First-ever book festival coming to Tobermory

There’s a new kid on the Scottish Book Festival scene this year.

The first-ever Tobermory Book Festival, known as West Over Sea, is to take place later this month.

A host of noted writers – including Scottish Field’s own Alexander McCall Smith, Guy Grieve and Polly Pullar – will be travelling to Mull for the event, which is taking place from 25-28 October.

Other attendees include The Herald’s David Ross, launching his new book, Highland Herald: Reporting the News from the North; celebrated Scottish cookery writer Clair Macdonald; TV presenter Paul Murton; and David H Caldwell launching his new title, Mull and Iona: A Historical Guide.

The festival has been put together by Duncan Swinbanks of Tackle and Books, Hugh Andrew of Birlinn Ltd and Hugh Raven of Ardtornish, the Festival is designed to celebrate Mull’s place as Scotland’s Hebridean book capital.

Duncan told Scottish Field: ‘This is the first year of the festival, and it’s very much a pilot to see if it will be successful and we could do more in the future. Perhaps it could become an annual or bi-annual event, depending on how it goes.

Alexander McCall Smith (Photo: Sam Jones)

‘Myself, Hugh Andrew and Hugh Raven were talking about the Mull Rally and how it has been running into trouble with road closures, and how there’s not really anything to end the season without it. As we all have a love of books, we came up with this idea.

‘The other thing about having it so late in the year is that it’s at a time when the weather becomes pretty driech, so it’s a great time to hold an indoor book festival and give people something to come to!

‘It will give local folk the chance to come along and get something unique, and buy a personally signed book on their own doorstep.

‘It’s all coming together, now we’ve built the website, and we’ve been round the local organisations who we thought might be interested. The book club are supporting us, and we’ve spoken to COMAR, the local theatre group, who are helping us with tickets.

Wildlife writer Polly Pullar (Photo: Birlinn)

‘Our events will mainly be in the Aros Hall and the Western Isles Hotel, which has a great history as it has been used for a number of films over the years, and many authors of note have stayed there.’

The organisers have been delighted by the support they have been given by the writers themselves.

Duncan continued: ‘The authors have been tremendously supportive, and we’re really looking forward to hearing from them all.

‘We can’t believe how kind people have been, and hope the people really enjoy it. Tobermory is the perfect place for a book festival, with lots of hall space, a good arts organisation, you can walk the venues, and it’s a lovely colourful setting.

‘We’re really pleased with how things are looking, and the idea has gone down well with the authors. Hopefully, we can persuade the people to come along and enjoy themselves.’

Click HERE for full details of the Tobermory Book Festival.