West Over Sea: Tobermory Book Festival

Thu 24 Oct - Sun 27 Oct 2019

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The Tobermory Book Festival 2019

Welcome to West Over The Sea 2019 - the second Tobermory Book Festival. Put together by Duncan Swinbanks of Tackle and Books, Tobermory, Hugh Andrew of Birlinn Ltd and Hugh Raven of Ardtornish, the festival is designed to showcase Tobermory as Book Capital of the Hebrides. What better way could there be than to spend a few days in Scotland’s most beautiful small town listening to superb speakers and enjoying the best of Highland food?

Thursday 24 October

Douglas Skelton and Alex Gray

Murder on Mull

Aros Hall | 7.00 p.m.

Douglas Skelton, author of Thunder Bay, set on Mull (or is it?) discusses crime writing and place with Alex Gray, author of Keep the Midnight Out (definitely set on Mull!) Followed by buffet dinner with glass of wine. Ticket reference for this event is T1. Tickets are £25 each.

Friday 25 October

Ben Blathwayt: Meet Ben Blathwayt An Tobar | 10.30 a.m.

Ben is one of Britain’s leading children’s writers and illustrators. His republished books set on Mull have been huge sellers and have recently sold rights to China. Ben will be talking about his art and showing us how he works to create a children’s book. His latest book is the first ever Sticker Atlas of Scotland. Ticket reference for this event is F1. Tickets are £10 each.


Roy Pedersen: Who Pays the Ferryman? Western Isles Lunch | 12.30 p.m.–2.00 p.m.

Roy is one of the leading experts on transport in Scotland. He will be discussing how we can make travelling round the islands much easier and cheaper, the costs of the current system, and why change is so fiercely resisted. Ticket reference for this event is F2. Tickets are £20 each.
Ticket price includes lunch.


Chris Whatley: Pabay: An Island Odyssey Aros Hall | 3.00 p.m.–4.30 p.m.

Better known as one of Scotland’s leading historians, Chris Whatley has a new book on Pabay - both a history of an island and the story of an extraordinary and inspirational man, his Uncle, Len Whatley who farmed Pabay for many years after the war. In one sense Len failed on Pabay, but his inspiration and determination changed the lives of all who met him and his legacy is still with us. Ticket reference for this event is F3. Tickets are £10 each.


Kirsten Gilmour: Author "The Mountain Café Cookbook"  Buffet dinner and talk, Aros Hall | 6.30 p.m.

Kirsten came to Britain in 2000 on a one way ticket from New Zealand. In 2006 she took over a small run down café in Aviemore and has now turned it in to one of the ‘must visit’ places in the Highlands. Using local ingredients and famed for her legendary baking, Kirsten has won many awards. Now Mull has the chance to taste what all the fuss is about!


Saturday 26 October

David McClay: From Lhasa to Tobermory: The Life and Letters of Henrietta and Isabella Bird

Western Isles Hotel | 10.00 a.m.–11.30 a.m.

Isabella Bird became one of the most intrepid travellers of the 19th century and her letters to her sister record an extraordinary life. The legacy of the Bird family still stands as the clock in the centre of Tobermory. Ticket reference for this event is S1. Tickets are £10 each.


Sue Lawrence: A Taste of Scotland’s Islands Lunch at the Gallery | 12.00 p.m.–1.30 p.m.

Sue’s new book tours the islands of Scotland selecting the best of the food they have to offer, and suggesting delicious recipes with which to enjoy it. One of Scotland’s best known cookery writers, Sue’s marvelous food is coupled with infectious enthusiasm and wonderful stories. In collaboration with Tobermory Fish Company and showcasing Mull’s outstanding produce. Ticket reference for this event is S2. Tickets are £20 each.


Chris Fleet: Mapping the West Aros Hall | 2.00 p.m.–3.30 p.m.

Co-author of Scotland: Mapping the Nations, Scotland: Mapping the Islands, and Scotland: Defending the Nation, Chris will focus particularly on Mull and the West Highlands to tell our story through the many beautiful and often little-known maps which have shaped our lives. Ticket reference for this event is S3. Tickets are £10 each


Jim Hunter: Insurrection: Scotland’s Famine Winter Aros Hall | 4.00 p.m.–5.30 p.m.

Jim is one of Scotland’s leading historians. His new book is the first comprehensive study of the hunger, starvation, protest and riot which gripped the Scottish north in the months following the 1846 failure of the area’s potato crop. Jim will have quite a bit to say about what happened in Mull and surrounding localities. Ticket reference for this event is S4. Tickets are £10 each.


Alan Johnson in conversation with Colin MacIntyre

In My Life: Music, Memoirs and Politics Aros Hall | 5.45 p.m.–7.00 p.m.

Alan Johnson is one of Britain’s best known politicians who has been Home Secretary, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Education Secretary, Health Secretary and Shadow Chancellor. He is now a best selling author of four fantastic memoirs, in which he also documents his dreams of becoming a rock star. Mull native, and award-winning musician-author, Colin MacIntyre, is the man behind Mull Historical Society and son of former BBC Political Correspondent, Kenny. Alan is an admirer of Colin’s music - so expect a tune from Colin too! Ticket reference for this event is S5. Tickets are £10 each.


Dinner with Alan Johnson and Jim Hunter Western Isles Hotel | 7.30 p.m.

Come and meet Alan and Jim more informally at our Book Festival Dinner. Ticket reference for this event is S6. Tickets are £45 each.


Sunday 27 October

Jamie Crawford: Scotland from the Sky Aros Hall | 10.30 a.m.–12.00 p.m.

Presenter and author of the much-viewed Scotland from the Air, whose second season is coming soon - Jamie will talk about the book and his own experiences of filming. Ticket reference for this event is SU1. Tickets are £10 each.


Trevor Royle: Mull and the West Highlands in War and Peace

Hebridean Lodge | 12.30 p.m.–2.00 p.m.

Trevor completes his trilogy on war and Scotland with Facing the Bear: Scotland in the Cold War, and will talk about Scotland and its experiences through two world wars and the Cold War, with particular reference to Mull and the Hebrides. Ticket reference for this event is SU2. Tickets are £25 each.