See you next year!

The 2019 Portobello Book Festival will run from 4th-6th October.


The tenth Portobello Book Festival was a great success and we hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did

Over the weekend, there were about 1000 people in and out of the library, Jameson Gate and the Baptist Church Hall, and comments across the board have been very positive indeed. Our intention is always to try as far as possible to make sure that those who make up the community of Portobello see themselves, their experience and their interests reflected in the programme – to be inclusive and local but never parochial! This year’s festival was perhaps the most diverse to date. The programme is also designed to bring together a distinctive mix of subjects, writers, commentators and readers creating what we hope is an atmosphere that is convivial and stimulating

The organising team would like to thank:

The talented musicians and writers who took part in the opening event celebrating the launch of our anniversary publication Postcards from Portobello 

All our participating writers for inspiring us

Our fantastic chairs for keeping everything running smoothly

Our soundman Jock and his assistant Riley for making sure that everyone could be heard

Our wonderful team of volunteers whose help was invaluable

Blackwell’s Bookshop for providing staff for the weekend and making sure all our authors’ books were available for sale after each event

Jameson Gate for hosting a fantastic and very popular event. It was great to have a new venue.

Portobello Baptist Church for their help and use of the premises

The teachers and children at the school events for their enthusiasm

Steve Harvey for organising the ever popular book quiz at the Dalriada

A special thanks to Paul Hudson and the staff of Portobello Library, a fantastic resource on our doorstep, without whose help and time we would not be able to run our festival

And of course, thanks to everyone who came along to the events and created such a vibrant atmosphere.

The 2019 programme will be launched early September with tickets available shortly afterwards. The organising team will be starting to plan for this very soon. Any ideas and suggestions will be warmly welcomed.


The 2019 Portobello Book Festival will run from 4th-6th October.

The State of the World 10 Years On: For Better or Worse with Sian Bayne @sbayne Jill Mackay @jillymackay & Donald Bloxham


          Sian Bayne Jill MacKay  Donald Bloxham wwwushmmorgmimg2451127168x168jpg


How has the world changed in the decade since the first Portobello Book Festival in 2009?  What are the prospects for the next decade?  Three distinguished University of Edinburgh academics address these questions in their different and distinctive ways: Sian Bayne, Professor of Digital Education, Jill MacKay, Research Fellow in Veterinary Medical Education, and Donald Bloxham, Professor of History.

Chair: Ian Martin

Sunday 7th October 5.00-6.30pm                                                         LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Tickets for all Portobello Book Festival events are free and can be picked up from Portobello Library in Rosefield Avenue.

St Kilda: A Different Perspective with Alex Boyd @alexboyd


Alex Boyd’s St Kilda: The Silent Islands is a stark and reflective collection of photographs that capture the archipelago of St Kilda in a new light. They show the reality of the crumbling military base as well as the wild beauty of the natural landscape. He is joined by composer Jessica Danz who is working on a new composition focusing on the largely unknown and ill-fated 1852 migration of 42 islanders to Australia. 

Chair: Jim Gilchrist

Sunday 7th October 3.30-4.30pm                                                            LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Tickets for all Portobello Book Festival events are free and can be picked up from Portobello Library in Rosefield Avenue.

The Times on Cinema with Brian Pendreigh


Brian Pendreigh, local journalist and freelance film correspondent, has had a lifetime fascination with film. He has authored many books, guides and reviews for papers such as the Scotsman, Herald, Times and Guardian. Brian shares stories of meeting famous film stars, the Oscars and discusses his latest book The Times on Cinema.

Chair: Peter E. Ross

Sunday 7th October 3.30-4.30pm                                                 LIBRARY DOWNSTAIRS

Tickets for all Portobello Book Festival events are free and can be picked up from Portobello Library in Rosefield Avenue.

Not long to go – have you got your tickets yet?

10th book fest cover pic

With just ten days to go until the 10th Portobello Book Festival begins, now is the time to get along to the library to pick up your free tickets if you haven’t already.

The good news? There are still some tickets left! Among other events with tickets still available, you could come to hear:

Local author Doug Johnstone talk about his Desert Island Books on Saturday at 11am in the Baptist Church Hall.

Three short story writers, Elle Turner, Jane Tulloch and Rosemary Gemmell, chatting about the art of crafting an effective story in a shorter form – Saturday 12.30pm upstairs in the library.

Steve Harvey discussing World Poetry at 1pm on Saturday in the Baptist Church Hall with poets Stuart A Paterson, Marjorie Lotfi Gill and Lynn Davidson.

Stephanie Nimmo’s inspiring book Was This In The Plan is the focus of her discussion with Lisa Hardie – Saturday 4pm at the Baptist Church Hall.

Or how about Celebrating 40 Years of Amnesty in Portobello? Hear from members of the group as they talk about their campaigning work during those 40 years. Sunday 12.30pm upstairs in the library.

The bad news? Tickets for quite a few of the events have already gone. Although remember, there are a few spare available just before each event (with the exception of the writing workshop) so it’s always worth coming along just in case you can get in.

Remember that the roadworks on Brighton Place will have begun by the time the festival is on and it will be closed from Bath Street to Lee Crescent. This will no doubt have an effect on parking too so plan ahead. You can still get the 21, 26, 45 and 124 buses to Portobello but the 42, 49 and 69 are being diverted and will not serve Portobello High Street. (The 21 will only be stopping at its usual stops from Kings Road to Portobello Police Station/Town Hall then is on a non stop diversion until it rejoins its usual route.)

Look forward to seeing you next week!

Facing The Nation: The Portraiture of Alexander Moffat


Alexander Moffat is one of Scotland’s foremost painters. The paintings Poets’ Pub and the portrait of Muriel Spark in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery are two fine examples of his work. Here he is in conversation with Bill Hare, author of Facing the Nation: The Portraiture of Alexander Moffat.

Sunday 7th October,  2.00-3.00pm                                                          LIBRARY UPSTAIRS

Tickets for all Portobello Book Festival events are free and can be picked up from Portobello Library in Rosefield Avenue.