Birnam Book Festival - Birnam Arts
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Birnam Book Festival


Join us on the last weekend in November for the first ever Birnam Book Festival, welcoming book lovers from near and far. Here are just some of the highlights… 

To whet your appetite, Friday night promises a cornucopia of literary delights with a Welcome Reception to open the Festival, where Dunkeld’s doyenne of baking, Flora Shedden gets our taste-buds tingling.  Then Dr Peter Dorward makes us laugh, cry and think, with his compassionate, honest, and darkly humorous stories from the heart of medicine. Queen of contemporary fiction, Jenny Colgan sets the scene for An Island Christmas,
followed by music from the The Gutenbergs, whose songs are inspired by short stories.

TimeAuthorGenreLocation Ticket PriceMore Info
4pm - 5pm

School’s Out!!!: David MacPhail

Children’s Author Library


David MacPhail

6pm - 10:30pm

Festival Opening Reception

Nibbles, Drinks and Entertainment including...Hall

£15 (all Inc)

7pm - 8pm Peter Dorward : The Human Kind A Doctor’s Stories

Peter Dorward

8pm - 9pm Jenny Colgan: An Island ChristmasContemporary Fiction

Jenny Colgan

9pm - 10:30pmThe GutenburgsMusical Tales


Come back for seconds on Saturday, with A Brunch of Poets in the company of Don Paterson, Rebecca Sharp, Tim Turnbull and Chair Person Robert Rowland Smith, followed by Jamie Jauncey’s exploration of Words at Work,
and some seriously sinister cogitations from crime-writer Lin Anderson and leading forensic scientist Lorna Dawson.

The afternoon sees us welcoming none other than Folk music legend Peggy Seeger to the Birnam stage, the award-winning singer, musician and activist who inspired the song The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.

Robert Rowland Smith elaborates on his book Autobiophilosophy, and a lively and thought-provoking discussion is assured when writer Don Paterson, social activist Darren McGarvey and researcher Anna Ross come together to review the latest developments from the front line of The War on Drugs. And then we’ll be welcoming Peggy Seeger, Alan Reid and Fiona Ritchie back on stage for a musical journey with Wayfaring Strangers... and Friends.
Don’t even think about leaving early, or you’ll miss Jon Plunkett’s performance of his own words and music.

TimeAuthorGenreLocationTicket PriceMore Info
10am - 11am

Christmas Fairy Tales: Pauline Tait

Children’s AuthorBeatrix Potter Exhibition


Pauline Tait

10am - 11:30pm

A Brunch of Poets: Don Paterson, Tim Turnbull and Rebecca Sharp

Poetic LicenceThe Hall


Don Paterson

Tim Turnbull

Rebecca Sharp

11:30am - 12:30pm

The Station Mouse: Meg Mclaren

Children’s FictionBeatrix Potter Exhibition


Meg McLaren

12pm - 1pm

Words at Work: Jamie Jauncey

Creative Writing for BusinessThe Studio


Jamie Jauncey

1pm - 2pm

First Time Ever: Peggy Seeger

Folk Legend!The Hall


Peggy Seeger

2:30pm - 3:30pm

Bodies Talk: Lin Anderson and Lorna Dawson

Crime and ForensicsThe Hall


Lin Anderson

Lorna Dawson

3pm - 4pm

AutoBioPhilosophy: Robert Rowland Smith

Philosophy The Studio


Robert Rowland Smith

4pm - 5:30pm

The War on Drugs: Darren McGarvey, Don Paterson and Anna Ross

Review and Discussion The Hall


Darren McGarvey

Don Paterson

Anna Ross

8pm - 10:30pm

Wayfaring Strangers and Friends: Peggy Seeger, Alan Reid, Fiona Ritchie and Jon Plunkett

Musical JouneysThe Hall


Fiona Ritchie

Alan reid



A bracing walk is just the thing to blow away the cobwebs on Sunday, when Linda Cracknell and Claire Hewitt take you to explore the nature of
Tall Tales & Tall Trees, but for those who prefer more interior-based ruminations, Rose George will be providing food for thought as she discusses her new book, Nine Pints, over A Bloody Good Brunch. Dean Burnett’s hilarious and illuminating look at the human brain opens the afternoon, whilst our very own creative writers will be presenting the fruits of their labours from sessions held at schools, colleges and care homes in the local community. Magnus Linklater looks at some Great Scottish Lives and Fiona Valpy discusses the digital publishing revolution, while social commentator and winner of the prestigious Orwell Award Darren McGarvey speaks about his fearless and brutally honest book Poverty Safari. We round off the weekend with a visit to Harlem 69 –
journalist and popular radio pundit Stuart Cosgrove’s follow up to his 2018 Penderyn music book of the year, Memphis 68.


Remember, this is just a taste of some of the highlights. There are sessions from Children’s Authors in the Library and Beatrix Potter Exhibition for kids, book signings, cakes (in The Birnam Reader) and ale (in the beer tent in the Beatrix Potter Garden) as well as a link-up with the
Corbenic Community’s Advent Fair.

TimeAuthorGenreLocationTicket PriceMore Info
10am - 11am

Fox Girl and The White Gazelle: Victoria Williamson

Children's FictionLibrary


Victoria Williamson

10:30am - 12pm

Tall Tales & Tall Trees: Linda Cracknell & Claire Hewitt

Writers' Workshop for AdultsBirnam Wood (Studio at Birnam Arts if wet)


Linda Cracknell

10:30am - 12pm

Nine Pints: A Bloody Good Brunch: Rose George

Science & CultureThe Hall


Rose George

12pm - 1pm

Creative Writers: Lesley Wilson, Jane Archer and Ali Matheson

Creative WritingThe Library


Lesley Wilson

1pm - 2pm

The Happy Brain: Dean Burnett

The Neuroscience of HappinessThe Hall


Dean Burnett

1:30pm - 2:30pm

Great Scottish Lives: Magnus Linklater

Scottish BiographiesThe Studio


Magnus Linklater

2:45pm - 3:30pm

Kindling For Authors: Fiona Valpy

Digital PublishingThe Studio


Fiona Valpy

3pm - 4pm

Poverty Safari: Darren McGarvey

Activism & Social CommentaryThe Hall


Darren McGarvey

4:30pm - 5:30pm

From Detroit to Harlem: Stuart Cosgrove

The Seminal Years of SoulThe Hall


Stuart Cosgrove



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