Storytelling school

NessBookFest returns to Inverness next month with live events celebrating storytelling – from poetry to newspapers

Crime writers, poets and journalists will be among those shining a light on the art of storytelling in various forms as NessBookFest makes a welcome return next month.

Shona MacLean, award-winning historic crime writer in Ross-shire.

The community-run festival, which runs from October 6-8, offers free events at different locations in Inverness.

The lineup includes award-winning historical thriller author Shona MacLean whose most recent book The Bookseller of Inverness was published this year, Scottish writer Helen Forbes and former BBC Radio Scotland director and author Jeff Zycinski.

Crime writer Helen Forbes.
Crime writer Helen Forbes.

New to this year’s festival is an inaugural poetry slam with competitors battling it out for a place in the national Scottish poetry slam final.

As part of a poetry-themed day, award-winning poet Aoife Lyall will reflect on 10 years of Butcher’s Dog magazine as the trio, Cinnamon Sisters, deliver a video feast of poetry in Scottish and English.

Local journalists Val Sweeney and Tom Ramage will share stories and experiences gathered over their long careers at newspapers in the Highlands and across the UK in conversation with public relations consultant Jane Cumming.

Other events include a guided walk with stories from the Gaelic tradition, a screening of All The President’s Men, a talk about 19th century politician Charles Fraser-Mackintosh and a new look at the activist’s poetry and song Gaelic Murdo MacFarlane.

Writer and former BBC radio director Jeff Zycinski.
Writer and former BBC radio director Jeff Zycinski.

The festival is for all ages and primary and secondary pupils will take part in their own events in English and Gaelic

Children’s author Ross Mackay will also give a reading from his book, Daddy’s Bad Day, followed by a fun interactive session for ages three to six.

Emma Hamilton, President of NessBookFest, said: “After the disruption of the past two years, it’s great to be back with in-person events.

“The pandemic has made many of us realize how important it is to feel connected.

“This year is designated the Year of Stories in Scotland and we are taking the opportunity with this year’s festival to celebrate the different ways we tell stories.

“Books are more popular than ever, but they’re not the only way to share stories.

“Our festival explores storytelling in different forms, including poetry, diaries, film and oral traditions.”

The first NessBookFest took place in November 2016 and is organized and managed by the community, for the community

Miss Hamilton said: “One of our aims is to run a book festival without barriers, being inclusive on all fronts such as cost, social background, ability, age and origin ethnic.

“We believe that with this year’s program we maintain that ambition.”

More details on the festival website:

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