Photos from our School Events with Justin Davies @flyingscribbler, Lindsay Littleson @ljlittleson, @jillcalder and @janismackay. @scottishbktrust

Four of our local schools enjoyed visits from authors on Friday as part of the book festival. Here are some photos from these events.

The children at Brunstane Primary had monster fun with Justin Davies, author of “Help! I Smell a Monster”.

At Duddingston Primary. Lindsay Littleson told the P4-7 assembly lots of funny stories from her childhood, explained how she became an author, spoke about the importance of never giving up and about her latest exciting adventure story “The Titanic Detective Agency”.

Towerbank Primary were visited by Jill Calder who had a very appropriate book to talk about – “The Sea”. There was lots of artistic activity as part of this session as the children learned about the importance of looking after our oceans and had a go at illustrations themselves.

Primary 2 at St John’s Primary enjoyed a visit from Janis Mackay. Here’s what one of the teachers had to say about the event:

St Johns P2 had a visit from Janis Mackay – a local Scottish author from Portobello who entranced the pupils with her stories of writing poems in the north of Scotland by the sea. While there she describes finding a baby Seal on the beach, which is the inspiration for her book ‘The Wee Seal’. The children sang songs, talked about the different things you could find on a beach and listened to Janis tell the story. It was a fantastic experience and the P2s loved meeting a real-life author!

Our thanks to all the authors for coming along, to the children for taking part so enthusiastically, to the schools for having us and to the Scottish Book Trust for making the sessions possible through Live Literature Funding.

Coming soon – the 2019 Portobello Book Festival Programme

PBF prog zoom

Not long to go now until you can find out what’s inside the programme for the 11th Portobello Book Festival. We are looking forward to revealing the line-up which, as always, includes local authors as well as those from further afield. The Festival, which runs from Thursday 3rd – Sunday 6th October, offers the diversity of subjects and authors that has become a distinctive feature of our programme. And yes, you are reading that correctly – we are beginning a day earlier than normal with a special event on Thursday 3rd September. All will be revealed soon.

You can pick up a copy of the programme from our brilliant bookstall at the Village Show in Rosefield Park this Sunday 1st September from 2-5pm or it will be available from Portobello Library and various local businesses from next Monday. Tickets for all events are free and must be collected in person from the library from Monday 2nd September. Some tickets will be available 15 minutes before events.

The full programme will be published here next week with more detailed posts on each event following in the lead-up to the festival.

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!