Social and Anti-Social Media with Sheila M Averbuch @sheilamaverbuch

Sunday 4th October – 11am – online

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 our local bookshop. Click the link to visit the page.
The Portobello Bookshop

Island Dreams with Gavin Francis @gavinfranc

Saturday 3rd October – 5pm – online

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 our local bookshop. Click the link to visit the page.
The Portobello Bookshop

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

Saturday 3rd October – 4pm – online

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 our local bookshop. Click the link to visit the page.
The Portobello Bookshop

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

Saturday 3rd October – 2pm – online

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 our local bookshop. Click the link to visit the page.
The Portobello Bookshop

Dark Humour – An interview with Doug Johnstone @doug_johnstone

Saturday 3rd October – 1pm online

Doug Johnstone is the author of twelve novels. Several of his books have been bestsellers and three, A Dark Matter (2020), Breakers (2019) and The Jump (2015), were shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions over the last decade, and has been an arts journalist for twenty years. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three solo EPs released, and he currently plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also player-manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh.

The Big Chill is the second in a trilogy of books about the Skelfs, three generations of women who have to take over the running of a funeral directors and a private investigators when the patriarch of the family dies.

Doug’s website is  www.dougjohnstone.com

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 Sense of Place and Imagination with Janis Mackay @JanisMackay

Saturday 3rd October – 12noon – online

Janis Mackay is an author, storyteller and creative writing tutor, living in her native Portobello. Janis had her first novel for children published by winning the Kelpies prize in 2009. Since then she has had nine novels published, and won the Scottish Children’s Book Awards in 2013 for her novel for children – The Accidental Time Traveller. As a storyteller Janis is often inspired by folk and fairy lore, drawing on themes and imagery in myth to create new stories. Janis has just brought out her first novel for adults, The Watchmaker’s Wife, which is based on the life of her grandmother. Often finding inspiration at intersections, with this novel she merges family story with fiction. Janis is currently doing a PhD, fusing life story, landscape and mythology. She teaches creative writing at Edinburgh University, and spends a lot of time gazing out the window to the sea!

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

The Secret Life of Books with Professor Tom Mole @ProfTomMole

Saturday 3rd October – 11am – online

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 our local bookshop. Click the link to visit the page.
The Portobello Bookshop

More Footprints in the Sand with Archie Foley

Friday 2nd October – 7pm – online

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.

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

Meet the authors: Richard Moore @richardmoore73 , Alan Bissett and Maddie Breeze @maddie_breeze

Image result for richard moore cycling author             

PLAYING DIRTY 4.30-6.00pm   LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Sunday 9th October

The last event for this year’s Portobello Book Festival looks into the world of sport. Competitive sports have recently come into international disrepute over accusations of doping, bullying and corruption. Richard Moore, journalist, author (of The Bolt Supremacy among others) and former racing cyclist, Alan Bissett, novelist (Death of a Ladies Man among others), playwright and Rangers fan, and Maddie Breeze, sociologist and author on women’s roller derby (Seriousness and Women’s Roller Derby), discuss the state of sport in the contemporary world.

Chair: John Kelly

The Bolt Supremacy: Inside Jamaica's Sprint Factory by [Moore, Richard]

Beijing 2008, the 100 metres final: Usain Bolt slows down, beats his chest, metres clear of his nearest rival, his face filled with the euphoria of a young man utterly in thrall to his extraordinary physical talent. It is one of the greatest sporting moments. It is just the beginning.

Of the ten fastest 100-metres times in history, eight belong to Jamaicans. How is it that a small Caribbean island has come to almost totally dominate the men’s and women’s sprint events?

The Bolt Supremacy opens the doors to a community where sprinting permeates conversations and interactions; where the high school championships are watched by 35,000 screaming fans; where identity, success and status are forged on the track, and where making it is a pass to a world of adoration and lucrative contracts.

In such a society there can be the incentive for some to cheat. There are those who attribute Jamaican success to something beyond talent and hard work. Award-winning writer Richard Moore doesn’t shy away from difficult questions as he travels the length of this beguiling country speaking to anti-doping agencies, scientists and sceptics as well as to coaches, gurus, superstar athletes and the young guns desperate to become the next big thing. Peeling back the layers, Moore finally reveals the secrets of Usain Bolt and the Jamaican sprint factory.

Death of a Ladies' Man by [Bissett, Alan]

By day, Charlie Bain is the school’s most inspiring teacher. By night he prowls the stylish bars of Glasgow seducing women. Fuelled by art, drugs and fantasies of being an indie star, Charlie journeys further into hedonism, unable to see the destruction his desires are leading everyone towards…

One of Scotland’s dazzling young writing talents tackles the modern phenomenon of sex addiction. Dark, funny and deliciously erotic, DEATH OF A LADIES’ MAN is an intense portrait of male vanity, written with verve and emotional rawness.

Seriousness and Women's Roller Derby: Gender, Organization, and Ambivalence (Leisure Studies in a Global Era) by [Breeze, Maddie]

This book explores seriousness in practice in the unique sports context of contemporary women’s flat track roller derby. The author presents a stimulating argument for a sociology of seriousness as a productive contribution to understandings of gender, organization and the mid-ranges of agency between dichotomies of voluntarism and determinism.

Meet the author – James Robertson

MEET THE AUTHOR  3.15-4.15pm   LIBRARY 

Sunday 9th October

James Robertson is originally from Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire. He is the author of several short story and poetry collections, and has published six novels: The Fanatic, Joseph Knight, The Testament of Gideon Mack, And the Land Lay Still, The Professor of Truth, and To Be Continued…. He is also a co-founder of the Scots language imprint Itchy Coo  which produces books in Scots for children and young people.

In his latest novel To Be Continued…., Douglas Findhorn Elder is in a sorry state. He has just turned fifty, split up with his partner and jumped (before he was pushed) from his job at an ailing Edinburgh newspaper. On the night of his birthday, he makes an unexpected new friend: a talking toad. When a new work opportunity takes the man from the city to the Highlands, the toad goes with him…….

Chair: Jim Gilchrist

To Be Continued by [Robertson, James]

A madcap Highland adventure from the Booker-longlisted author of And The Land Lay Stilland The Testament of Gideon Mack


Douglas Findhorn Elder is in a sorry state. He’s just turned fifty, split up from his girlfriend and been pushed out of his job in an ailing national newspaper. On the night of his birthday, he makes an unexpected new friend: a talking toad. So begins a wild goose chase that will lead Douglas out of his cosy house in Edinburgh and across the country – all the way to crumbling Glentaragar House in the distant West Highlands. Awaiting him along the journey are a semi-criminal hearse driver, a hundred-year-old political firebrand grandmother, a split-personality alcoholic/teetotaller, an elaborate whisky-smuggling conspiracy, a mysterious woman with a rather enchanting Greek nose, and maybe even a shot at redemption…

In this gloriously surreal romp, James Robertson proves once and for all that the important things in life – friendship, romance, a very fine malt whisky – come when you least expect them.