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PICTURES: Sun shines over Ullapool Book Festival 2022 weekend with Leila Aboulela, Val McDermid, George Gunn and Hannah Lavery among the guests


By Federica Stefani

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Chris Dolan opening day two at the Ullapool Book Festival 2022.
Chris Dolan opening day two at the Ullapool Book Festival 2022.

TWO-and-a-half days packed with fascinating talks from novelists, poets and journalists put a Wester Ross village on the literary map at the weekend.

As organisers welcomed back a passionate live audience from across the Highlands, this year's edition of the Ullapool Book Festival had a special atmosphere, blessed by the gorgeous weather on the Saturday.

Lyra needed a play break in between sessions.
Lyra needed a play break in between sessions.

Despite a few initial organisational "hiccups" on the way, the weekend saw most events being sold out and the audience captivated by the line up of guests.

Chair of Ullapool Book Festival, Joan Michael, said: "It's been really good this year. Just before the start I was terrified! I was waiting for something to go wrong. There have been a few hiccups on the way, but in the end all went fine!

"Covid has altered the way that we work and it's been three years since we have organised a live event, it's been a re-learning curve.

"On the committee, we are all readers, and so this is mainly a festival for readers, and that's one of the things that makes it special."

The Saturday sessions started with Leila Aboulela, presenting her novel Bird Summons with Mark Wringe chairing the talk.
The Saturday sessions started with Leila Aboulela, presenting her novel Bird Summons with Mark Wringe chairing the talk.

After a successful start on the Friday, the second day kicked off with Aberdeen-based author of Sudanese origin, Leila Aboulela, who presented her latest novel, Bird Summons.

Poet George Gunn reading one of his poems.
Poet George Gunn reading one of his poems.
Ullapool Book festival day 2
Ullapool Book festival day 2

It was followed by an entrancing reading of Estonian poetry and by Triin Soomets, with Jim Carruth reading the English translations. After a lunch break, members of the Fun Lovin' Crime Writers Val McDermid, Stuart Neville and Doug Johnstone were on for a talk about music, crime writing and their current projects.

Estonian writer Triin Soomets in conversation with poet Jim Carruth.
Estonian writer Triin Soomets in conversation with poet Jim Carruth.
The volunteering team enjoying a pause in the sunshine.
The volunteering team enjoying a pause in the sunshine.

The evening went on with Caithness Makar George Gunn taking on stage and a performance by collaborative 365, composed by James Robertson, Aidan O’Rourke and Kit Downes, closing the night.

A warm day was welcome by the volunteers on Saturday.
A warm day was welcome by the volunteers on Saturday.

The last two sessions on the Sunday were had poet and Edinburgh Makar Hannah Lavery presenting her poetry collection Blood Salt Spring, followed by a talk by Canadian poet and novelist Ian Williams.

We will be releasing exclusive interviews with some of the authors in the following days – keep an eye on our website and on Northern Bibliosphere podcast to find out more.

Members of the Fun Lovin' Crime Writers Doug Johnstone, Val McDermid, Stuart Neville.
Members of the Fun Lovin' Crime Writers Doug Johnstone, Val McDermid, Stuart Neville.

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PICTURES: Ullapool Book Festival roars back with sold out sessions and live music for its first day

Ross-shire's Ullapool Book Festival has won a £13,376 National Lottery cash grant through the Creative Scotland Open Fund


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