BookMark Book Festival

Charity number: SCO45599

BookMark Book Festival

BOOKMARK 2017 Programme


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Previous Events


Wednesday 2nd August

19.00 onwards £7 (includes a glass of wine)

Tales of Don Roberto

St Catharine's Community Centre

As featured at the Borders Book Festival in June, local author and former Edinburgh International Book Festival board member Jamie Jauncey invites us to meet his ancestor RB Cunninghame Graham.

Known as Don Roberto, laird, horseman and adventurer, this remarkable 20th Century Scottish luminary co-founded the Scottish Labour Party and later became founding president of the SNP. Also fêted as one of the finest writers of his day, he was an early champion of freedom of speech who would have delighted in the growth of book festivals as places for the exchange of stories and ideas.




Saturday 9th September

15.00 - 16.30 £7

Alan Rowan - 'A Mountain Before Breakfast'

Straloch Garden Studio, Enochdu

Alan’s first book, Moonwalker, is a unique story, the memoir of a man whose love of Scotland’s mountains would override his body-clock and all conventional notions of health and safety, ascending mountains in the middle of the night, seeing the sun rise and then coming down the mountain as everyone else was going up.

In his follow-up, A Mountain Before Breakfast, fresh from seven years of nocturnal peak-bagging in Moonwalker, Alan now has his sights set on a new mountain list, the Corbetts. Cue more midnight dashes across the country and more tales of madness and mayhem - car crashes, roads that don’t exist, wild pigs and staring goats, the temporary loss of both feet, supermodel posties, giant chickens and snake-infested hillsides.




Friday 6th October

18.00 - 19.00 £7

Christopher Brookmyre - 'Want You Gone'

Blairgowrie Community Campus

Chris Brookmyre discusses the follow-up to 2016’s McIlvanney Prize winner Black Widow, in which journalist Jack Parlabane is blackmailed by a skilled, resourceful and boundlessly devious hacker.

Chris Brookmyre’s first novel, Quite Ugly One Morning, won the First Blood Award in 1996 for the best first crime novel of the year. Eighteen further novels garnered him two Sherlock awards and the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Writing. In 2005 he was named Glasgow University Young Alumnus of the Year and in 2007 won the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Award for writing. In 2016 his novel Black Widow won the inaugural McIlvanney Prize for best Scottish crime novel of the year.




Friday 6th October

19.30 - 20.30 £7

Rachel Crowther - 'The Things You Do For Love'

Blairgowrie Community Campus

A wonderful page-turner of a novel about the complexity of female life, by a new writer who understands it all too well. You can have it all, but only if you’re prepared to pay the price.” Fay Weldon

This is about how we tell the story of our lives, and our capacity for love. Richly woven through with art and music, this book is filled with emotional depth, eloquence and wisdom. Rachel Crowther worked as a doctor in the NHS for twenty years before succumbing to a lifelong yearning to write fiction.

She has an MA in Creative Writing and a string of prizes for her short fiction. Her first novel, The Partridge and the Pelican, a Tatler ‘sizzling summer read’, was published in 2011, and The Things You Do For Love followed in 2016.

Rachel will also introduce her new novel due out this summer, Every Secret Thing, a tale of friendship, betrayal and second chances.




Saturday 7th October

10.00 - 11.00 £7

Martin Bell - 'War and The Death of News'

Blairgowrie Community Campus

Martin Bell has spent more than half a century in unquiet corners of the world, including the surrogate war zone of the House of Commons. During that time, the way that wars have been fought and perceived, and the way that news has been gathered and presented has changed radically. From Vietnam to Bosnia and beyond, this is a moving, personal account of war, with an impassioned call to put the substance back into our news.

From the ranks of the Suffolk Regiment, Martin Bell emerged to become one of the BBC’s best-known war reporters. He covered conflicts from Vietnam to Bosnia, where he was wounded. In 1997 he became the first elected Independent MP for 50 years. He is now an Ambassador for UNICEF and an author. His eight books include one of poetry. He had a chrysanthemum named after him at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2014.




Saturday 7th October

11.30 - 12.30 £7

Lin Anderson - 'Follow The Dead - Silence The Living'

Blairgowrie Community Campus

Forensic scientist Dr Rhona MacLeod joins a mountain rescue team on Cairngorm summit. A mysterious plane has crash landed on frozen Loch A’an. A nearby climbing expedition has left three young people dead and a fourth missing after having seen Am Fear Liath Mòr, the Big Grey Man who haunts the mountain. Rhona is joined by the enigmatic Norwegian detective Alvis Olsen with disturbing theories about the link to his homeland.

Lin Anderson has published twelve novels featuring forensic expert Dr Rhona MacLeod, the latest, published August 2017, being Follow the Dead. Her first feature film script, Sometime Did Me Seek is due to shoot in Edinburgh shortly. Her short film River Child won a student BAFTA and the Celtic Film Festival best fiction award. Lin is co-founder of the crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland.




Saturday 7th October

13.30 - 14.30 £7

Ron Butlin - 'Billionaires' Banquet'

Blairgowrie Community Campus

1985 Edinburgh. Hume sets up a business catering for the rich and their ever-growing appetites. But by the new millennium, these appetites have become much more demanding...

Powerful, challenging and very funny, Billionaires’ Banquet is an immorality tale for the 21st century.

With an international reputation as a prizewinning novelist, Ron Butlin is a former Edinburgh Makar / Poet Laureate. His twenty books have won many prizes and been translated into over a dozen languages. His previous novel, Ghost Moon, was nominated for the international IMPAC Prize 2016. His latest novel Billionaires’ Banquet was published in April this year.




Saturday 7th October

15.00 - 16.00 £7

Flora Shedden - 'Gatherings'

Blairgowrie Community Campus

Flora lives in Highland Perthshire. She has worked as a gallery assistant, researcher, photographer, costume seamstress and waitress, before her success as a finalist on The Great British Bake Off encouraged her to plan her future around her favourite pastimes of writing, cooking and photography.

Flora’s debut cookbook, “Gatherings,” published in January 2017, is her first publication since creating and editing the local primary school newspaper, aged 9.

Currently establishing her own bakery, she is also presenting on BBC radio, and writing a regular food column for a national newspaper.

A gathering is an easy way of cooking and hosting. It means no pressure, no code of conduct, and everyone - cook included - can actually enjoy themselves.

Flora discusses her passion for cooking, photography and the journey she is taking from cooking for pleasure, via The Great British Bake Off, to producing her first cookbook and opening her own bakery.

Sponsored by A Proctor Group Ltd.




Saturday 7th October

16.45 - 17.45 £7

Alan Johnson - 'The Long and Winding Road'

Blairgowrie Community Campus

Alan Johnson continues to chart his extraordinary journey from the slums of West London to the corridors of power in Westminster, a journey almost unimaginable in today’s Britain.

In The Long and Winding Road, Alan’s characteristic honesty and authenticity shine through every word. His book takes you into a world which is at once familiar and strange: this is politics as you’ve never seen it before……

Alan was chosen to stand in the constituency of Hull West and Hessle, and entered Parliament as an MP in May 1997. Rising through various Ministerial positions he became Home Secretary in 2009. His first book, This Boy, won the RSL Ondaatje prize and the Orwell Prize in 2013. His second, Please Mister Postman, won the National Book Award for Autobiography of the Year in 2014.




Saturday 7th October

20.00 onwards £35

BOOKMARK 2017 Festival Dinner

Red House Hotel, Coupar Angus

BOOKMARK invites you to continue the conversation at BOOKMARK 2017’s Festival Dinner
in The Red House Hotel, Coupar Angus on Saturday 7th October, 2017.

with Guest Speaker - Alan Johnson

8.00 for 8.30pm

Dress Code: Lounge Suit

Book a table for 12 and receive a £25 voucher for the bar on the night.




Sunday 8th October

13.30 - 16.00 £10 (with seated afternoon tea)

Blairgowrie Players - 'The Arrow'

Blairgowrie Town Hall

Following on from last year’s success with the ever-popular Whisky Galore - The Radio Play, this year’s festival play will be a premiere, The Arrow, by local playwright, Robert Mercer Nairne from Meikleour.

The arrow in question is made of silver and was presented to the people of Rattray in the 17th century to commemorate an archery contest. Last competed for in 1727, the arrow has been in the custody of the Mercer Nairne family ever since.

Controversy raged locally some years ago when the arrow, which is worth tens of thousands of pounds, was put up for auction in London. On finding this out, local people protested vehemently and it was withdrawn. Ownership of the arrow has been hotly contested ever since.

The play explores the controversial history surrounding the arrow and the fate of the last winner.



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It was absolutely first class in every way and sincerely I wouldn't change a thing about Bookmark! Honestly!

Alex Gray (author)


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