Irvine’s Tidelines Book Festival celebrates its tenth anniversary next month with a line-up featuring Elaine C Smith, Pat Nevin, Liam McIlvanney and former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, as well as a special event with award-winning local boy Andrew O’Hagan.
The event will centre on the Ayrshire town’s Harbour Arts Centre and run between September 21 and 24.
Mr O’Hagan, a former Booker Prize nominee and winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, will discuss his most recent novel Mayflies, a coming-of-age story set in Ayrshire and Manchester during the summer of 1986. Fast forward 30 years and it catches the two main characters in adulthood.
Last year the novel was turned into an acclaimed BBC Scotland drama starring Martin Compston and Tony Curran. For a Tidelines event called Mayflies: To Irvine With Love, pupils from the town’s Greenwood Academy will join Mr O’Hagan on stage to act out scenes from the BBC script. That event will be chaired by Ms Sturgeon.
In a separate event, Mr O’Hagan will interview Elaine C Smith, who also starred in Mayflies.
Commenting on the festival’s 10 years of existence, Mr O’Hagan said: “Tidelines Book Festival is ten years old this year and a brawer wee seaside festival of books you will not find. In that decade, with the help of volunteers, funders, supporters and audiences, Tidelines has survived all the great challenges to become a vital part of the local cultural landscape in Ayrshire, in Scotland, and beyond.”
The festival’s opening event on September 21 sees footballer-turned-pundit-turned author Pat Nevin and crime writer Liam McIlvanney take turns interviewing each other about their latest books, respectively Football And How To Survive It and The Heretic. Sticking with the football theme, pies will be served during the half time interval.
Among the other authors appearing at Tidelines are Sally Magnusson, reading from her new novel Music In The Dark, playwright and author Catherine Czerkawska, who will be discussing her new book, The Last Lancer, and Eleanor Thom, author of family memoir Connective Tissue. Broadcaster James Crawford will also talk about his new book, Wild History, a journey through Scotland’s derelict and abandoned historical sites, many now reclaimed by nature.
Meanwhile poet and academic Professor Alan Riach will lead a discussion of the work of Hugh MacDiarmid, and comedian Sarah Grant will look at portrayals of plus-sized women in pop culture as well as discuss her new book Fat Girl Best Friend, accompanied by musician Nyla Ahmad.
Outwith the festival itself, Graeme Armstrong, author of the acclaimed gang novel The Young Team and recently named one of Granta’s best young novelists under 40, will take part in the Tidelines Ten programme of events running in schools in Irvine, Ardrossan, and the Garnock Valley.
Elsewhere there is a full programme of events for children, a costumed walking tour and a workshop on writing for wellbeing to be led by Michael Malone.
“The past few years have been extremely challenging for live events, so we’re extra delighted to be celebrating a whole decade of bringing live literature to North Ayrshire in 2023,” said Tidelines Co-ordinator Siobhan Staples. “Our 2023 programme is definitely one of the most exciting line-ups the festival has ever run, with a range of accessible, entertaining events to suit all tastes from some of Scotland’s top authors.”