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

Saturday 3rd October – 4pm
Click the YouTube link below to watch this event

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

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
Click the YouTube Link below to watch this event

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

Watch now – Dark Humour – An interview with Doug Johnstone @doug_johnstone

Saturday 3rd October – 1pm
Click Youtube link below to watch the interview

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

Watch now – A Sense of Place and Imagination with Janis Mackay – @janismackay

Saturday 3rd October – 12noon
Click the Youtube link to watch interview with Janis

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

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

Saturday 3rd October – 11am
Click Youtube link below to watch the event

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

Links to PBF20 events – available to watch or listen again

All our events this year are available to watch or listen to again at your leisure. To make it easy for you to find them, we’ve posted all the links on this page. Just click to go to the event page and enjoy!

Archie Foley – More Footprints in the Sand

Anne Stormont – Finding Fulfilment

Tom Mole – The Secret Life of Books

Janis Mackay – A Sense of Place and Imagination

Doug Johnstone – Dark Humour

Edward Ross – Gamish: A graphic History of Gaming

John D Burns – Mountaineer, writer, storyteller, talks to Portobello Book Festival

Captivating Crime with Jackie Baldwin and Olga Wojtas

Gavin Francis – Island Dreams

Sheila Averbuch – Social and Anti-social Media

Peter Ross – A Tomb with a View

Leonie Charlton discusses Marram with Peter E Ross

Letters from Lockdown

“Resolving the climate emergency: Why societal and environmental sustainability are interdependent” with Dr Keith Skene 

Donald Bloxham – History: Why Bother?

Through Travellers’ Eyes

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

Friday 2nd October – 8pm
Click Youtube link below to watch event

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

Watch now – More Footprints in the Sand with Archie Foley

Friday 2nd October – 7pm
Click the YouTube link below to watch this event

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.

Listen to the Porty Podcast to find out about next weekend’s Portobello Book festival @portypodcast

David Calder from the Porty Podcast recently interviewed Joanne from the organising team to find out how the festival will be different this year and to hear about a few of the events.

213 Porty Library Re-opens Porty Podcast

Portobello Library opens its door once again on Monday – but it will be a very different service from that which people were used to before the lockdown. We won’t just be able to turn up but, like so many other services, will have to book a specific time-slot in order to pick up or return a book, get a new bus pass or use one of the three computers – there had previously been six. It will be less family-friendly as there won’t be a play area any more (at least for the time being). What is obvious when you first walk into the building is how much effort the staff have put into making it safe, following all the guidelines laid down by the Scottish Government. Earlier this week, Porty podcast Producer David Calder visited the library and asked manager Paul Hudson what people could expect from the moment they came in through the door.To book a slot, click here: https://bit.ly/3xtBxaG or call 529 5558Opening Hours:      Monday and Wednesday            1pm to 5pm                                         Tuesday and Thursday                 10am to 5pm                                         Friday and Saturday                      10am to 2pmhttps://www.facebook.com/PortobelloLibrary/   
  1. 213 Porty Library Re-opens
  2. 212 Friends of Porty Prom
  3. 211 Catherine Heymans – the Astronomer Royal for Scotland
  4. 210 Action Porty and Bellfield – the AGM
  5. 210 Cookies from Caity – How to turn your passion into a business

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