Ullapool Book Festival tickets go on sale

Michael Crummey by Arielle Hogan
Michael Crummey by Arielle Hogan

Tickets for the 11th Ullapool Book Festival go on sale on Friday 27 March.

There is so much to delight in the programme – from debut authors to award-winning and best-selling writers and poets. The festival runs

from Friday 8 to Sunday 10 May.

As the festival’s honorary president, Scottish author Louise Welsh, says in her programme introduction: “The Ullapool Book Festival is marked in my diary with a gold star. It promises a weekend of warmth, friendship, high level debate, music, great food and baking, all set against one of Scotland’s most beautiful landscapes.

“Most of all it promises a weekend of books waiting to be discovered and discussed. It is a huge honour to be the festival’s new honorary president. One of my most exciting duties is reading books by authors who will be appearing in 2015. Through their writing I have journeyed across and beyond Scotland, to Africa, Canada and the Far East. They have taken me into parts of my own city that I didn’t know existed and back in time to the 18th century.

“There are more books waiting in my Ullapool Book Festival pile, more experiences, more places to discover and journey to. I hope you’ll come along for the ride. I’m looking forward to discussing our finds and meeting the authors in May.”

Ullapool Book Festival guests all have one thing in common – they are excellent writers and poets and it is on that basis that they are invited to appear at Ullapool. There is fiction in English or Gaelic , non-fiction and poetry and the writers come various parts of the globe. Most of them are resident in Scotland now but we also have writers coming from London (three Scots now living there), Ireland and Newfoundland.

There is fiction from Val McDermid, Christopher Brookmyre, Louise Welsh, Zoë Wicomb, Kerry Hudson, Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Michael F. Russell, Ian Stephen, Chiew-Siah Tei and Michael Crummey. The session with authors Duncan Gillies and Alison Lang will be in Gaelic but non-Gaelic speakers will not miss out as there will be simultaneous translation into English though individual headsets.

Michael Crummey is this year’s Canadian author. He follows in a tradition of inviting great Canadian writers to the festival that started with the late Alistair MacLeod and was followed by Linden MacIntyre, Wayne Johnston, Alexander MacLeod, Frank Macdonald and Lindsay Marshall. Michael, from Newfoundland, has published nine books of poetry, stories, and novels. Sweetland, his most recent novel, was a national bestseller in Canada and a finalist for the Governor-General’s Award in 2014. It will be published in the UK by Corsair this spring. A recent review in the New York Times talked of the “elegant prose and storytelling prowess” of Sweetland.

Two of Scotland’s finest poets John Glenday and Jen Hadfield will be appearing; John was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for his most recent collection and Jen won the T.S. Eliot Prize with her second collection.

Non-fiction authors are Murray Armstrong, author of The Liberty Tree about the life of Scottish Radical Thomas Muir; Linda Cracknell with Doubling Back: Ten Paths Trodden in Memory which was a Radio Four’s Book of The Week; and journalist Peter Ross whose Daunderlust - Dispatches From Unreported Scotland is a collection of his best reports on Scottish life and culture.

Then there is music. In the Wake of Neil Gunn is a new suite of music from Scottish musician/composer Mike Vass, inspired by his own voyage in May 2014 mirroring Neil Gunn’s 1937 odyssey that led to his book Off in a Boat. Mike will talk about the inspiration of Neil Gunn’s book and, along with fellow musician Innes Watson, will play excerpts from the suite.

And, of course, the festival wouldn’t be complete without a late night ceilidh dance. Playing will be the irrepressible band Highland Ceilidh – and there are callers so no need to know the dances beforehand!

Full details on the festival and its programme can be found on the website www.ullapoolbookfestival.co.uk

Ullapool Book Festival has received funding from Creative Scotland, The Highland Council and Bord na Gaidhlig. It also receives support from local companies and The Open University in Scotland.