Portobello Book Festival 2022 – Friday 30th September events


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.


12.30-1.30pm                                                                  LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

John Brodie’s Portobello 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).


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


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.


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.


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.

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

Portobello Book Festival 2022 – bookshop event @portybooks – Thursday 29th September – TL Huchu



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

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

Portobello Book Festival 2022 – information about programmes and tickets

We are delighted that Portobello Book Festival will be taking place from Thursday 29th September until Sunday 2nd October, with events at Portobello Library in Rosefield Avenue, Jameson Gate on Portobello High Street, The Portobello Bookshop on the High Street and a walking tour around Portobello. All events are in-person this year.

Programmes will be available from 3rd September from Portobello Library, The Portobello Bookshop and various local businesses. Some will also be handed out at The Portobello Market on 3rd September.

Look out over the weekend for full details of all the events, featuring local writers and readers and internationally renowned authors. As always, we feel there is a great mix of books featured and that there is something for everyone.

Tickets for all events can only be collected from Portobello Library in person in advance and will be available from Monday 12th September. When collecting tickets, you are restricted to four per event per person. Library opening hours are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 10am-8pm, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10-5pm.

Entry to events is free to all, although we are always very grateful for donations to cover expenses. We are also very grateful to all our participants who give their time freely.

We are delighted that our local independent bookshop, The Portobello Bookshop, will be running a bookstall in the library over the weekend carrying books by all our participating authors will be available.

If you want to buy or order books in advance of 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 or by phone or online either to Click and Collect or for delivery. The phone number is 0131 629 6756.

All Covid rules and restrictions have been lifted in Scotland but, as you will know, the virus has not gone away. If you are unwell with COVID-19 symptoms or have a high temperature, please do not attend any events. Although it’s no longer required, please free to wear a face covering if you would like to. In the unlikely event that there are any updates to Covid regulations which mean we need to change or cancel any events, details will be posted on the website and our social media. We’re on Facebook (Portobello Book Festival) and Twitter (@portybookfest).

We hope you enjoy the 2022 Portobello Book Festival!