Photos by @JonDaveyPhoto of Saturday at Portobello Book Festival

Local photographer Jon Davey was dashing between events on Saturday and has kindly sent us some of his photos to share. You can find out more about Jon and his photography by visiting


Saturday @PortyBookFest – some photos

A selection of photos from just some of the events on Saturday. These are all from a phone and much better photos will follow from many more of the events.

Saturday was a beautiful day in Portobello which was just perfect for the Writer’s Workshop led by Rebecca McKinney. Everyone went down to the beach for a bit of inspiration. This obviously worked as the quality and range of work produced was amazing.

Catherine Hokin and Ajay Close spoke about what inspired them to write about women who shaped history in a session chaired by Viv Cree. Catherine’s debut novel Blood and Roses looks at the fascinating story of medieval Queen Margaret of Anjou.  Ajay’s A Petrol Scented Spring follows the extraordinary exploits of Edinburgh suffragette Arabella Scott.


Novelist Catherine Simpson (Truestory) chatted with Isla Dewar about her many books and inspirations in a really entertaining session. Isla spoke about her heroines, both living and on the page, and told us a little about the novel she’s working on now which is set in Portobello.



We were delighted to have Man Book shortlisted author Graeme Macrae Burnet (His Bloody Project) joining us along with Mary Paulson-Ellis (The Other Mrs Walker). Their session was called Messing with the Mind and they discussed how they got into the mysterious minds of their characters and the exploration of secrets, lies and deception. 


Lesley Kelly (A Fine House in Trinity) and Alison Baillie (Sewing the Shadows Together) took part in a session about North Edinburgh Noir ably chaired by Caroline Dunford. They spoke about the joys and pitfalls of setting crime stories in places they know really well. They discussed what inspired them and what the reaction has been in the places their crime novels are set: Portobello, Leith and Trinity!  



Portobello Book Festival kicks off with events at Duddingston, Brunstane and Towerbank Primaries

Portobello Book Festival isn’t just for adults! Children from the local primary schools enjoyed visits from some authors this morning too.

The primary 4 pupils from the local cluster all went to Towerbank to hear Sir Chris Hoy talk about his children’s books Flying Fergus.


Brunstane Primary were treated to ‘Can’t -Dance-Cameron’ storytelling, science,  football with pine cones and dancing from Aunty Emily (Emily Dodd)

Media preview


Primary 6A and 6B at Duddingston Primary were entertained by Lari Don as she read from her latest book, Spellchasers, and encouraged them to use their imaginations to create their own exciting adventure stories. You don’t need to worry if you are ever in a sticky situation with these children – they have plenty creative ideas to help you escape!

Ticket update and full programme

PortyBookFest launch

With just a short while to go before the Portobello Book Festival begins, we are delighted that there has been so much interest in the events we have planned. So much interest, in fact, that some events have only a handful of tickets left! Remember, the only way to get tickets is to collect them from the library. So don’t leave it too late to pop in and find out if there any tickets left for events you are interested in.

Click here to see the full programme

PortyBookFest logo

Meet the authors: Richard Moore @richardmoore73 , Alan Bissett and Maddie Breeze @maddie_breeze

Image result for richard moore cycling author             


Sunday 9th October

The last event for this year’s Portobello Book Festival looks into the world of sport. Competitive sports have recently come into international disrepute over accusations of doping, bullying and corruption. Richard Moore, journalist, author (of The Bolt Supremacy among others) and former racing cyclist, Alan Bissett, novelist (Death of a Ladies Man among others), playwright and Rangers fan, and Maddie Breeze, sociologist and author on women’s roller derby (Seriousness and Women’s Roller Derby), discuss the state of sport in the contemporary world.

Chair: John Kelly

The Bolt Supremacy: Inside Jamaica's Sprint Factory by [Moore, Richard]

Beijing 2008, the 100 metres final: Usain Bolt slows down, beats his chest, metres clear of his nearest rival, his face filled with the euphoria of a young man utterly in thrall to his extraordinary physical talent. It is one of the greatest sporting moments. It is just the beginning.

Of the ten fastest 100-metres times in history, eight belong to Jamaicans. How is it that a small Caribbean island has come to almost totally dominate the men’s and women’s sprint events?

The Bolt Supremacy opens the doors to a community where sprinting permeates conversations and interactions; where the high school championships are watched by 35,000 screaming fans; where identity, success and status are forged on the track, and where making it is a pass to a world of adoration and lucrative contracts.

In such a society there can be the incentive for some to cheat. There are those who attribute Jamaican success to something beyond talent and hard work. Award-winning writer Richard Moore doesn’t shy away from difficult questions as he travels the length of this beguiling country speaking to anti-doping agencies, scientists and sceptics as well as to coaches, gurus, superstar athletes and the young guns desperate to become the next big thing. Peeling back the layers, Moore finally reveals the secrets of Usain Bolt and the Jamaican sprint factory.

Death of a Ladies' Man by [Bissett, Alan]

By day, Charlie Bain is the school’s most inspiring teacher. By night he prowls the stylish bars of Glasgow seducing women. Fuelled by art, drugs and fantasies of being an indie star, Charlie journeys further into hedonism, unable to see the destruction his desires are leading everyone towards…

One of Scotland’s dazzling young writing talents tackles the modern phenomenon of sex addiction. Dark, funny and deliciously erotic, DEATH OF A LADIES’ MAN is an intense portrait of male vanity, written with verve and emotional rawness.

Seriousness and Women's Roller Derby: Gender, Organization, and Ambivalence (Leisure Studies in a Global Era) by [Breeze, Maddie]

This book explores seriousness in practice in the unique sports context of contemporary women’s flat track roller derby. The author presents a stimulating argument for a sociology of seriousness as a productive contribution to understandings of gender, organization and the mid-ranges of agency between dichotomies of voluntarism and determinism.

Meet the author – James Robertson


Sunday 9th October

James Robertson is originally from Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire. He is the author of several short story and poetry collections, and has published six novels: The Fanatic, Joseph Knight, The Testament of Gideon Mack, And the Land Lay Still, The Professor of Truth, and To Be Continued…. He is also a co-founder of the Scots language imprint Itchy Coo  which produces books in Scots for children and young people.

In his latest novel To Be Continued…., Douglas Findhorn Elder is in a sorry state. He has just turned fifty, split up with his partner and jumped (before he was pushed) from his job at an ailing Edinburgh newspaper. On the night of his birthday, he makes an unexpected new friend: a talking toad. When a new work opportunity takes the man from the city to the Highlands, the toad goes with him…….

Chair: Jim Gilchrist

To Be Continued by [Robertson, James]

A madcap Highland adventure from the Booker-longlisted author of And The Land Lay Stilland The Testament of Gideon Mack

Douglas Findhorn Elder is in a sorry state. He’s just turned fifty, split up from his girlfriend and been pushed out of his job in an ailing national newspaper. On the night of his birthday, he makes an unexpected new friend: a talking toad. So begins a wild goose chase that will lead Douglas out of his cosy house in Edinburgh and across the country – all the way to crumbling Glentaragar House in the distant West Highlands. Awaiting him along the journey are a semi-criminal hearse driver, a hundred-year-old political firebrand grandmother, a split-personality alcoholic/teetotaller, an elaborate whisky-smuggling conspiracy, a mysterious woman with a rather enchanting Greek nose, and maybe even a shot at redemption…

In this gloriously surreal romp, James Robertson proves once and for all that the important things in life – friendship, romance, a very fine malt whisky – come when you least expect them.