Watch now – Leonie Charlton discusses Marram with Peter E Ross – @charltonleonie

Sunday 4th October – 1pm
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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 The Portobello Bookshop.
Click here to visit the PBF page

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

Sunday 4th October – 12noon
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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 The Portobello Bookshop.
Click here to visit the PBF page

Watch now – Social and Anti-Social Media with Sheila M Averbuch @sheilamaverbuch

Sunday 4th October – 11am
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Social and Anti-Social Media

Sheila M. Averbuch is a former journalist who’s interviewed billionaires, hackers and would-be Mars colonists. She holds a 2019 New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust and lives with her family near Edinburgh. Her first novel, Friend Me, is a middle-grade thriller about cyberbullying, revenge, and social media: Roisin, an Irish transplant to America, is mercilessly bullied at school and pours her heart out to her online BFF Haley. But when the bully suffers a gruesome accident, Roisin begins to wonder if Haley is responsible…or hiding even darker secrets.  Find out more at www.sheilamaverbuch.com 

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

Watch now – Island Dreams with Gavin Francis @gavinfranc

Saturday 3rd October – 5pm
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Gavin Francis is an Edinburgh GP and the author of five books: True North, Travels in Arctic Europe (2008); Empire Antarctica: Ice, Silence & Emperor Penguins (2012) which was SMIT Scottish Book of the Year 2013, shortlisted for the Costa, Ondaatje, & Saltire Prizes; Adventures in Human Being (2015), which was Saltire Non-Fiction Book of the Year & the Observer’s Science Book of the Year; and Shapeshifters: On Medicine & Human Change (2018), which was a book of the year in the Sunday Times and the Scotsman.  His fifth book, Island Dreams, journeys into our collective fascination with islands through words and maps. It blends stories of Francis’s own travels with great voyages from literature and philosophical exploration, and examines the place of islands and of isolation in our collective consciousness.

Website www.gavinfrancis.com


Chair: David Francis is Director of Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland. He is also a songwriter, dance-caller, and storyteller, and a resident of Portobello for 20 years.


Thanks to Alistair Heather, writer and presenter from Angus, for filming this event.

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

Watch now – Captivating Crime: a conversation with Jackie Baldwin and Olga Wojtas @JackieMBaldwin1 @olgawojtas

Saturday 3rd October – 4pm
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Jackie Baldwin practiced criminal and family law for twenty years before retraining as a hypnotherapist. She has recently moved to East Lothian from Dumfries where her first three books are set.

Her latest novel, Avenge the Dead, was published on 28th February 2020 and features former RC priest, DI Frank Farrell, who is tasked with investigating the brutal murder of a defence solicitor’s wife. It’s been over a year since he left the town after an investigation robbed him of a dear friend and he has struggled to move on. When the son of another solicitor is murdered, a strange tattoo etched on his body, the case takes them into darker, more disturbing territory. It leads them back into the past to a horrific fire that took a young woman’s life, to four friends harbouring dark secrets, and to a killer waiting patiently for revenge.

Olga Wojtas was born and bred in Edinburgh, where she attended James Gillespie’s, the school that inspired Muriel Spark’s best-known work, “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.” Spark renamed Gillespie’s as the Marcia Blaine School for Girls, and her book in turn inspired Olga to write her first novel, “Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Golden Samovar.” Olga’s heroine is Shona McMonagle, a former Marcia Blaine pupil, now a fifty-something time-travelling librarian from Morningside Library. Olga’s second book in the series, “Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Vampire Menace,” was published this year by Contraband.  Olga also writes a series of cosy crime e-novellas under the name Helena Marchmont. The series is set in the idyllic Cotswolds village of Bunburry which, just like Midsomer, has an alarming murder rate. 

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

Listen now – John D Burns – mountaineer, writer and storyteller – talks to Portobello Book Festival – @JohnBurnswriter

Saturday 3rd October – 3pm
Click the link below to listen to John Burns’ podcast

John Burns talks to Portobello Book festival

John’s love of the outdoors, his passion for writing and over forty year’s experience in the mountains of the British Isles form the basis for his books and storytelling. Having walked and climbed the hills of Scotland for over 40 years he is an expert ice climber and was a member of the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team. More recently he has rediscovered his love for remote bothies and regularly visits the wilder places of his Scottish home, which he writes about with humour and compassion.

He began writing almost 15 years ago with a collection of poetry, Wind Dancer.  He followed this with two one man plays performed around the UK; Aleister Crowley: A Passion for Evil and Mallory: Beyond Everest, and his books; The Last HillwalkerBothy Tales and his latest comic novel with a serious environmental message Sky Dance.

Watch now – Edward Ross – Gamish: A Graphic History of Gaming @edward_ross

Saturday 3rd October – 2pm
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Local graphic novelist Edward Ross gives an illustrated reading from his forthcoming graphic novel Gamish: A Graphic History of Gaming. From Pac-Man to Minecraft, the book covers the fascinating history of this enormously popular pastime, and delves into what makes video games such a powerful artform. Edward has been making comics for over ten years. His first graphic novel, Filmish: A Graphic Journey Through Film won a YASLA award as a Great Graphic Novel for Teens.

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

Watch now – The Secret Life of Books with Professor Tom Mole @ProfTomMole

Saturday 3rd October – 11am
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Join Tom Mole in conversation with Paul Hudson of Portobello Library as they discuss The Secret Life of Books.

We love books.  We take them to bed with us.  We display them on our bookshelves.  We write our names in them.  They weigh down our suitcases when we go on holiday.  We take them for granted.  But there’s much more to them than meets the eye.  From how books feel and smell, to burned books, banned books, and books that create nations, The Secret Life of Book is about everything beyond the words on the page.  It’s about how books – and readers – have evolved over time.  And it’s about how books still have the power to change our lives.

Tom Mole is Professor of English Literature and Book History at the University of Edinburgh, where he runs the Centre for the History of the Book.  He is the author of What the Victorians Made of Romanticism, which won the Saltire Prize for best research book in 2018.  He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and lives in Edinburgh with his wife and daughter.

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

Watch now – Finding Fulfilment – meet author Anne Stormont – @writeanne

Friday 2nd October – 8pm
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Anne Stormont is the author of four contemporary romantic novels – one is a standalone and the other three make up the Skye series. The books are all second-chance romances where the main characters may be older but are certainly no wiser. She has also published one children’s novel. Anne’s books are set in Scotland – where she lives – and in some of the other places she’s visited.

She began making up stories as a child to entertain her four wee sisters. But as an adult with a busy life as a mother and teacher, it took her a long time and a wake-up call for her to get that first book written. When she’s not writing Anne enjoys yoga, walking and gardening. She can be a bit of a subversive old bat, but she tries to maintain a kind heart. She also loves tea, penguins and being with her grandchildren.

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

Watch now – More Footprints in the Sand with Archie Foley

Friday 2nd October – 7pm
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Forty years of publication for a community newspaper deserves to be celebrated, the more so if that paper has always been produced entirely by local volunteers and financed solely by advertisements placed by local businesses. That is why Archie Foley and Peter E Ross decided to draw attention to this achievement by compiling another selection of articles from the history pages of the Portobello Reporter. The articles chosen span the years from 1980 to 2020 and record “Portobello’s history and reminiscences” thus fulfilling one of the key aims of the paper’s founders.

Archie Foley will take you on a tour of Portobello to see some of the places featured in the book. You will be seeing them as they are today but Archie will be able to show how they feature in the Portobello story and that Portobello is not just Edinburgh’s seaside suburb.