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Ullapool Book Festival confirms 2021 return

By Calum MacLeod

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Ullapool Book Festival hopes to return in front of a live audience next May.
Ullapool Book Festival hopes to return in front of a live audience next May.

Ullapool Book Festival has pledged to return in May 2021, with plans in place for a live event.

Announcing on social media that the 17th Ullapool Book Festival would take place over the weekend or May 7 to 9 next year, the organisers wrote: "We hope that the social distancing regulations will allow us to have an actual event along the same lines as before (albeit with a few changes).

"The audience will be slightly reduced and instead of everyone being in Ullapool village hall, one third of the audience for each individual session will be in the hall with the writers and chairs on stage as usual.

"The rest of the audience will be split between two marquees in the hall grounds where the sessions will be live-streamed to large plasma screens. For those who can’t travel to the village, a limited number of tickets can be purchased to watch the event streamed live at home.

"If distancing is at two metres or gatherings are banned, there will be a virtual festival with the same guests."

The festival, which was forced to cancel this year's event, has attracted a number of high profile guests to the Wester Ross village, including the late Iain Banks, bestselling crime writers Ian Rankin, Denise Mina and Val McDermid, novelist James Robertson, poet Jackie Kay, Booker Prize shortlisted Graeme Macrae Burnet and broadcaster Sally Magnusson. The festival also attracts authors from around the world, including Canada, Germany and the Middle East, as well as having a regular Gaelic language strand.

It also features music and other love performance alongside the literary talks and panels.

News of the planned return led festival fans to get in touch to ask when they could book tickets.

The organisers responded with another social media post, saying: "It's fantastic that you're all so keen but due to the ever changing circumstances, tickets will not go on sale before 9 April. Thank you for your support and understanding."

The festival's plans for 2021 will be helped by the award of £12,471 from Creative Scotland's Open Fund.

It is one of a number of Highland projects sharing in £32,864 of National Lottery and Scottish Government funding.

Across Scotland a total of 47 projects will take a share of £849,000 in the latest round of funding.

Iain Munro, chief executive of Creative Scotland said: “From exploring common experiences in newly imagined ways, to safely bringing tuition and mentoring to people across the country, these projects reflect the resilience, innovation and determination of Scotland’s creative community as this most challenging of years draws to a close.

“Made possible by the generosity of National Lottery players, who raise £30 million for good causes across the UK every week, and funding from the Scottish Government, these awards are helping to sustain the immense value that creativity adds to our lives.”

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