2017 Programme

Welcome to NessBookFest 2017, where:

  • grassroots and emerging writers sit equally beside big names
  • tickets are FREE #nobarriers
  • locals put together a programme for locals and beyond
  • we encounter life through books, and meet those who bring them to us.

Our 2017 programme is below. Look out for paper copies at various locations around Inverness. You can also download a PDF of the programme via this link.


Get Tickets

Note: Some events do not require booking, and tickets will likely be available at the door.

In person: Fill in a ticket request form at Inverness Library.

Over the phone:

Individual bookings for public programme: call 07391 898743

School programme bookings: call 07766 100198

Via email: nessbookfest.2017@gmail.com (please include details of your postal address)

Online: Fill in the online form on our Tickets page.





Thursday 5 October

Schools Programme

9.15- 9.45: Let’s Break a Record! Primary school read-in: across Inverness-shire primary schools. Register with nessbookfest.2017@gmail.com please.

10.30-12.30pm: Creative writing workshop for senior pupils: Teenagers, get started on your creative writing pieces! Provided by Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre, Inverness Library. Numbers strictly limited.  FULLY BOOKED

10.30-12.30pm: Alan Dapré at Inverness Library Children’s section: Alan Dapré’s brawsome Porridge the Tartan Cat books play with plots and stimulate the imagination. 7 – 9 year-olds (and their teachers) will love meeting him! Expect lots of wordplay fun!  FULLY BOOKED

Other Events: Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig will host children’s author Christine Matheson, and children’s author Alan Dapré will visit the children’s ward, Raigmore Hospital. Note: These two events are not open to the public.




Thursday 5 October

Public Programme

6:00 – 8.30 pm: NESSBOOKFEST ’17 LAUNCH at Waterstones: With Mary Paulson Ellis, author of Waterstones Book of the Month The Other Mrs Walker. Drinks and nibbles provided. Don’t miss it. Mix, mingle and get to know us afterwards – we’d love to meet you! No need to book in advance for this event.




Friday 6 October


Schools/Family Activity: Catch the Characters! All ages. Victorian Market, Academy Street

Pick up a Catch the Characters sheet from NessBookFest HQ, Unit 15, Inverness Victorian Market, Academy Street. All you have to do is jot down who you find hidden around the Victorian Market and take the completed sheet back to us. Prizes will be drawn from all correct entries.




Friday 6 October

Schools Programme

10:00 – 11:00 am: Magic and Mystery with Meg McLaren: Join author/illustrator Meg McLaren, author of wonderful picture books Life is Magic (shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2017) and Pigeon PI, for detective games, a ‘magic’ show and some live drawing with the children. Best suited to 5 – 7 year-olds. Eden Court Theatre.  FULLY BOOKED

10:00 am – 12:00 noon: The Ultimate KidLit Quiz. Suitable for P5 – P7. Send us your school teams of four to battle it out over classics and the latest releases, from The Hungry Caterpillar to The Hunger Games. Will the odds be ever in your favour? Library, Reference Section.

10.30 – 11.30am Rachael Lucas: The State of Grace. Inverness-born and raised YA author Rachael Lucas will talk to young readers (suitable for S2 – S5) about her new novel The State of Grace: Grace has Asperger’s and her own way of looking at the world. ‘Whip-smart, hilarious and unapologetically honest, The State of Grace is a heart-warming story of one girl trying to work out where she fits in, and whether she even wants to.’ Library, Reading Room.  FULLY BOOKED

Other Events: Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig will host children’s authors Marie C. NicAmhleigh and Catriona Lexy Campbell today. Note: this event is not open to the public.




Friday 6 October

Public Programme

2.30 – 4.00 pm: Voices through the Centuries: Hear local Drama students recite monologues based on original source material, from the Jacobites to the Victorian Age – and then get a chance to handle the source material yourself! Not to be missed! Highland Archive Centre.

4.30 – 5.30 pm: The Skye Double Bill: Skye-based historical fiction author Liz MacRae Shaw finds inspiration for her historical fiction (Love and Music Will Endure and No Safe Anchorage) from Highland culture, family history and the stark but beautiful landscape of the Isle of Skye. Humour-loving debut novelist Ross Sayers chose the island as a setting for his memorable contemporary novel Mary’s the Name. Essential for lovers of Skye and Highland and Island culture. Highland Print Studio, Bank Street.

5.45 – 6.45 pm: Mum’s the Word: An Evening with Helen MacKinven: Helen MacKinven’s contemporary novel Buy Buy Baby explores the often twisted nature of modern motherhood. Wit and banter abound at this perfect girls’ night out for mums and their pals. The Little Teapot, Victorian Market.

7.00 – 8.30 pm: The Publishing Conversation: Gain a glimpse behind the scenes of the publishing industry with representatives of traditional publishing houses Sandstone Press and Birlinn Polygon. A must for writers and aspiring writers. Artysans, Strothers Lane.

7.30 – 9:00 pm: Out There: A Voice From the Wild (Winner, Outdoor Writers Guild Outdoor Book of the Year Award 2016): Outdoor enthusiasts will relish a chance to hear Chris Townsend, Author of over 20 books on the outdoors and passionate about long distance walking in wild places. Velocity, 1 Crown Avenue.  FULLY BOOKED




Saturday 7 October

Public Programme

9:15  – 10:00 am: Leugh & Seinn Le Linda: A Gaelic reading & singing session for children aged 0 – 5 years and their parents. Library, Children’s Section.

10:15 – 11:00 am: Storytelling and Picture Books: Highland actor and storyteller Kym Hunt will bring favourite picture book stories to life. Ideal for story-lovers age 2 – 6. Library, Children’s section.

10:00 am – 2:00 pm: Women’s Writing Workshop: WEA are offering a free creative writing workshop for women, delivered by established writer Margot Henderson. Be inspired, whether you are just getting started or seeking to take your writing to the next level! Numbers strictly limited. Leakey’s Bookshop, Church Street.  FULLY BOOKED

11:00 am – 12:00 noon: Meg McLaren Family Event: Meet Waterstones Children’s Book of the Year-shortlisted Meg McLaren, picture book author and illustrator of Life is Magic and Pigeon PI for stories, live drawing and craft activities. No need to book for this event. Waterstones.

11:00 am – 12:30 pm: Story Quilts Family Event: Highland storyteller and crafter Lizzie McDougall will present her famous story quilts. A beautiful, must-see event for families. Simpsons Garden Centre.

12:00 noon – 1.30 pm: Academic strand: Meet the Books: A unique chance to handle rare and old texts facilitated by Inverness College UHI’s Melanie Manwaring-Mackay. Numbers strictly limited. Library Reference Section.

1:00 – 2:00 pm: Philip Paris: Casting Off – The Revolt: Casting Off is a hilarious, poignant story of friendship, loyalty and sacrifice. When a Highland care home increases fees, the residents rebel and their lives are changed – in ways they could never have imagined. Expect entertaining readings – and a unique insight into adapting the novel from the author’s own stage play. A Luminate Scotland Event. Library Reading Room..

2:00 – 3:00 pm: Academic Strand: Coastal History with Dr David Worthington, Centre for History, UHI: Dr Worthington has researched and published extensively on coastal themes and hosted the ‘Firths and Fjords’ conference, the first ever international Coastal History gathering, and the biggest ever academic event to have taken place in Dornoch. Library Reference Section.

2:00 – 3.30 pm: Literary walking tour with historian Norman Newton: Meet inside Leakey’s Bookshop, Church Street.

2.30 – 3.30 pm: Brian Johnstone’s memoir Double Exposure: Two revelations, each coming to light twenty years apart following the deaths of his father and mother, prompt Brian Johnstone to turn a poet’s eye on his 1950s childhood and explore his parents’ lives before and during World War II. Sure to resonate with baby-boomers, the author ponders why he was never trusted with the truth and vividly evokes a post-war upbringing, under whose conventional surface so much was hidden. A Luminate Scotland Event. Waterstones.

3.45 – 4.45 pm: Crime and Taxidermy: Sandra Ireland’s Beneath the Skin and Shelley Day’s The Confessions of Stella Moon share themes of crime, darkness and references to taxidermy. What better place than Inverness Museum with its atmospheric stuffed animals to hear the debut authors debate fiction and their taste for the macabre. Inverness Museum.

4.30 – 5.30 pm: Poetry at the Print Studio: Acclaimed poet Brian Johnstone reads from his poetry collection and chats all things poetry with local poet Aoife Lyall. Highland Print Studio.

7.30 – 8.30 pm: Claire Askew at Velocity: Claire Askew is one of Scotland’s most eminent poets. Her debut poetry collection, This changes things, was published by Bloodaxe in 2016 and shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award, the Saltire First Book Award, and the Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize. Meet an exciting, entertaining and energetic performer. Velocity, 1 Crown Avenue.

7:00 – 8:00 pm: Remember the 80s? David F. Ross, author of the Disco Days trilogy will take you back to the 80s mobile disco scene in Ayrshire. A witty, energetic eulogy to the 45 rpm vinyl record and the small but significant part it played in a small town community in 1982. The Tooth and Claw, Baron Taylor Street.




Sunday 8 October

Public Programme

1:00 – 2:00 pm: The Self-Publishing Event: With the growing popularity and feasibility of self-publishing, join Inverness fiction author Fiona MacBain and hear how she self-published her first two thrillers, Daughter, Disappeared and Glasdrum. Waterstones.

2.30 – 4:00: The Self-Publishing Conversation: Hear from our experienced self-publishing panel featuring Russell Turner of Bassman Books, Ceitidh Hutton of Dealan-dè and local self-published author Fiona MacBain. The event will be chaired by NessBookFest’s own Pauline Mackay, author a wide range of self-published bilingual books for children. Waterstones.

2:00 – 4:00 pm: Football Memories: Mind the Time – An Anthology of Poetry to support Football Memories Scotland. Poets from the charity Football Memories will read from their work. With football memories aplenty, members of the ICT team in attendance and a tour of the stadium included in the event, this is sure to be an entertaining and enjoyable afternoon for any football fan. A Luminate Scotland Event. Tulloch Stadium, Home of Inverness Caledonian Thistle.