Downing Street date for poet

Poet Hugh McMillan, who is due to appear twice at Kirkcudbright Book Week, has just performed at an even more august occasion (if that was possible!) .

The author was invited to 10 Downing Street to read poetry in three different sessions to people invited to the Prime Minister’s Burns‘ celebrations, having been recommended by the Scottish Poetry Library.

Hugh, who read in English but also took the opportunity to champion the Scots language, gives his thoughts on the event in a typically thought-provoking blog at https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2023/01/29/talking-poetry-and-politics-in-downing-street/

If you want to see Hugh performing at Kirkcudbright Book Week, you can do so at these events (there are plenty of tickets available for both shows):

Tuesday February 28 Where Rivers Meet Join Hugh McMillan, Stuart Paterson, Clare Phillips and Nicola Black in an evening of poetry and song from four of the finest writers in contemporary Dumfries and Galloway. Station House Cookery School 56-58, St. Mary Street 7pm Tickets £8

Sponsored by

Friday March 3 The Leaves of the Years with Hugh McMillan and Stuart  Paterson and invited guest readers Kirkcudbright Dark Space Planetarium The Johnston, St Mary Street 7pm £5

Join Hugh McMillan and Stuart Paterson and invited guest readers in an evening celebrating the life and work of Galloway’s greatest modern poet, William Neill. A short film about the poet will be shown then contributors will read from the newly published anthology The Leaves of the Years, celebrating the centenary of Neill’s birth.

Sponsored by

Both events sponsored by

How to acquire your tickets Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

Podcast recalls a grisly event

Author John Nelson appears in our latest podcast ahead of his appearance at Kirkcudbright Book Week.

John talks about his book On the Trail of a Broken Shoe, which is based on the true story of the last man hanged in Scotland for horse-stealing, in an interview conducted by Chris Walker, the Chair of Kirkcudbright Book Week Society, and author Gerry Hassan. The podcast can be heard at https://kbtbookweek.podbean.com/

John will be giving a talk during Book Week, at 2pm on OphFriday March 3 at the Selkirk Arms on High Street, which is one of the week’s sponsors. Tickets are £3.

How to acquire your tickets Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

How Scotland inspires crime writers

The line-up has been confirmed for the online crime fiction event to be run as part of Kirkcudbright Book Week:

Tuesday February 28 Free on-line event Talking Of Crime…2pm

A  Zoom event featuring crime writers from around Scotland, who will take readers on a tour of the country with each author explaining what effect the Scottish location of their books offers them as writers. Audience members  will then be able to ask questions. Writers taking part include members of the Crime Writers’ Association’s Scottish Chapter and those contributing include Allan Martin, Simpson Grears, Inga Vesper, Margaret Kirk, Gordon Brown, John Dean and Marsali Taylor. To register for the Zoom session, please contact John at deangriss@btinternet.com

John Dean sorting

Community fund awards grant to Kirkcudbright Book Week

Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 has been awarded a grant of £1,350 by the Robin Rigg Community Fund to support the event’s varied programme of performances by authors.

The annual week, which will take place between Monday February 27 and Saturday March 4, celebrates the developing literary scene in Kirkcudbright and the wider Dumfries and Galloway area and will feature both professional and aspiring authors.

The fifteen events to be staged at venues in Kirkcudbright will include free and paid-for poetry and prose performances by more than twenty writers as well as film, song and music.

Kirkcudbright Book Week has been organised by  Kirkcudbright Book Week Society, which is supported by a number of organisations, sponsors and venues.

They include the Robin Rigg Community Fund, which is administered by the Solway Firth Partnership. Funding is provided by RWE, the operator of the Robin Rigg wind farm, with the aim of benefitting the communities local to the wind farm.

Clair McFarlan, Partnership Manager at the Solway Firth Partnership, said: “The Robin Rigg Community Fund is pleased to be supporting this year’s programme of events at Kirkcudbright Book Week. The events look really interesting, and I’d encourage everyone to come along and enjoy this celebration of literary talent.” 

Book Week Society Chair Chris Walker, from the Selkirk Arms, said: “We are looking forward to Book Week and very much appreciate the support we have received from a range of organisations. The programme is a superb line up of local and national talent. There really is something for everyone.”

Events include a screening on Monday February 27 of  a film about local novelist S.R. Crockett, who died in 1914. After the screening of ‘S.R.Crockett: The Kirkcudbright Connection’ at the Kirkcudbright Galleries there will be a virtual chat/Q and A with Cally Phillips of Galloway Raiders, who made the film.

February 27 also sees an evening with crime writers Jackie Baldwin, Ian Robinson, Ann Bloxwich and John Dean at Broughton House.

On Tuesday February 28, Where Rivers Meet features an evening of poetry and song at Station House Cookery School with writers Hugh McMillan, Stuart Paterson, Clare Phillips and Nicola Black. Tuesday February 28 will also include the first joint performance by local groups The Gallery Writers, Stewartry Writers and Kirkcudbright Poetry Group at The Kirkcudbright Galleries and a  Zoom event featuring crime writers from around Scotland, talking about their work. Writers taking part are all members of the Crime Writers’ Association’s Scottish Chapter and include Allan Martin.

Another highlight happens on Wednesday March 1 when the Selkirk Arms hosts Confessions of a Novice Motorcycle Guide Book Writer with author J.G.Fergusson.

That evening sees the Selkirk Arms Supper Club with Chrys Salt, who will present Home Front/Front Line in which she records a dialogue in letters, images, film and poems between herself, a pacifist, and her younger son who, as a Territorial Army Paratrooper, was unexpectedly mobilised to Iraq in 2003 and spent five months in action.

Other events include an examination of Scotland’s future in the light of the independence debate by author and academic Gerry Hassan at The Garret Hotel & Restaurant on Thursday March 2. The same day sees All In a Day’s Work, readings from a book based on the creative response of a group of writers to artifacts held in the Devil’s Porridge Museum, which commemorates the lives and work of the many people who laboured at HM Gretna to provide munitions for World War One. The event will take place at The Kirkcudbright Galleries.

Also on Thursday March 2 Kirkcudbright Library will host events for young writers as part of World  Book Day, featuring appearances by children’s writers Greta Yorke and Alan McClure.

On Friday March 3 author OphAuthorf John Nelson will talk about his book On the Trail of a Broken Shoe at the Selkirk Arms. The book is based on the true story of the last man hanged in Scotland for horse-stealing.  

Also on Friday March 3 at Feast Cafe editors of, and contributors to, arts magazine Southlight will read pieces from the current edition, followed by a Q and A.

The week’s final two events are The Leaves of the Years on Friday March 3 with authors Hugh McMillan and Stuart  Paterson and invited guest readers at the Kirkcudbright Dark Space Planetarium, in which they will celebrate the life and work of Galloway poet William Neill and book week comes to a close on Saturday March 4 with An Evening With Laurence Bristow-Smith with musical illustrations by Gordon Mursell and David Preston. Laurence’s books include the two-volume History of Music in the British Isles.

You can find out more about events and how to book tickets here at www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org  The website also has details of the organisations and businesses that have sponsored book week. You can also follow the event on Facebook and on Instagram at kbt.bookweek

Hugh McMillan talks about writing on podcast

Poet Hugh McMillan appears in our latest podcast ahead of his appearances at Kirkcudbright Book Week.

Hugh talks about his writing career in an interview conducted by Chris Walker, the Chair of Kirkcudbright Book Week Society, and author Gerry Hassan, and the podcast can be heard at https://kbtbookweek.podbean.com/

He will be appearing in two events during Book Week:

Tuesday February 28 Where Rivers Meet Join Hugh McMillan, Stuart Paterson, Clare Phillips and Nicola Black in an evening of poetry and song from four of the finest writers in contemporary Dumfries and Galloway. Station House Cookery School 56-58, St. Mary Street 7pm Tickets £8

Friday March 3 The Leaves of the Years with Hugh McMillan and Stuart  Paterson and invited guest readers Kirkcudbright Dark Space Planetarium The Johnston, St Mary Street 7pm £5

Join Hugh McMillan and Stuart Paterson and invited guest readers in an evening celebrating the life and work of Galloway’s greatest modern poet, William Neill. A short film about the poet will be shown then contributors will read from the newly published anthology The Leaves of the Years, celebrating the centenary of Neill’s birth. He wrote in all three languages of Scotland, English, Scots and Gaelic and his work celebrates the landscape and history of Scotland while addressing issues of language, politics and culture that are equally relevant today.

The Leaves of the Years (Ed Hugh McMillan and Stuart Paterson) is a book that is both worthy and entertaining and contains essays and poems from some of the nation’s finest writers, like Gerda Stevenson, Tom Pow, Christine De Luca, Derrick McClure, Magi Gibson, Bill Herbert, Donald S Murray, Ian Stephen, Rab Wilson, Willie Hershaw, Bàrd Beag, Anne Frater, Dolina Maclennan, Joy Hendry, Tom Hubbard and James McGonigal. Published by Drunk Muse Press. 

How to acquire your tickets

Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

Supported by

First Book Week event sold out

Kirkcudbright Book Week has its first sold-out performance with the news that the last place has gone for Alan McClure’s appearance in front of an audience of young readers at the town’s library during World Book Day on Thursday March 2. Sponsored by

There are still plenty of places for the other free event for young readers on World Book Day, starting at 11am at the library and featuring Ayrshire-based children’s writer Greta Yorke, the author of books including Witch Hitch, which won  the under 7s category in the Scottish Association of Writers’ Competition in 2010 and was published in 2015, featuring work by illustrator Maggie Bolton. This was followed by The Woo in the Wild Woods and Tartan Witch. Suitable for younger children.

How to acquire your tickets

Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

Book Week sponsors include

A chance to banish the winter blues!

The skies are gloomy, it’s pouring with rain and there’s a chill wind blowing, which means that people are looking to cheer themselves up and what better way of doing it than by buying tickets for events at Kirkcudbright Book Week, which starts at the end of February?

One of the reasons that Book Week is staged so early in the year is because it gives people the opportunity to banish the winter blues, and tickets are already being sold for events for readers of all ages. To make sure you do not miss out on the wide range of Book Week events, it is worth checking out our site.

Crime writer Ian features in podcast

It’s well worth checking out an entertaining podcast interview with crime writer Ian Robinson ahead of his appearance at Kirkcudbright Book Week.

Having spent twenty-seven years in the Metropolitan Police, Ian is now a full-time writer. Six of his crime novels have been published and Rubicon is currently in development with the BBC for a six-part TV series.

In the interview by Book Week Society Chair Chris Walker and author Gerry Hassan, Ian talks about his passion for writing. You can hear the interview, and others in the series, at https://kbtbookweek.podbean.com/e/meet-ian-robinson/

Ian will feature in Book Week on Monday February 27 when Broughton House in High Street hosts Walk on the Dark Side, in which he will appear with fellow crime writers Jackie Baldwin, Ann Bloxwich and John Dean, who will explore the art of crime writing, illustrated through examples from their novels. The event starts at 7. 30pm and tickets are £7.

How to acquire your tickets

Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

Historical fiction at Book Week

Are you a lover of historical fiction? Then check out these events during Kirkcudbright Book Week.

Monday February 27 Screening of ‘S.R.Crockett: The Kirkcudbright Connection’ (20 minutes) followed by virtual chat/ Q&A with Cally Phillips of Galloway Raiders.

The Kirkcudbright Galleries, St Mary Street 11am£5

S.R.Crockett (1859-1914) is the most famous and prolific novelist of Galloway. His stories range across the region, but his Kirkcudbright connection is little known. The short film explores Crockett’s relationship with the town and some of her more famous sons, including E.A.Hornel and William Mouncey. William Stewart MacGeorge was a boyhood friend and the central character in Crockett’s sole Kirkcudbright novel is based on him. Published in 1907, Little Esson features fictionalised romance and mystery among the Kirkcudbright Artists. Crockett’s Kirkcudbright connection is explored through rare Galloway Raiders archival material and other stories. Cally will be available ‘virtually’ after the screening to chat more and answer questions regarding Crockett’s Kirkcudbright Connections.

Thursday March 2 Talk by Stuart Campbell, author of the recently-published novel The Woman Clothed With The Sun Selkirk Arms High Street 2pm £5

Stuart Campbell has previously written for the BBC, the Guardian, The Big Issue and Scottish Book Collector. He is the editor of RLS in Love, an anthology of Robert Louis Stevenson’s love poetry, and author of John McPake and The Sea Beggars, a novel set in Leith and sixteenth-century Holland. He has also written a second novel, The Aeronaut’s Guide to Rapture, and two travelogues, Boswell’s Bus Pass and Daniel Defoe’s Railway Journey. His latest novel, The Woman Clothed With The Sun, tells the extraordinary true-life story of Elspeth Buchan and the Buchanites, an eighteenth-century Scottish apocalyptic sect based in Galloway at the time of Robert Burns. In this talk, he will discuss the research undertaken in Dumfries and Galloway in search of the Buchanities and the difficulties involved in fictionalising such an extraordinary tale. There will also be readings from the text

Friday March 3 Talk by John Nelson, author of On the Trail of a Broken Shoe

Selkirk Arms High Street 2pm £3

The book is based on the true story of the last man hanged in Scotland for horse-stealing.  As part of John’s research, he rode a Clydesdale into the Highlands in 2011 following in the footsteps of an ancestor whose horse had been stolen in 1811. The book also includes tales of Kirkcudbrightshire. John Nelson lives in Crossmichael.

How to acquire your tickets

Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

World Book Day events for younger readers

World Book Day, which is aimed at younger readers, falls within Kirkcudbright Book Week – it’s one of the reasons Book Week is staged when it is each year – and this year there are a couple of excellent free events at the town’s library.

Thursday March 2 World  Book Day – events for young readers

Talk by Ayrshire-based children’s writer Greta Yorke Kirkcudbright Library  Daar Road Free event 11am

Greta is the author of books including Witch Hitch, which won  the under 7s category in the Scottish Association of Writers’ Competition in 2010 and was published in 2015, featuring work by illustrator Maggie Bolton. This was followed by The Woo in the Wild Woods and Tartan Witch. Suitable for younger children.

Thursday March 2 World  Book Day – Talk by Alan McClure Kirkcudbright Library  Daar Road Free event 7pm This event is now fully booked

Alan is a writer, musician and primary school teacher based in Galloway. His first children’s novel, Callum and the Mountain, was shortlisted for the Kelpies Prize in 2016 and published by Beaten Track Press in 2019. The magical adventure for 8-12-year-olds draws on Celtic mythology and a love of the Scottish landscape and language. Alan will read extracts and discuss the inspiration behind the book, as well as encouraging the audience to share their own magical adventures.

How to acquire your tickets

Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

Students given opportunity to work with award-winning author

An exciting project has been launched to help teenage students at a Kirkcudbright school to develop their creative writing skills through working with a well-known author with an international reputation.

The senior students, who attend Kirkcudbright Academy, will work with poet and writer Hugh McMillan to produce an anthology to be launched during Kirkcudbright Book Week, which happens between Monday February 27 and Saturday March 4, 2023.

The Kirkcudbright Book Week Society, which co-ordinates the event, secured funding from the Holywood Trust and the Galloway Association of Glasgow to allow it to recruit Hugh to work on the project. Both organisations support educational opportunities for young people.

Hugh will run eight weekly sessions with two senior classes. The aim is to create pieces that may be of use to the students’ folios but also produce work to display and publish for Kirkcudbright Book Week.

Hugh, who will also be one of the writers giving performances during Book Week, has published numerous collections of poetry and won many awards. He has appeared many times on radio and at literary festivals, including the Stanza International Festival, Wigtown International Book Festival in Scotland, and the Edmonton Poetry Festival in Canada.

The author, who is an experienced teacher of poetry and creative writing, and has taught in schools, at festivals and for community groups, said of the Kirkcudbright Academy project: “The Book Week organisers have shown great insight in wishing to encourage local talent, in general, and the young, in particular.

“It is hoped that work produced by the students in English and Scots as part of the project will appear in an anthology launched during Book Week. There will also be some workshops in Scots for younger pupils.”

Amy MacDougall, Principal Teacher of English, Modern Languages & Social Subjects at the Academy, said: “We are delighted to welcome Hugh into our Higher English classes this session. Our pupils spend a lot of time analysing poetry in the classroom but less time writing their own poems. We are hopeful that Hugh’s inspiration will lead them to being able to write a creative piece for their folio this year. As their teacher, I am taking lots of ideas from Hugh in order to improve my own teaching of creative writing. It is lovely to have a published poet working with us and his ideas are really allowing our imaginations to flow.”

Book Week Society Chair Chris Walker, from the Selkirk Arms, said: “Kirkcudbright Book Week is designed to appeal to people of all ages and I am delighted that we are able to work with such a well-respected author as Hugh McMillan to develop the students’ creative talents.”

The programme was recently announced for Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023, which is making a welcome return after twice being cancelled due to the covid outbreak, in 2021 and 2022. Among its events are two for young readers on Thursday March 2 when Kirkcudbright Library will host free events as part of World  Book Day, featuring appearances by children’s writers Greta Yorke and Alan McClure.

Kirkcudbright Book Week is designed to celebrate the developing literary scene in Kirkcudbright and the wider Dumfries and Galloway area and will feature both professional and aspiring authors. Events to be staged at venues in Kirkcudbright will include poetry and prose fiction and non-fiction performances by more than twenty writers as well as film, song and music. Some are paid-for events and some are free.

Kirkcudbright Book Week Society is supported by a number of organisations, sponsors and venues, many of which are featured in the programme and in the Sponsors section of its website www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org  

A printed programme has been distributed across the area and the website also contains more information, including how to book tickets. You can also follow the event on Facebook and on Instagram at kbt.bookweek

The Holywood Trust is a charitable organisation, which aims to help young people aged 15–25 years old across Dumfries and Galloway through grant-giving to individuals and organisations, creating opportunities for young people in the region.

The Galloway Association of Glasgow is delighted to support the workshops for young people as part of Kirkcudbright Book Week, which will introduce them to the poetry and poets of Galloway. The Association welcomes applications for financial support from young Gallovidians to help them develop their skills in the arts and sports. More information is available at http://www.gallowayassoc.org.uk

The picture shows Hugh working with two senior pupils

Non-fiction events at Book Week

Calling all readers of non-fiction! Check out what’s on offer during Kirkcudbright Book Week

Monday February 27 Screening of ‘S.R.Crockett: The Kirkcudbright Connection’ (20 minutes) followed by virtual chat/ Q&A with Cally Phillips of Galloway Raiders.

The Kirkcudbright Galleries, St Mary Street 11am £5

S.R.Crockett (1859-1914) is the most famous and prolific novelist of Galloway. His stories range across the region, but his Kirkcudbright connection is little known. The short film explores Crockett’s relationship with the town and some of her more famous sons, including E.A.Hornel and William Mouncey. William Stewart MacGeorge was a boyhood friend and the central character in Crockett’s sole Kirkcudbright novel is based on him. Published in 1907, Little Esson features fictionalised romance and mystery among the Kirkcudbright Artists. Crockett’s Kirkcudbright connection is explored through rare Galloway Raiders archival material and other stories. Cally will be available ‘virtually’ after the screening to chat more and answer questions regarding Crockett’s Kirkcudbright Connections.

Wednesday March 1 Confessions of a Novice Motorcycle Guide Book Writer with J.G.Fergusson  Selkirk Arms High Street 2pm £5

J.G. Fergusson is a former BBC Scotland journalist/producer and author of several walking guides for the ‘Pocket Mountain’ series. Born in the Rhins of Galloway, and now living in Moffat, he has been riding motorbikes since the 1970s. A lifetime’s love of Scotland, her landscape, highways and history led to the publication of The Motorcyclist’s Guide to Scotland in 2018, a guide book aimed at bikers. In this illustrated talk, he shares some of his amusing and alarming adventures and also what he has learned about the publishing business.

Thursday March 2 A talk on Scotland’s future and the independence debate by Gerry Hassan The Garret Hotel & Restaurant 116 High Street Kirkcudbright 11am £6

The independence debate is the defining issue of our times in Scotland with huge implications not just for the people who live here, but the rest of the UK and internationally and in the recently-published Scotland Rising: The Case for Independence, academic and author Gerry Hassan explores where the debate is going. He explores both sides of the argument, examines the importance of culture, stories and collective voices in reshaping how people see Scotland and seeks out the thoughts of people who have historically haven’t voted or see themselves as don’t knows. Known through his work as Professor of Social Change at Glasgow Caledonian University and as a leading commentator on Scottish and UK politics, Gerry is the author of a number of books, including The People’s Flag and the Union Jack and Caledonian Dreaming.

Saturday March 4 An Evening With Laurence Bristow-Smith with musical illustrations by Gordon Mursell and David Preston Broughton House, 12 High St  7pm £6  

Laurence Bristow-Smith spent twenty-six years as a diplomat serving in Taiwan, China, eastern Europe, the Balkans, Norway and Italy but one of the most important events in his life was when a peripatetic music teacher came to his school to give a demonstration how to play brass instruments. He was seized with the desire to play the trombone and though his performing career did not last long, his passion for music has lasted ever since, eventually resulting in his two-volume History of Music in the British Isles. His other books include Landscapes for the Turning Earth, a study of the life and work of the artist Alan Rankle, and Half-an-Eye on History, a biography of the diplomat, writer and politician Harold Nicolson.

Laurence’s latest book, published in November 2022, is Tribes into Nations, which takes a fresh look at the ethnic and cultural evolution of the British Isles and challenges the long tradition of Anglocentric history which saw the past through the prism of Empire. It views the British Archipelago as inescapably caught up in the movements of peoples and cultures that have swept across the European Continent over the millennia. It shows the importance of Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, and of lost polities such as the Kingdom of the Isles and the Kingdom of Strathclyde, in shaping the political and cultural identity of the British Isles. Tribes into Nations is available online through Amazon and the Book Depository; it can be ordered from any bookshop; or it can be ordered directly from Letterworth Press.

Sponsored by Stewartry Literary Society: It is with great pleasure The Stewartry Literary Society (TSLS) is partnering with Kirkcudbright Book Week by sponsoring “An Evening with Laurence Bristow Smith” celebrating books and music. Working collaboratively, we believe we can offer a high quality,diverse and entertaining literary offer through the winter months and for communities within and without the town.

How to acquire your tickets

Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

Crime fiction features in Book Week

There are a couple of events at Kirkcudbright Book Week that will appeal to crime fiction enthusiasts.

Monday February 27 Walk on the Dark Side – crime fiction event Broughton House, 12 High St. 7. 30pm £7  Spend an evening with crime writers Jackie Baldwin, Ian Robinson, Ann Bloxwich and John Dean as they explore the art of crime writing, illustrated through examples from their crime novels.

Having spent twenty-seven years in the Metropolitan Police, Ian is now a full-time writer. Six of his crime novels have been published and Rubicon is currently in development with the BBC for a six-part TV series.

Jackie Baldwin sets much of her work in Dumfries and Galloway and was a solicitor in Dumfries for twenty years.  Her debut crime novel, Dead Man’s Prayer, was published by Killer Reads, Harper Collins in 2016. The second in the series, Perfect Dead, was published in 2018 with the third, Avenge the Dead, having also been published.

Ann Bloxwich recently announced that she has signed a deal with a new publisher. Her contract with Red Dragon Publishing Ltd means that her debut crime novel What Goes Around will not be available until its relaunch with a new cover and ISBN number in March 2023, at the same time as her second book, Goodnight, God Bless.

What Goes Around is the first book in the DI Alex Peachey series and Ann drew on her own experiences, including that of being a parent to a disabled child. She said: “This is something I’ve not seen in fiction before, and I felt it brought an air of authenticity to Alex’s story and shows the unseen side of living with this situation. I set it in and around Wolverhampton in the West Midlands, as that was where I was living when I started the book.”

John Dean is the creator of the DCI John Blizzard and Jack Harris series of novels published by The Book Folks of London

Tuesday February 28 Free on-line event Talking Of Crime…2pm

Tuesday February 28 Free on-line event Talking Of Crime…2pm

A  Zoom event featuring crime writers from around Scotland, who will take readers on a tour of the country with each author explaining what effect the Scottish location of their books offers them as writers. Audience members  will then be able to ask questions. Writers taking part include members of the Crime Writers’ Association’s Scottish Chapter and those contributing include Allan Martin, Simpson Grears, Inga Vesper, Margaret Kirk, Gordon Brown, John Dean and Marsali Taylor. To register for the Zoom session, please contact John at deangriss@btinternet.com

How to acquire your tickets

Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

A showcase for talent

The aim of Kirkcudbright Book Week is to showcase and celebrate the developing literary scene in the town and surrounding area and that includes providing a stage for both professional and emerging talent. These events may interest.

Tuesday February 28 A Meeting of Minds with The Gallery Writers, Stewartry Writers and Kirkcudbright Poetry Group The Kirkcudbright Galleries St Mary Street 11am Free event

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Members of the three Kirkcudbright-based writing groups perform together for the first time, presenting a mixture of prose and poetry.

Thursday March 2 All In a Day’s Work, readings from a book based on the creative response of a group of writers to artifacts held in the Devil’s Porridge Museum, which commemorates the lives and work of the many people who laboured at HM Gretna to provide munitions for World War One.

The Kirkcudbright Galleries, St Mary Street 2pm £5

Friday March 3 Feast Cafe 32 St Cuthbert Street 2pm

Southlight 32 is the latest edition of the region’s illustrated literary magazine and this free event is a chance to meet the editors, listen to some brief readings and connect with other writers. The magazine will be on sale at £5.00.

How to acquire your tickets

Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

Poetry at Book Week

Calling all poetry-lovers! Check out what’s on offer at Kirkcudbright Book Week.

Tuesday February 28 A Meeting of Minds with The Gallery Writers, Stewartry Writers and Kirkcudbright Poetry Group The Kirkcudbright Galleries St Mary Street 11am Free event

Members of the three Kirkcudbright-based writing groups perform together for the first time, presenting a mixture of prose and poetry.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Tuesday February 28 Where Rivers Meet Join Hugh McMillan, Stuart Paterson, Clare Phillips and Nicola Black in an evening of poetry and song from four of the finest writers in contemporary Dumfries and Galloway. Station House Cookery School 56-58, St. Mary Street 7pm Tickets £8

Wednesday March 1 Selkirk Arms Supper Club: with Chrys Salt Selkirk Arms High Street 6.30pm . Cost £25 You can book by ringing 01557 330402

Two course supper followed by  Home Front/Front Line. On the 20th Anniversary of the invasion of Iraq Chrys Salt records a dialogue in letters, images, music, film and poems between herself, a pacifist mother, and her younger son who, as a Territorial Army Paratrooper, was unexpectedly mobilised to Iraq in 2003 and spent five months in action.

What the critics said

It is a brave, beautiful and deeply unsettling way of making the reader look again at long-familiar events, as though the mother of Wilfred Owen or Edward Thomas had kept a verse diary during the First World War. Andy Croft (review The Morning Star)

 (It) seems that World War One wasn’t the only war to produce poetry of grandeur .Sam Smith (review in The Journal.

Friday March 3 Feast Cafe 32 St Cuthbert Street 2pm

Southlight 32 is the latest edition of the region’s illustrated literary magazine and this free event is a chance to meet the editors, listen to some brief readings and connect with other writers. The magazine will be on sale at £5.00.

Friday March 3 The Leaves of the Years with Hugh McMillan and Stuart  Paterson and invited guest readers Kirkcudbright Dark Space Planetarium The Johnston, St Mary Street 7pm £5

Join Hugh McMillan and Stuart Paterson and invited guest readers in an evening celebrating the life and work of Galloway’s greatest modern poet, William Neill. A short film about the poet will be shown then contributors will read from the newly published anthology The Leaves of the Years, celebrating the centenary of Neill’s birth. He wrote in all three languages of Scotland, English, Scots and Gaelic and his work celebrates the landscape and history of Scotland while addressing issues of language, politics and culture that are equally relevant today.

The Leaves of the Years (Ed Hugh McMillan and Stuart Paterson) is a book that is both worthy and entertaining and contains essays and poems from some of the nation’s finest writers, like Gerda Stevenson, Tom Pow, Christine De Luca, Derrick McClure, Magi Gibson, Bill Herbert, Donald S Murray, Ian Stephen, Rab Wilson, Willie Hershaw, Marcas Mac an Tuairneir.  Anne Frater, Dolina Maclennan, Joy Hendry, Tom Hubbard and James McGonigal. Published by Drunk Muse Press. 

How to acquire your tickets

Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

Book Week secures Lottery funding

Dumfries and Galloway organisations are celebrating National Lottery Community funding for activities that will bring people together both at the Festive period and all year round.

Fed Up – Community Cafe received £57,886 to continue to provide cooked breakfast and lunches five days a week from its café in the centre of Stranraer.

It will support people experiencing food poverty and will tackle isolation and loneliness. The project also provides training for volunteers in the kitchen and front of house.

Georgetown Primary School get £8790 to purchase new sets of goal posts for the benefit of pupils and the wider community.

KCT – Kirkcolm Community Trust receive £50,132 to employ a dedicated worker and implement some practical support for older people in this isolated rural community to counteract transport, health and financial difficulties.

It will also run a programme of activities and events to keep the older community socially, physically, and intellectually active.

Kirkcudbright Book Week Society receive £695 to promote and publicise Kirkcudbright Book Week which will run between Monday February 27th and Saturday March 4th 2023.

Kirtle & Eaglesfield Community Council were awarded £4850 to buy a shipping container to provide safe storage during the winter months for the community’s street stadium, a sectional safe fenced play area, which is used by a range of community groups.

Parents Inclusion Network were given £150,000 to continue delivering support, advice, and activities across Dumfries and Galloway to families with disabled children.

The programme will include peer support groups, provision of information, training and social outings. Families will be brought together who experience similar issues enabling parents and carers to feel more confident in their caring role.

Potters Garden receive £7314 to provide new appliances and equipment for its kitchen where it provides cookery sessions for a group of adults with learning disabilities as well as the wider community.

Stranraer Development Trust were given £7900 to provide a polytunnel, raised beds and other gardening equipment to refresh the community garden on the sea front in Stranraer, and provide equipment to meet the needs of its regular users.

Finally, The Stove Network receive £150,000 to continue to use creativity as a tool for community engagement, skills development and improving wellbeing by delivering a programme of activity led by the community to meet their needs and aspirations.

Author signs with new publisher

Ann Bloxwich, who is appearing at Kirkcudbright Book Week, has announced that she has signed a deal with a new publisher.

Her contract with Red Dragon Publishing Ltd means that her debut crime novel What Goes Around will not be available until its relaunch with a new cover and ISBN number in March 2023, at the same time as her second book, Goodnight, God Bless.

What Goes Around is the first book in the DI Alex Peachey series and Ann drew on her own experiences, including that of being a parent to a disabled child. She said: “This is something I’ve not seen in fiction before, and I felt it brought an air of authenticity to Alex’s story and shows the unseen side of living with this situation. I set it in and around Wolverhampton in the West Midlands, as that was where I was living when I started the book.”

She has also had short stories published in two charity anthologies, ‘Happily Never After’ and ‘Wish You Weren’t Here’, produced by the writers from the ‘Crime & Publishment’ writing workshop in Gretna Green, and is working on a short story for an upcoming anthology for The Rotary Club of Great Britain.

She has previously worked in a chocolate factory, a night care officer in a residential home, and had her own promotions company. She also co-owned a business involving male strippers and drag queens, knowledge which came in handy when she was writing the first book.

You can find out more about Ann on her Facebook page, Ann Bloxwich Author, or follow her on Twitter @AnnBloxwich

Ann will be appearing at Book Week on Monday February 27 in Walk on the Dark Side – a crime fiction event Broughton House, 12 High St. 7. 30pm £7 You can spend an evening with crime writers Jackie Baldwin, Ian Robinson, Ann and John Dean as they explore the art of crime writing, illustrated through examples from their crime novels. You can purchase tickets through this website (see Acquire Your Tickets on the home page).

Students given opportunity to work with award-winning author

An exciting project has been launched to help teenage students at a Kirkcudbright school to develop their creative writing skills through working with a well-known author with an international reputation.

The senior students, who attend Kirkcudbright Academy, will work with poet and writer Hugh McMillan to produce an anthology to be launched during Kirkcudbright Book Week, which happens between Monday February 27 and Saturday March 4, 2023.

The Kirkcudbright Book Week Society, which co-ordinates the event, secured funding from the Holywood Trust and the Galloway Association of Glasgow to allow it to recruit Hugh to work on the project. Both organisations support educational opportunities for young people.

Hugh will run eight weekly sessions with two senior classes. The aim is to create pieces that may be of use to the students’ folios but also produce work to display and publish for Kirkcudbright Book Week.

Hugh, who will also be one of the writers giving performances during Book Week, has published numerous collections of poetry and won many awards. He has appeared many times on radio and at literary festivals, including the Stanza International Festival, Wigtown International Book Festival in Scotland, and the Edmonton Poetry Festival in Canada.

The author, who is an experienced teacher of poetry and creative writing, and has taught in schools, at festivals and for community groups, said of the Kirkcudbright Academy project: “The Book Week organisers have shown great insight in wishing to encourage local talent, in general, and the young, in particular.

“It is hoped that work produced by the students in English and Scots as part of the project will appear in an anthology launched during Book Week. There will also be some workshops in Scots for younger pupils.”

Amy MacDougall, Principal Teacher of English, Modern Languages & Social Subjects at the Academy, said: “We are delighted to welcome Hugh into our Higher English classes this session. Our pupils spend a lot of time analysing poetry in the classroom but less time writing their own poems. We are hopeful that Hugh’s inspiration will lead them to being able to write a creative piece for their folio this year. As their teacher, I am taking lots of ideas from Hugh in order to improve my own teaching of creative writing. It is lovely to have a published poet working with us and his ideas are really allowing our imaginations to flow.”

Book Week Society Chair Chris Walker, from the Selkirk Arms, said: “Kirkcudbright Book Week is designed to appeal to people of all ages and I am delighted that we are able to work with such a well-respected author as Hugh McMillan to develop the students’ creative talents.”

The programme was recently announced for Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023, which is making a welcome return after twice being cancelled due to the covid outbreak, in 2021 and 2022. Among its events are two for young readers on Thursday March 2 when Kirkcudbright Library will host free events as part of World  Book Day, featuring appearances by children’s writers Greta Yorke and Alan McClure.

Kirkcudbright Book Week is designed to celebrate the developing literary scene in Kirkcudbright and the wider Dumfries and Galloway area and will feature both professional and aspiring authors. Events to be staged at venues in Kirkcudbright will include poetry and prose fiction and non-fiction performances by more than twenty writers as well as film, song and music. Some are paid-for events and some are free.

Kirkcudbright Book Week Society is supported by a number of organisations, sponsors and venues, many of which are featured in the programme and in the Sponsors section of its website www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org  

A printed programme has been distributed across the area and the website also contains more information, including how to book tickets. You can also follow the event on Facebook and on Instagram at kbt.bookweek

The Holywood Trust is a charitable organisation, which aims to help young people aged 15–25 years old across Dumfries and Galloway through grant-giving to individuals and organisations, creating opportunities for young people in the region.

The Galloway Association of Glasgow is delighted to support the workshops for young people as part of Kirkcudbright Book Week, which will introduce them to the poetry and poets of Galloway. The Association welcomes applications for financial support from young Gallovidians to help them develop their skills in the arts and sports. More information is available at http://www.gallowayassoc.org.uk

The picture shows Hugh working with two senior pupils

An entertaining interview

It’s well worth checking out an entertaining and thought-provoking interview with author and academic Gerry Hassan ahead of his appearance at Kirkcudbright Book Week in the latest of our podcasts at https://kbtbookweek.podbean.com/e/a-chat-with-gerry-hassan/

In the interview, Gerry examines his love of writing and also refers to the talk he will deliver during Book Week, which will examine Scotland’s future against a background of the independence debate and will take place on Thursday March 2 at The Garret Hotel & Restaurant, 116 High Street, Kirkcudbright, at 11am. Tickets cost £6

The independence debate is the defining issue of our times in Scotland with huge implications not just for the people who live here, but the rest of the UK and internationally and in his recently-published book Scotland Rising: The Case for Independence, Gerry explores where the debate is going. He examines both sides of the argument, examines the importance of culture, stories and collective voices in reshaping how people see Scotland and seeks out the thoughts of people who have historically haven’t voted or see themselves as don’t knows.

Now living in Kirkcudbright, Gerry is known through his work as Professor of Social Change at Glasgow Caledonian University and as a leading commentator on Scottish and UK politics, Gerry is the author of a number of books, including The People’s Flag and the Union Jack and Caledonian Dreaming.

How to acquire your tickets

Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

Extra event added to programme – a tale of extraordinary events in Galloway

Thursday March 2 Talk by Stuart Campbell, author of the recently-published novel The Woman Clothed With The Sun Selkirk Arms High Street 2pm £5

Stuart Campbell has previously written for the BBC, the Guardian, The Big Issue and Scottish Book Collector. He is the editor of RLS in Love, an anthology of Robert Louis Stevenson’s love poetry, and author of John McPake and The Sea Beggars, a novel set in Leith and sixteenth-century Holland. He has also written a second novel, The Aeronaut’s Guide to Rapture, and two travelogues, Boswell’s Bus Pass and Daniel Defoe’s Railway Journey. His latest novel, The Woman Clothed With The Sun, tells the extraordinary true-life story of Elspeth Buchan and the Buchanites, an eighteenth-century Scottish apocalyptic sect based in Galloway at the time of Robert Burns. In this talk, he will discuss the research undertaken in Dumfries and Galloway in search of the Buchanities and the difficulties involved in fictionalising such an extraordinary tale. There will also be readings from the text.

How to acquire your tickets

Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

New title by Book Week author is published

A new book has been published, written by Laurence Bristow-Smith, who will be appearing at Kirkcudbright Book Week.

Published in November 2022, Tribes into Nations takes a fresh look at the ethnic and cultural evolution of the British Isles and challenges the long tradition of Anglocentric history which saw the past through the prism of Empire. It views the British Archipelago as inescapably caught up in the movements of peoples and cultures that have swept across the European Continent over the millennia. The book shows the importance of Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, and of lost polities such as the Kingdom of the Isles and the Kingdom of Strathclyde, in shaping the political and cultural identity of the British Isles.

Tribes into Nations is available online through Amazon and the Book Depository; it can be ordered from any bookshop; or it can be ordered directly from Letterworth Press.

You can hear a talk by Laurence with musical illustrations by Gordon Mursell and David Preston during Kirkcudbright Book Week on Saturday March 4  at Broughton House, 12 High St  7pm £6.

The event is sponsored by Stewartry Literary Society, which says: “It is with great pleasure The Stewartry Literary Society (TSLS) is partnering with Kirkcudbright Book Week by sponsoring “An Evening with Laurence Bristow Smith” celebrating books and music. Working collaboratively, we believe we can offer a high quality,diverse and entertaining literary offer through the winter months and for communities within and without the town.”

Laurence’s other books include his two-volume History of Music in the British Isles,  Landscapes for the Turning Earth, a study of the life and work of the artist Alan Rankle, and Half-an-Eye on History, a biography of the diplomat, writer and politician Harold Nicolson.

You can check all the details for Book Week events, including the one featuring Laurence, and acquire your tickets, here at http://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org

It’s back! Programme announced for long-awaited return of Kirkcudbright Book Week

The programme has been announced for Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023, which is making a welcome return after twice being cancelled due to the covid outbreak.

The week, which will take place between Monday February 27 and Saturday March 4, 2023, is designed to celebrate the developing literary scene in Kirkcudbright and the wider Dumfries and Galloway area and will feature both professional and aspiring authors.

The fifteen events to be staged at venues in Kirkcudbright will include poetry and prose fiction and non-fiction performances by more than twenty writers as well as film, song and music. Some are paid-for events and some are free.

Kirkcudbright Book Week has been organised by  Kirkcudbright Book Week Society, which is supported by a number of organisations, sponsors and venues, many of which are featured in the programme.

The inaugural week took place in early 2020 just before covid became an issue but the effect of the virus meant that book weeks in 2021 and 2022 had to be cancelled.

Book Week Society Chair Chris Walker, from the Selkirk Arms, said: “It’s exciting after so many covid postponements to be finally bringing the second book week to Kirkcudbright. The week is a superb line up of local and national talent. There really is something for everyone. It’s an amazing calendar of events. It’s really not to be missed.”

Crime novelistJohn Dean, who lives in the area and is one of the organisers of Kirkcudbright Book Week, said: “After the disappointment of twice having to cancel the event, we are delighted that Book Week is back for 2023. Kirkcudbright and the surrounding area is home to some talented writers, both professional and unpublished, and the book week is designed to celebrate their work and the contribution they make to the life of this part of Scotland. It’s an excellent programme and it should be an exciting week.”

A printed programme will be available in due course but more information is available about events and how to book tickets, by visiting www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org  The website also has details of the organisations and businesses that have sponsored book week. You can also follow the event on Facebook and on Instagram at kbt.bookweek

Kirkcudbright Book Week is being supported by The Galloway Glens Scheme, a suite of projects being undertaken up and down the Ken/Dee Valley, connecting people to their heritage,  driving economic activity and supporting sustainable communities. The Scheme is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and is supported by a range of partners including Dumfries & Galloway Council, Drax – the owners of the Galloway  Hydro Scheme, and the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere.  

The Galloway Glens Scheme is a five year, £5million pound, programme of work, supporting a range of projects up and down the Ken/Dee valley, from Kirkcudbright and Castle Douglas  in the South to Carsphairn and the core of the Galloway Hills in the North. Projects vary from refurbishment of buildings and visitor centres, through to education and training activities, all seeking to ‘connect people to their heritage’, while also driving  economic activity and supporting sustainable communities. The Galloway Glens Scheme runs from 2018 to 2023 and is overseen by a Partnership Board made up of a variety of local and national stakeholders. Funding is primarily from the National Lottery heritage  Fund, with support from a range of partners including Dumfries & Galloway Council and the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere. For more information, please see www.gallowayglens.org or contact Galloway Glens Team Leader, McNabb Laurie on 07825 721659 or mcnabb.laurie@dumgal.gov.uk

A musical celebration

Saturday March 4 An Evening With Laurence Bristow-Smith with musical illustrations by Gordon Mursell and David Preston Broughton House, 12 High St  7pm £6  

Laurence Bristow-Smith spent twenty-six years as a diplomat serving in Taiwan, China, eastern Europe, the Balkans, Norway and Italy but one of the most important events in his life was when a peripatetic music teacher came to his school to give a demonstration how to play brass instruments. He was seized with the desire to play the trombone and though his performing career did not last long, his passion for music has lasted ever since, eventually resulting in his two-volume History of Music in the British Isles. His other books include Landscapes for the Turning Earth, a study of the life and work of the artist Alan Rankle, and Half-an-Eye on History, a biography of the diplomat, writer and politician Harold Nicolson. Laurence’s latest book is called Tribes into Nations: Revisiting the Early History of the British Isles, whichtakes a fresh look at the ethnic and cultural evolution of the British Isles.

Sponsored by Stewartry Literary Society: It is with great pleasure The Stewartry Literary Society (TSLS) is partnering with Kirkcudbright Book Week by sponsoring “An Evening with Laurence Bristow Smith” celebrating books and music. Working collaboratively, we believe we can offer a high quality,diverse and entertaining literary offer through the winter months and for communities within and without the town.

How to acquire your tickets

Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

Celebrating a fine poet

Friday March 3 The Leaves of the Years with Hugh McMillan and Stuart  Paterson and invited guest readers Kirkcudbright Dark Space Planetarium The Johnston, St Mary Street 7pm £5

Join Hugh McMillan and Stuart Paterson and invited guest readers in an evening celebrating the life and work of Galloway’s greatest modern poet, William Neill. A short film about the poet will be shown then contributors will read from the newly published anthology The Leaves of the Years, celebrating the centenary of Neill’s birth. He wrote in all three languages of Scotland, English, Scots and Gaelic and his work celebrates the landscape and history of Scotland while addressing issues of language, politics and culture that are equally relevant today.

The Leaves of the Years (Ed Hugh McMillan and Stuart Paterson) is a book that is both worthy and entertaining and contains essays and poems from some of the nation’s finest writers, like Gerda Stevenson, Tom Pow, Christine De Luca, Derrick McClure, Magi Gibson, Bill Herbert, Donald S Murray, Ian Stephen, Rab Wilson, Willie Hershaw, Marcas Mac an Tuairneir.  Anne Frater, Dolina Maclennan, Joy Hendry, Tom Hubbard and James McGonigal. Published by Drunk Muse Press. 

How to acquire your tickets

Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

Thank you to the Scottish Book Trust for their assistance in funding this event

A salutary tale

Friday March 3 Talk by John Nelson, author of On the Trail of a Broken Shoe

Selkirk Arms High Street 2pm £3

The book is based on the true story of the last man hanged in Scotland for horse-stealing.  As part of John’s research, he rode a Clydesdale into the Highlands in 2011 following in the footsteps of an ancestor whose horse had been stolen in 1811. The book also includes tales of Kirkcudbrightshire. John Nelson lives in Crossmichael.

How to acquire your tickets

Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

Magazine celebration

Friday March 3 Feast Cafe 32 St Cuthbert Street 2pm

Southlight 32 is the latest edition of the region’s illustrated literary magazine and this free event is a chance to meet the editors, listen to some brief readings and connect with other writers. The magazine will be on sale at £5.

How to acquire your tickets

Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

Events for young readers

Thursday March 2 World  Book Day – events for young readers

Talk by Ayrshire-based children’s writer Greta Yorke Kirkcudbright Library  Daar Road Free event 11am

Greta is the author of books including Witch Hitch, which won  the under 7s category in the Scottish Association of Writers’ Competition in 2010 and was published in 2015, featuring work by illustrator Maggie Bolton. This was followed by The Woo in the Wild Woods and Tartan Witch. Suitable for younger children.

Talk by Alan McClure Kirkcudbright Library  Daar Road Free event 7pm This event is now fully booked

Alan is a writer, musician and primary school teacher based in Galloway. His first children’s novel, Callum and the Mountain, was shortlisted for the Kelpies Prize in 2016 and published by Beaten Track Press in 2019. The magical adventure for 8-12-year-olds draws on Celtic mythology and a love of the Scottish landscape and language. Alan will read extracts and discuss the inspiration behind the book, as well as encouraging the audience to share their own magical adventures.

Thank you to the Scottish Book Trust for their assistance in funding the event featuring Alan McClure

How to acquire your tickets

Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

All in a day’s work

Thursday March 2 All In a Day’s Work, readings from a book based on the creative response of a group of writers to artifacts held in the Devil’s Porridge Museum, which commemorates the lives and work of the many people who laboured at HM Gretna to provide munitions for World War One.

The Kirkcudbright Galleries, St Mary Street 2pm£5

How to acquire your tickets

Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

Examining both sides of the big debate

Thursday March 2 A talk on Scotland’s future and the independence debate by Gerry Hassan The Garret Hotel & Restaurant 116 High Street Kirkcudbright 11am £6

The independence debate is the defining issue of our times in Scotland with huge implications not just for the people who live here, but the rest of the UK and internationally and in the recently-published Scotland Rising: The Case for Independence, academic and author Gerry Hassan explores where the debate is going. He explores both sides of the argument, examines the importance of culture, stories and collective voices in reshaping how people see Scotland and seeks out the thoughts of people who have historically haven’t voted or see themselves as don’t knows. Known through his work as Professor of Social Change at Glasgow Caledonian University and as a leading commentator on Scottish and UK politics, Gerry is the author of a number of books, including The People’s Flag and the Union Jack and Caledonian Dreaming.

How to acquire your tickets

Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

A thought provoking evening

Wednesday March 1 Selkirk Arms Supper Club: with Chrys Salt Selkirk Arms High Street 6.30pm . Cost £25

Two course supper followed by  Home Front/Front Line. On the 20th Anniversary of the invasion of Iraq Chrys Salt records a dialogue in letters, images, music, film and poems between herself, a pacifist mother, and her younger son who, as a Territorial Army Paratrooper, was unexpectedly mobilised to Iraq in 2003 and spent five months in action.

What the critics said

It is a brave, beautiful and deeply unsettling way of making the reader look again at long-familiar events, as though the mother of Wilfred Owen or Edward Thomas had kept a verse diary during the First World War. Andy Croft (review The Morning Star)

 (It) seems that World War One wasn’t the only war to produce poetry of grandeur .Sam Smith (review in TheJournal.

How to acquire your tickets#

You can book by ringing 01557 330402. Also, tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

A motorcycling celebration

Wednesday March 1 Confessions of a Novice Motorcycle Guide Book Writer with J.G.Fergusson  Selkirk Arms High Street 2pm £5

J.G. Fergusson is a former BBC Scotland journalist/producer and author of several walking guides for the ‘Pocket Mountain’ series. Born in the Rhins of Galloway, and now living in Moffat, he has been riding motorbikes since the 1970s. A lifetime’s love of Scotland, her landscape, highways and history led to the publication of The Motorcyclist’s Guide to Scotland in 2018, a guide book aimed at bikers. In this illustrated talk, he shares some of his amusing and alarming adventures and also what he has learned about the publishing business.

How to acquire your tickets

Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

Where rivers meet

Tuesday February 28 Where Rivers Meet Join Hugh McMillan, Stuart Paterson, Clare Phillips and Nicola Black in an evening of poetry and song from four of the finest writers in contemporary Dumfries and Galloway. Station House Cookery School 56-58, St. Mary Street 7pm Tickets £8

How to acquire your tickets

Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

Thank you to the Scottish Book Trust for their assistance in funding this event

Talking of crime

Tuesday February 28 Free on-line event Talking Of Crime…2pm

A  Zoom event featuring crime writers from around Scotland, who will take readers on a tour of the country with each author explaining what effect the Scottish location of their books offers them as writers. Audience members  will then be able to ask questions. Writers taking part include members of the Crime Writers’ Association’s Scottish Chapter and those contributing include Allan Martin, Simpson Grears, Inga Vesper, Margaret Kirk, Gordon Brown, John Dean and Marsali Taylor. To register for the Zoom session, please contact John at deangriss@btinternet.com

A meeting of minds

Tuesday February 28 A Meeting of Minds with The Gallery Writers, Stewartry Writers and Kirkcudbright Poetry Group The Kirkcudbright Galleries St Mary Street 11am Free event Members of the three Kirkcudbright-based writing groups perform together for the first time, presenting a mixture of prose and poetry.

How to acquire your tickets

Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

A walk on the dark side

Monday February 27 Walk on the Dark Side – crime fiction event Broughton House, 12 High St. 7. 30pm £7

Spend an evening with crime writers Jackie Baldwin, Ian Robinson, Ann Bloxwich and John Dean as they explore the art of crime writing, illustrated through examples from their crime novels.

Having spent twenty-seven years in the Metropolitan Police, Ian is now a full-time writer. Six of his crime novels have been published and Rubicon is currently in development with the BBC for a six-part TV series.

Ann Bloxwich, who is appearing at Kirkcudbright Book Week, has announced that she has signed a deal with a new publisher.

Her contract with Red Dragon Publishing Ltd means that her debut novel What Goes Around will not be available until its relaunch with a new cover and ISBN number in March 2023, at the same time as her second book, Goodnight, God Bless.

What Goes Around is the first book in the DI Alex Peachey series and Ann drew on her own experiences, including that of being a parent to a disabled child. She said: “This is something I’ve not seen in fiction before, and I felt it brought an air of authenticity to Alex’s story and shows the unseen side of living with this situation. I set it in and around Wolverhampton in the West Midlands, as that was where I was living when I started the book. “

Jackie Baldwin sets much of her work in Dumfries and Galloway and was a solicitor in Dumfries for twenty years. 

Her debut crime novel, Dead Man’s Prayer, was published by Killer Reads, Harper Collins in 2016. The second in the series, Perfect Dead, was published in 2018 with the third, Avenge the Dead, having also been published.

John Dean is the creator of the DCI John Blizzard and Jack Harris series of novels published by The Book Folks of London

How to acquire your tickets

Tickets for both paid-for and a number of the free events during Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 can be booked by visiting http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and searching for Kirkcudbright Book Week Collection where all the events are listed. Alternatively, a direct link can be accessed via the book week website’s Acquire Your Tickets section  at https://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org/buy-your-tickets/

Celebrating one of our own

Monday February 27 Screening of ‘S.R.Crockett: The Kirkcudbright Connection’ (20 minutes) followed by virtual chat/ Q&A with Cally Phillips of Galloway Raiders.

The Kirkcudbright Galleries, St Mary Street 11am £5

S.R.Crockett (1859-1914) is the most famous and prolific novelist of Galloway. His stories range across the region, but his Kirkcudbright connection is little known. The short film explores Crockett’s relationship with the town and some of her more famous sons, including E.A.Hornel and William Mouncey. William Stewart MacGeorge was a boyhood friend and the central character in Crockett’s sole Kirkcudbright novel is based on him. Published in 1907, Little Esson features fictionalised romance and mystery among the Kirkcudbright Artists. Crockett’s Kirkcudbright connection is explored through rare Galloway Raiders archival material and other stories. Cally will be available ‘virtually’ after the screening to chat more and answer questions regarding Crockett’s Kirkcudbright Connections.

Podcasts add to Book Week build-up

Why not check out our excellent podcasts including Chris Walker, Gerry Hassan and John Dean looking forward to Book Week and one featuring John talking about crime fiction? There are more to come in the next few weeks. You can find them at https://kbtbookweek.podbean.com/e/talking-about-book-week-2023-with-john-dean-gerry-hassan-and-john-dean/

Your chance to help Book Week by volunteering

Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023 is making a welcome return after twice being cancelled due to the covid outbreak, and we’re on the lookout for volunteers to help run it.

The week, which will take place between Monday February 27 and Saturday March 4, 2023, is designed to celebrate the developing literary scene in Kirkcudbright and the wider Dumfries and Galloway area and will feature both professional and aspiring authors. Events will include poetry and prose performances as well as film and music and the programme will be announced towards the end of 2022.

Kirkcudbright Book Week has been organised by  Kirkcudbright Book Week Society, which is now seeking to recruit volunteers to add to our team of helpers.

Tasks will range from helping to promote the event to working on the door and helping with the intervals at events.

If you wish to be involved, you can contact Co-ordinator John Dean on deangriss@btinternet.com or ring him on 07889 554931.

More information on the week can be found here at www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org and on Facebook.

Sponsors sought for Book Week

The dates have been announced for Kirkcudbright Book Week 2023, which is making a welcome return after twice being cancelled due to the covid outbreak – and now the organisers are seeking sponsors.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The week, which will take place between Monday February 27 and Saturday March 4, 2023, is designed to celebrate the developing literary scene in Kirkcudbright

and the wider Dumfries and Galloway area and will feature both professional and aspiring authors.

Events will include poetry and prose performances as well as film and music and the programme will be unveiled later in the year.

Kirkcudbright Book Week has been organised by  Kirkcudbright Book Week Society, which is supported by a number of local organisations and venues, and which is now seeking sponsors for the event.

Book Week Co-ordinator, the crime novelist John Dean, said: “Having been forced by coronavirus to cancel the event for two years in a row, we are looking forward to its return in 2023.

“As with all events like Book Week, funding is a constant challenge and we have to raise every penny ourselves.

“We already have several sponsors who are either supporting individual events or the week generally but more would be greatly appreciated and it’s an excellent opportunity to be associated with something really exciting.”

If you or your business or organisation wish to be involved, you can drop John a line on deangriss@btinternet.com You can find out more about Kirkcudbright Book Week by visiting http://www.kirkcudbrightbookweek.org or following the event on Facebook – search for Kirkcudbright Book Week.

Poetry collection is published

Kirkcudbright author Anne Micklethwaite, a member of the town’s Gallery Writers group,  has published a collection of poetry.

A Cup of  Tea and a Poem reflects the way that Anne’s work often echoes the legendary Japanese female poets who identified with the cycles of nature in order to deal with loss. This is clearly shown in “Wave Lullaby”, where she consoles all of us who have loved and lost:

“as though rocked

in water’s comfort

where all tears join

in one blue ocean

that knows no parting.”

 She also tells us stories, as in “Jam Making”, with its deeper meaning of preserving memories.  There is a lot of sharp observation i.e – “New moon, nail paring” and  “jigsaw marked cattle”.

There is much joy and radiance in Anne’s poems. Nature dances and the sun shines as often as the moon.

The book can be purchased at:

The Gallery – Kirkcudbright

Thompson’s News – Kirkcudbright

Gallovidia Books – Kirkcudbright

The Galloway Lodge – Gatehouse of Fleet

Barry Smart, newsagent, – Castle Douglas