper record. Details will be stored in accordance with data protection rules and kept for 21 days. Details will only be used to get in touch with you to advise if you may be a close contact of someone who has tested positive.

Please remember that you must wear a face covering at all time during events, unless you are exempt.

How to watch our online events

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

This year you will be able to watch two of our events online. The Caledonia Crime Collective will be chatting about the diversity of Scottish crime writing from 12 noon on Saturday 2nd October and Peter Geoghegan discusses his book Democracy for Sale from 3.30pm on Sunday 3rd October.

To view these events, simply visit this website at those times and you will find a link to watch. They will also be available to watch again later.

We know a lot of people enjoyed the online events last year and we did consider trying to do some more online this year. However, as a small, free, volunteer-run festival, regrettably we simply don’t have enough people to be able to comply with the Covid regulations while also trying to stream or film for later. The number of people allowed to attend each event is strictly limited and include the contributors, staff and volunteers. We are sure you will understand that we have had to prioritise everything we need to put in place to ensure the Festival can go ahead in person this year.

Got tickets but can’t come? Please return them to the library!

Photo by Kevin Woolard

As you’ll know, Covid regulations mean that our audience numbers are smaller this year. Tickets for several events have already all been snapped up. So if you have tickets for an event and now find you can’t come, please return them to the library so that others can have the chance to attend.

With all tickets having to be picked up in advance, and none available at the door on the day, we’d really appreciate if any that can’t be used are returned. Thank you.

Library opening hours are: are Monday and Wednesday 1-5pm, Tuesday and Thursday 10-5pm, Friday and Saturday 10am-2pm.