Photos from our Friday Evening Cabaret Event

The Friday Evening Cabaret event is always popular and was expertly compered for the tenth year in a row by David Francis. This year as well as David entertaining us, James Spence read some Haiku poetry telling part of the story of Gregory’s Girl, performance poet Jo Macfarlane shared some of her work, Alex Callaghan gave us his debut poetry performance and local composer Gareth Williams was joined by cellist Justyna Jablonska as he explored the theme First Words, Last Lines. Thanks to Peter Ross and Margaret Drysdale for these photographs.

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.

Special event – Michael Pedersen at The Portobello Bookshop @scribepedersen @portybooks


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THURSDAY 3rd OCTOBER6.30pm-8pm  

We are delighted to kick off this year’s Portobello Book Festival at our new local bookshop, The Portobello Bookshop. It hosts prize-winning Edinburgh poet Michael Pedersen who will talk about his recent work including his collection Oyster.

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

Portobello Book Festival 2019 Programme

PBF prog zoom

The wait is over! The programme for the 2019 Portobello Book Festival, 3rd-6th October, has now been revealed. We have a packed programme as always this year and are delighted to be welcoming an exciting list of authors, contributors and guests. We are especially pleased to be running a special event in conjunction with our new local bookshop, The Portobello Bookshop, and to be paying a return visit to Jameson Gate.

Copies of the programme will be available from the library and local businesses in the coming few days. Tickets to all events are, as always, free and will be available from Monday 2nd September at Portobello Library in Rosefield Avenue.

Click the link below to see the full programme and look out for more info about each individual event over the coming weeks.

Portobello Book Festival 2019 programme




Books by participating authors will be available.


Tickets for all events can be collected in person from

Portobello Library from 2nd September. Some tickets

will be available at venues 15 minutes before events.


is organised by local enthusiasts and Portobello Library.

If you have ideas or would like to be involved, please contact:



14 Rosefield Avenue, EH15 1AU


189 Portobello High Street, EH15 1EU


17-21 Portobello High Street, EH15 1DW


46 Portobello High St, EH15 1DA


77 Promenade, EH15 2EL

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 programme for the 10th Portobello Book Festival is coming soon…

Not long to go now to find out what’s inside the programme for the 10th Portobello Book Festival. We are looking forward to revealing the line-up for our 10th Festival which, as always, includes local authors as well as those from further afield. The Festival, which runs from Friday 5th – Sunday 7th October, offers the diversity of subjects and authors that has become a distinctive feature of our programme. To celebrate our 10th anniversary, and with the support of Creative Scotland, we are publishing a collection of original work Postcards from Portobello, which we hope reflects the diversity of Portobello life. This will be available free during the Festival.

You can pick up a copy of the programme at the Village Show in Rosefield Park on Sunday 2nd 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 can be collected in person from the library from Monday 3rd September. Some tickets will be available 15 minutes before events.

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