Thank you from the organising team!

The 14th Portobello Book Festival was a great success and
we hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did

Over the weekend, Portobello Book Festival attracted over 500 people to the library, Jameson Gate and the Portobello Bookshop, and comments across the board have been very positive indeed. Our intention is always to try as far as possible to make sure that those who make up the community of Portobello see themselves, their experience and their interests reflected in the programme. The programme is also designed to bring together a distinctive mix of subjects, writers, commentators and readers.

The organising team would like to thank:

All our participating writers for inspiring and entertaining us

The talented musicians who took part in the Friday evening event Songs from the Last Page

Our fantastic chairs for keeping everything running smoothly

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

Our volunteer Antonia who was a great help on a busy Sunday

Our security man Bill for providing a cheery presence at the door over the weekend and dealing with a rowdy attendee. Don’t worry, it was only Oreo the cat!

The Portobello Bookshop for hosting a great event to kick off the festival. Also for providing staff for the weekend and making sure all our authors’ books were available for sale after each event

Jameson Gate for hosting a fantastic and very popular event on Friday afternoon 

A special thanks to Paul Hudson and the staff of Portobello Library, a fantastic resource on our doorstep. The collaboration with the library and the help and time given by the library staff are what make the festival the success it is

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

We start to plan our October festival well in advance, 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 getting in touch in early January makes it easier for us to consider you.

The 2023 programme will be launched early September
with tickets available shortly afterwards.

Event cancellation – The Punk Rock Politics of Joe Strummer with Gregor Gall

THE PUNK ROCK POLITICS OF JOE STRUMMER: RADICALISM, RESISTANCE AND REBELLION

SATURDAY 1ST OCTOBER – 4.15-5.15pm                                                                     

Unfortunately, due to unavoidable travel delays, this event has had to be cancelled. We apologise for any inconvenience and hope to reschedule the event as part of next year’s festival.

Books by participating authors available to buy 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. The lovely staff will also be running a book stall at the library during the festival.

You will find the bookshop at 46 Portobello High Street. Opening hours are 10am – 6pm, seven days a week. You can order books in person, by phone or online, either to Click and Collect or for delivery. The phone number is 0131 629 6756.

Ticket update

With just over a week to go until the 2022 Portobello Book Festival, here is an update
about tickets. There are still plenty of tickets left and plenty of time to pick them up
from Portobello Library. Remember all events are free to attend.

Events currently fully booked

Writing Workshop

Speaking To Us From The Past

Literary Walking Tour

Slaves and Highlanders

Trudy & Me

A Matter of Time

The Punk Rock Politics of Joe Strummer

Dr Gavin Francis and Professor Devi Sridhar

Extra tickets available

We have been able to make more tickets available for the Witches in Scotland event on Sunday 2nd October. These are now available from the library

If you have tickets for an event and find you can’t come anymore, particularly if it’s for one of the fully booked events, please return them to the library so someone else can get the chance to come along.

If an event you wanted to go to is fully booked, it is always worth coming along on the day just before the event. We’ll let ticket holders in first of course but if there are spaces, you might get in.

Remember you can get up to four tickets per event per person so if you have a friend who would find it difficult to get to the library to pick up a ticket, why not get one for them?

Tickets for this year’s festival are now available from Portobello Library @portylibrary

If you have been having a look through the programme for this year’s Portobello Book Festival and noting down the events you would like to see, then NOW is the time to get yourself down to the library! Tickets are available from today, exclusively from the library in Rosefield Avenue.

Tickets, which are all free, can only be collected from Portobello Library in person. When collecting tickets, you are restricted to four per event per person. Library opening hours are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 10-8pm and Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10am-5pm.

If you have tickets and find you can’t use them, please return them to the library. There are sometimes places available for events on the day. So if you have missed out on tickets for an event your really wanted to see, it’s worth coming along just before the event in case there any spaces.

You can view the full programme by clicking here

Portobello Book Festival 2022 – Full Programme Details

Portobello Book Festival: 29th September – 2nd October 2022
All events are free, but ticketed. Tickets available from 12th September from Portobello Library

   www.portobellobookfestival.com
Twitter @portybookfest
Facebook: Portobello Book Festival

THURSDAY 29th SEPTEMBER

T L HUCHU 7.00-8.00pm at PORTOBELLO BOOK SHOP

Come along to The Portobello Bookshop where T L Huchu will be discussing the two books in his acclaimed Edinburgh Nights series. 

The Library of the Dead and its sequel, Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments, are set in a dystopian Edinburgh, featuring Zimbabwean magic and Scottish pragmatism. 

Chair: Ann Landmann, Director of the Cymera Festival

FRIDAY 30th SEPTEMBER

WRITING WORKSHOP

10.30-12.00noon                                                           LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Long Live Dada! Free Your Mind. Free Your Writing.

Learn about the ground-breaking techniques developed by artists from the DaDa movement and create your own writer’s manifesto. This fun and hands-on session is open to writers of all abilities and styles. The workshop is led by writer and award-winning visual artist, Sasha Saben Callaghan. Sasha’s illustrations have been published in a wide range of publications and featured in national and international exhibitions. All materials will be provided.

JOHN BRODIE’S PORTOBELLO…  PLUS A LITTLE BIT MORE

12.30-1.30pm                                                                  LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

is the latest local history book by Archie Foley and Peter E Ross and is a comprehensive selection of colour images from the archive of John Brodie who in the 1950s and 60s was an amateur photographer living in Wakefield Avenue. Archie begins the session with an illustrated talk after which there will be time for questions and discussion with local historian Dr Margaret Munro and David McLean (Lost Edinburgh).

SPEAKING TO US FROM THE PAST

2.00-3.00pm                                                                         JAMESON GATE

Hugh Miller, stonemason, pioneer geologist and fossil-hunter, ground-breaking popular science writer, folklorist, crusading newspaper editor and man of faith, spent the last years of his life in Portobello. In this session Larissa Reid, freelance science writer, poet and member of The Friends of Hugh Miller and Elsa Panciroli, Highland palaeontologist and author of Beasts Before Us and The Earth, Oxford University Museum of Natural History, reflect on how he has influenced them.

Chair: Jim Gilchrist, Hugh Miller enthusiast

LITERARY PORTOBELLO WALKING TOUR

3.30-4.30pm                                                                     LIBRARY OUTSIDE

For an outlying suburb which only took root as a community in the mid to late 18th century, Portobello can boast an intriguing variety of literary associations from Arthur Conan Doyle to contemporary crime writers, Walter Scott to Jules Verne. During this walking tour, Jim Gilchrist 

reveals some often surprising connections.

STILL LIFE

3.30-4.30pm                                                                   LIBRARY UPSTAIRS          

Poet Henry Bell and photographer Angela Catlin collaborated to create Still Life, a document of the pandemic in Glasgow. Their poems and photographs “offer a glimpse of the grief, fear, solidarity and moments of joy that the experience of Covid-19 brought to Scotland”. Henry and Angela discuss the book and their approach to creating Still Life.

GARETH WILLIAMS: SONGS FROM THE LAST PAGE

7.30-9.00pm                                                            LIBRARY DOWNSTAIRS

An evening of music and conversation that has been specially created by local songwriter and composer Gareth Williams for Chamber Music Scotland as part of EventScotland’s Year of Stories. This collection of new songs takes the last page of a book and that moment when the reader silently reads the final lines of a story and transforms it into music. The event features Gareth at the piano, Katrina Lee on violin and Justyna Jablonska on cello. The acclaimed Scots singer Lori Watson joins them as a special guest to perform a brand new Song from the Last Page written especially for Portobello Book Festival.

SATURDAY 1st OCTOBER

SLAVES AND HIGHLANDERS: SILENCED HISTORIES OF SCOTLAND AND THE CARIBBEAN

10.30-11.30am                                                               LIBRARY UPSTAIRS                                                 

David Alston’s book, which has been described as “necessary reading for our moment”, exposes and explores the prominent role of Highland Scots in the exploitation of enslaved Africans and their descendants in the cotton, sugar and coffee plantations of the 18th and 19th centuries.  This legacy, entwined with so many of our contemporary institutions, must be reckoned with.

Chair: Lisa Williams, Founder of the Edinburgh Caribbean Association and Honorary Fellow, University of Edinburgh

BOOK BUG

11.00-11.30am                                                         LIBRARY DOWNSTAIRS

BOOK BUG returns to the Book Festival for fun, songs and rhymes.

TRUDY & ME

12.00-1.00pm                                                          LIBRARY DOWNSTAIRS

Bridget Campbell, author and illustrator, discusses her latest project Trudy & Me, a rhyming children’s picture book set in Portobello. Sharing the perspective of Patrick (4) big brother to Trudy (2) who has Down’s Syndrome, it is a joyful book about siblings and about accepting and celebrating difference. Lauren Eliott Lockhart, Patrick and Trudy’s mum, joins Bridget for the session which includes a reading of the book, a discussion of how it was produced, a chance to see original artwork as well as activities for children.

A MATTER OF TIME

12.00-1.00pm                                                                 LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Very different eras of history feature in the novels of both Mary Paulson-Ellis (20th century Portobello in Emily Noble’s Disgrace) and Sue Lawrence (16th century Scotland in The Green Lady). Join them as they discuss their books, how they make their historical settings authentic and just why we find the past so fascinating.

Chair: Joanne Baird

STRONG BEGINNINGS

1.30-2.30pm                                                                   LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Caron McKinlay (The Storytellers) and Elissa Soave (Ginger and Me) speak about the joys and challenges of publishing their debut novels in 2022.

In The Storytellers three women trapped in the afterlife are forced to revisit their toxic pasts to answer the ultimate question What is love?

In Ginger and Me everything changes when Wendy meets Ginger in this part coming of age and part mystery thriller.

Chair: Paul Hudson

DANGER ZONES

3.00-4.00pm                                                                        LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Author Mark Fleming discusses his new book 1976: Growing Up Bipolar, a disturbing but life-affirming memoir. From playing gigs and recording an album and BBC radio session during Edinburgh’s electrifying post-punk scene to severe depression and locked psych wards, he describes how music has soundtracked the highs and lows of his life. 

Chair: Bill Jameson

THE PUNK ROCK POLITICS OF JOE STRUMMER: RADICALISM, RESISTANCE AND REBELLION

4.15-5.15pm                                                                     LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Gregor Gall, Visiting Professor of Industrial Relations at the University of Leeds and the editor of Scottish Left Review, draws on Joe Strummer’s lyrics, bootleg recordings, interviews and testimony from over 100 followers, to take the reader on a journey through the political influences and motivations that defined one of the UK’s greatest punk icons and produced a lasting legacy of progressive politics.

Chair: Joe Herzberg, drummer and Clash fan

DR GAVIN FRANCIS AND PROFESSOR DEVI SRIDHAR

5.30-7.00pm                                                            LIBRARY DOWNSTAIRS

Edinburgh GP, Dr Gavin Francis’s 7th book Recovery, the Lost Art of Convalescence is not only a useful practical guide, but also an uplifting meditation on hope and healing. World-leading expert on global health, Professor Devi Sridhar’s book Preventable: How a Pandemic Changed the World and How to Stop the Next One, tells the extraordinary story of Covid-19 and how global politics shape our health.

Chair: Stewart Mercer, Professor of Primary Care and Multimorbidity, Edinburgh University

SUNDAY 2nd OCTOBER

MEET THE AUTHORS

11.00-12.00noon                                                     LIBRARY DOWNSTAIRS

Join Emma Christie (Find Her First) and fellow crime writer Trevor Wood (Dead End Street) as they discuss everything from their latest releases to their writing processes. There will be an opportunity to chat with the authors and ask some questions of your own.

WITCHES IN SCOTLAND

11.00-12.00noon                                                           LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

The past persecution of women accused of witchcraft in Scotland is well known and witches often feature in Scottish history and folklore. 

The Lighthouse Witches by C J Cooke tells the tale of a haunted Scottish island and the mysterious disappearance of three women from the same family. She is in conversation with Olga Wojtas, whose latest novel Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Weird Sisters features Macbeth’s fictional witches.

HOLLYWOOD, TARTAN AND SUBCULTURES

12.30-1.30pm                                                                 LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Just a few of the topics author, journalist and fashion blogger Caroline Young has covered in her extensive and varied writing on fashion, film and pop culture. Caroline talks about writing and researching her diverse range of books including The Colour of Fashion, Hitchcock’s Heroines, Style Tribes: The Fashion of Subcultures and her latest Fashionquake.

Chair: Ellie Bell-Thompson, lecturer in Fashion and Textiles, Edinburgh College

WRITING YOUR LIFE

12.30-1.30pm                                                          LIBRARY DOWNSTAIRS

Catherine Simpson has used her lived experience to inspire one novel Truestory and two memoirs When I Had a Little Sister and One Body, covering subjects including raising an autistic child, family suicide and experiencing cancer. Join her as she discusses the pros and cons of writing from life. In this, Scotland’s Year of Stories, you may be inspired to start writing your own.

Chair: Louise Kelly

ISLANDS, THRILLERS AND ROMANCES

2.00-3.00pm                                                            LIBRARY DOWNSTAIRS

Christopher Brookmyre’s thriller The Cliff House and Jenny Colgan’s romance An Island Wedding both have Scottish islands as their backdrop.  Chris and Jenny (did you know they are both winners of Celebrity Mastermind?) talk about their writing and discuss the importance of settings in providing atmosphere in their novels.  

Chair: Susan Elsley, writer and island enthusiast

ALTERNATIVE HISTORY OF 20th CENTURY MUSIC

2.00-3.00pm                                                                       LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

BBC Radio 3’s Kate Molleson offers a new take on classical musical history. From the Philippines to Ethiopia to Mexico, she shines a light on charismatic composers who made radical music in extraordinary times. This event digs into questions around why the conventional canon needs redressing and how to meaningfully diversify an artform whose dominant narrative has been almost exclusively white and male for centuries.  

ELLEN RENTON: AN EYE FOR AN EYE FOR AN EYE

3.30-4.30pm                                                                   LIBRARY UPSTAIRS         

Poet, performer and theatre maker Ellen Renton talks about and reads from her debut book of poems that look at what it means to be a girl and how this intersects with disability/visual impairment.

Chair: Paul Hudson

PROGRAMMES! PROGRAMMES! FOOTBALL AND LIFE FROM WARTIME TO LOCKDOWN

3.30-4.30pm                                                                LIBRARY DOWNSTAIRS

Cliff Hague’s book is a social and economic history of football and Britain told through football match day programmes. Cliff talks about how more than strips have changed over the decades.

Chair: Steve Harvey

PORTY FOOD MAP, THE TRADERS’ STORIES

5.00-6.00pm                                                            LIBRARY DOWNSTAIRS

Come and listen to the story behind the collation and production of this unique book which gives an insight into the background and range of food outlets in Portobello. Jo Turbitt, who devised the project in collaboration with Portobello Central, is on hand to discuss the project and may have some tasty nibbles to whet your appetite!!

 

VENUES

PORTOBELLO LIBRARY

14 Rosefield Avenue, EH15 1AU

JAMESON GATE

3 High Street, Portobello EH15 1DW

THE PORTOBELLO BOOKSHOP

46 Portobello High Street, EH15 1DA

https://theportobellobookshop.com

PORTOBELLO BOOK FESTIVAL is organised by a group of local book enthusiasts in collaboration with Portobello Library.  If you have ideas or would like to be involved, please contact portobellobookfestival@gmail.com Tickets are free and contributors are not paid. The festival is entirely dependent on donations to meet basic running costs. Books by contributing authors can be purchased at the festival bookstall in the library and from the Portobello Bookshop.

Portobello Book Festival 2022 – Sunday 2nd October events

MEET THE AUTHORS

11.00-12.00noon                                                     LIBRARY DOWNSTAIRS

Join Emma Christie (Find Her First) and fellow crime writer Trevor Wood (Dead End Street) as they discuss everything from their latest releases to their writing processes. There will be an opportunity to chat with the authors and ask some questions of your own.

WITCHES IN SCOTLAND

11.00-12.00noon                                                           LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

The past persecution of women accused of witchcraft in Scotland is well known and witches often feature in Scottish history and folklore. 

The Lighthouse Witches by C J Cooke tells the tale of a haunted Scottish island and the mysterious disappearance of three women from the same family. She is in conversation with Olga Wojtas, whose latest novel Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Weird Sisters features Macbeth’s fictional witches.

HOLLYWOOD, TARTAN AND SUBCULTURES

12.30-1.30pm                                                                 LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Just a few of the topics author, journalist and fashion blogger Caroline Young has covered in her extensive and varied writing on fashion, film and pop culture. Caroline talks about writing and researching her diverse range of books including The Colour of Fashion, Hitchcock’s Heroines, Style Tribes: The Fashion of Subcultures and her latest Fashionquake.

Chair: Ellie Bell-Thompson, lecturer in Fashion and Textiles, Edinburgh College

WRITING YOUR LIFE

12.30-1.30pm                                                          LIBRARY DOWNSTAIRS

Catherine Simpson has used her lived experience to inspire one novel Truestory and two memoirs When I Had a Little Sister and One Body, covering subjects including raising an autistic child, family suicide and experiencing cancer. Join her as she discusses the pros and cons of writing from life. In this, Scotland’s Year of Stories, you may be inspired to start writing your own.

Chair: Louise Kelly

ISLANDS, THRILLERS AND ROMANCES

2.00-3.00pm                                                            LIBRARY DOWNSTAIRS

Christopher Brookmyre’s thriller The Cliff House and Jenny Colgan’s romance An Island Wedding both have Scottish islands as their backdrop.  Chris and Jenny (did you know they are both winners of Celebrity Mastermind?) talk about their writing and discuss the importance of settings in providing atmosphere in their novels.  

Chair: Susan Elsley, writer and island enthusiast

ALTERNATIVE HISTORY OF 20th CENTURY MUSIC

2.00-3.00pm                                                                       LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

BBC Radio 3’s Kate Molleson offers a new take on classical musical history. From the Philippines to Ethiopia to Mexico, she shines a light on charismatic composers who made radical music in extraordinary times. This event digs into questions around why the conventional canon needs redressing and how to meaningfully diversify an artform whose dominant narrative has been almost exclusively white and male for centuries.  

ELLEN RENTON: AN EYE FOR AN EYE FOR AN EYE

3.30-4.30pm                                                                   LIBRARY UPSTAIRS         

Poet, performer and theatre maker Ellen Renton talks about and reads from her debut book of poems that look at what it means to be a girl and how this intersects with disability/visual impairment.

Chair: Paul Hudson

PROGRAMMES! PROGRAMMES! FOOTBALL AND LIFE FROM WARTIME TO LOCKDOWN

3.30-4.30pm                                                                LIBRARY DOWNSTAIRS

Cliff Hague’s book is a social and economic history of football and Britain told through football match day programmes. Cliff talks about how more than strips have changed over the decades.

Chair: Steve Harvey

PORTY FOOD MAP, THE TRADERS’ STORIES

5.00-6.00pm                                                            LIBRARY DOWNSTAIRS

Come and listen to the story behind the collation and production of this unique book which gives an insight into the background and range of food outlets in Portobello. Jo Turbitt, who devised the project in collaboration with Portobello Central, is on hand to discuss the project and may have some tasty nibbles to whet your appetite!!

Tickets for all events are available from Portobello Library
Books available from The Portobello Bookshop

Portobello Book Festival 2022 – Saturday 1st October – afternoon events

STRONG BEGINNINGS

1.30-2.30pm                                                                   LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Caron McKinlay (The Storytellers) and Elissa Soave (Ginger and Me) speak about the joys and challenges of publishing their debut novels in 2022.

In The Storytellers three women trapped in the afterlife are forced to revisit their toxic pasts to answer the ultimate question What is love?

In Ginger and Me everything changes when Wendy meets Ginger in this part coming of age and part mystery thriller.

Chair: Paul Hudson

DANGER ZONES

3.00-4.00pm                                                                        LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Author Mark Fleming discusses his new book 1976: Growing Up Bipolar, a disturbing but life-affirming memoir. From playing gigs and recording an album and BBC radio session during Edinburgh’s electrifying post-punk scene to severe depression and locked psych wards, he describes how music has soundtracked the highs and lows of his life. 

Chair: Bill Jameson

THE PUNK ROCK POLITICS OF JOE STRUMMER: RADICALISM, RESISTANCE AND REBELLION

4.15-5.15pm                                                                     LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Gregor Gall, Visiting Professor of Industrial Relations at the University of Leeds and the editor of Scottish Left Review, draws on Joe Strummer’s lyrics, bootleg recordings, interviews and testimony from over 100 followers, to take the reader on a journey through the political influences and motivations that defined one of the UK’s greatest punk icons and produced a lasting legacy of progressive politics.

Chair: Joe Herzberg, drummer and Clash fan

DR GAVIN FRANCIS AND PROFESSOR DEVI SRIDHAR

5.30-7.00pm                                                            LIBRARY DOWNSTAIRS

Edinburgh GP, Dr Gavin Francis’s 7th book Recovery, the Lost Art of Convalescence is not only a useful practical guide, but also an uplifting meditation on hope and healing. World-leading expert on global health, Professor Devi Sridhar’s book Preventable: How a Pandemic Changed the World and How to Stop the Next One, tells the extraordinary story of Covid-19 and how global politics shape our health.

Chair: Stewart Mercer, Professor of Primary Care and Multimorbidity, Edinburgh University

Tickets for all events are available from Portobello Library
Books available from The Portobello Bookshop

Portobello Book Festival 2022 – Saturday 1st October – morning events

SLAVES AND HIGHLANDERS: SILENCED HISTORIES OF SCOTLAND AND THE CARIBBEAN

10.30-11.30am                                                               LIBRARY UPSTAIRS                                                 

David Alston’s book, which has been described as “necessary reading for our moment”, exposes and explores the prominent role of Highland Scots in the exploitation of enslaved Africans and their descendants in the cotton, sugar and coffee plantations of the 18th and 19th centuries.  This legacy, entwined with so many of our contemporary institutions, must be reckoned with.

Chair: Lisa Williams, Founder of the Edinburgh Caribbean Association and Honorary Fellow, University of Edinburgh

BOOK BUG

11.00-11.30am                                                         LIBRARY DOWNSTAIRS

BOOK BUG returns to the Book Festival for fun, songs and rhymes.

TRUDY & ME

12.00-1.00pm                                                          LIBRARY DOWNSTAIRS

Bridget Campbell, author and illustrator, discusses her latest project Trudy & Me, a rhyming children’s picture book set in Portobello. Sharing the perspective of Patrick (4) big brother to Trudy (2) who has Down’s Syndrome, it is a joyful book about siblings and about accepting and celebrating difference. Lauren Eliott Lockhart, Patrick and Trudy’s mum, joins Bridget for the session which includes a reading of the book, a discussion of how it was produced, a chance to see original artwork as well as activities for children.

A MATTER OF TIME

12.00-1.00pm                                                                 LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Very different eras of history feature in the novels of both Mary Paulson-Ellis (20th century Portobello in Emily Noble’s Disgrace) and Sue Lawrence (16th century Scotland in The Green Lady). Join them as they discuss their books, how they make their historical settings authentic and just why we find the past so fascinating.

Chair: Joanne Baird

Tickets for all events are available from Portobello Library
Books available from The Portobello Bookshop