24 June

TELLING TALES: NAIRN BOOK AND ARTS FESTIVAL LAUNCHES STORY-THEMED PROGRAMME

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Organisers of the annual Nairn Book and Arts Festival have announced this year’s full programme, which takes inspiration from Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022, with a diverse array of events celebrating the ancient myths and modern legends of Nairnshire, the Highlands and the North East.

The family-friendly festival, running from Saturday 27 August to Sunday 4 September, will feature a ‘creative takeover’ of Nairn’s High Street with a storytelling fancy dress theme, alongside author talks, street theatre, live music, storytelling, exhibitions, creative workshops, tours and two paranormal investigations - a first for the festival.


A host of critically-acclaimed and award-winning authors from Scotland and across the UK will make an appearance, including Walter Scott Prize-winning author James Robertson discussing his seventh novel News of the Dead, Andrew Greig, talking about his latest historical fiction novel Rose Nicolson, Iain Cameron reflecting on Scotland’s winter mountains with his book The Vanishing Ice, and Sean Lusk with his debut novel The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley - the Scottish Book Trust’s book of the month for June.

The popular Wine and Crime event returns, featuring CWA Diamond Dagger award winning author Martin Edwards talking about his latest book ‘The Life of Crime’, a Q&A with Times Bestseller, LGBTQ+ writer Mary Paulson-Ellis, author of The Other Mrs Walker, and Jennifer Morag Henderson in conversation with Martin Edwards, discussing her biography “Josephine Tey: A Life”.

Festival activities begin with the ‘Creative Takeover’ of Nairn High Street on Saturday 27th August, with a fancy dress storytelling theme, parade with hand painted silk flags by Kinetika, circus and stilt walking entertainment from Fly Agaric, live music from Feis Nairn, acapella choir The Accidentals and Nairn’s Gaelic Choir, and outdoor theatre performance ‘A Discovery of Memories’ - an interpretation of recollections gathered from friends, family and elderly Nairn residents by Nairn Youth Theatre with Borealis Theatre Arts.

The programme features a host of live music events including The Cattachs and Gallachs of the Grey Coast, an eclectic and dynamic evening of music and poetry inspired by the far north and north-east counties of Scotland, developed as a collaboration between three of Scotland’s finest artists - the poet and Caithness Makar George Gunn, Gordon Gunn and Andy Thorburn.

Well known singer songwriter Martin Stephenson will be appearing with his Good Will Trio, featuring Rupert Hughes (guitar/vocals) and Niles Krieger (violin/mandolin/dobro/vocals) both from the award-winning bluegrass band, The Often Herd.

The Festival Finale takes place on Sunday 4 September, on Nairn links, and features a costumed ‘Wandering Woodland’ environmentally themed procession for children, accompanied by local samba band ‘The Penguin’s Tuxedo’, Kinetika’s ‘Stories of Nairn’ flags will be installed at the Wallace Bandstand with artist-storyteller Lizzie McDougall uncovering the stories behind the flags, along with readings from local writing group The Pen and I , nature -themed creative activities with Nature 4 Health and an afternoon of live music by local musicians, curated by young performers Kenna and Morna Ross.

"This year we have dug deep into a rich seam of modern myths and ancient tales from Nairn, the Highlands and the North East of Scotland. Storytellers, poets and musicians will bring them to life in Doric, Gaelic and English, and we’ll be celebrating them with costumed parades and outdoor performances.

We are excited to be collaborating with Kinetika as a major partner this year to create beautiful flags telling ‘Stories of Nairn’, drawn from our community and history. And we have a brilliant line-up of some of the country’s best authors and poets, covering everything from crime and Scottish historical fiction, to the fragility of our natural environment and the glories of Scottish river fishing.

We’re grateful to our funders and sponsors, our partnerships with local businesses and our team of amazing volunteers. The festival brings joy to so many, and without their support, it just wouldn’t happen."

— Tanera Bryden, the festival’s Creative Coordinator

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