Published: 03/06/2014 00:01 - Updated: 03/06/2014 07:49

Nairn Book And Arts Festival line-up announced

Broadcaster Kirsty Wark
Broadcaster Kirsty Wark

TWO of the Scotland’s most high-profile female TV presenters– Kirsty Wark and Sally Magnusson – will bookend events at this year’s Nairn Book And Arts Festival.

Kirsty Wark will launch the festival while the 11th festival will close with BBC Scotland news announcer and author Sally Magnusson.

It runs from September 2 to September 7 and new features include a massed singing event and the launch of a kids’ day of free events on Saturday, September 6.

Crime writing is well-represented this year with Lewis’s award-winning Malcolm Mackay, plus Ann Cleeves, and Alex Gray.

Other writers to appear, include - on Friday, September 5 - Peter Ross, whose new book Daunderlust is a collection of his articles over the last few years for Scotland On Sunday.

Music events include Four Seasons Of Song, Nairn’s first massed singing event vplus a aried musical line-up including the Scottish Tango Ensemble, jazz from the celebrated Tim Kliphuis Trio and top Scots traditional musicians gather for a concert in memory of acclaimed fiddle player Ian Hardie, including original members of Jock Tamson’s Bairns, Highland Connection and The Occasionals.

A new kids’ day offers children free admission to a Charlie Chaplin film, storytelling, and workshops from drumming to animation, and the festival’s comedy night features Paul Tonkinson, fresh from supporting Michael McIntyre on tour.

David Godden, chair of the Nairn Book and Arts Festival, said: “The joy of this festival is its breadth; we aim for the best speakers and performers, while not compromising on the range of interests we cater for. This year, we have some of Scotland’s top writers on crime, history, cookery, dance, gardening and golf. The musical side of the festival comes to the fore, with our first-ever massed singing event, and an impressive line up of musicians, from traditional through jazz to tango.

Sally Magnusson
Sally Magnusson

“Accessibility and audience participation are important to us; we’ve introduced a kids’ day, where children go free to a whole range of activities, and we have more workshops than ever, from magic to jewellery making. And our art exhibitions celebrate the rich creativity of the area, with stunning bronze sculptures cast by Nairn foundry Black Isle Bronze, and contemporary work by art students from Moray College UHI.”

A Taste Of The Festival – a free food fair showcasing local artisan fare, with live music, takes place on Saturday, August 30. The Festival’s Kids’ Day, free to all children, is on Saturday, September 6.

The festival programme features talks, poetry readings, guided walks, artist workshops, and exhibitions taking place around Nairn and beyond, and poetry, Twitter Fiction and photography competitions.

More detail on some of the events reveals that there will be an afternoon of talks by top crime writers, including Malcolm Mackay who is celebrating the stratospheric success of his trilogy of books set on the dark side of Glasgow. Malcolm was the winner of last year’s prestigious Deanston Scottish Crime Book of the Year, and is joined by Alex Gray and Ann Cleeves.

Jazz with Scottish Jazz Award-winning Tim Kliphuis Trio, who will present an eclectic programme featuring compositions by Duke Ellington, Jazz wartime songs, and their own variations on classical favourites. The trio’s Nigel Clark is seesn by many as one of the best jazz guitarists in the world.

A talk on the history of tango by travel writer Kapka Kassabova, is followed by an evening of tango music by the Scottish Tango Ensemble – audience participation is encouraged. The Scottish Tango Ensemble was formed in 2009 and performs in concerts and milonga the length and breadth of Scotland; their repertoire spans old dance hall tunes, Tango Nuevo and modern arrangements.

The horrors and often gruesome circumstances of World War 1 battlefield surgery are brought to vivid life by surgeon and historian Tom Scotland, author of three books on the subject, while artist Andrew Crummy brings the creation of the epic work of community art that is the Great Tapestry of Scotland to life, in a talk at Brodie Castle.

A talk by Kenneth Cox, one of the country’s most experienced and entertaining lecturers on Scottish horticulture and plant exploration  and author of ‘Scotland’s Gardens’, and Nairn’s own Gardeners’ Question Time, with a panel of experts from local nursery Green’s and Broadley’s Garden Centre.

Chef, food writer and restaurateur Carina Contini shares tips on the perfect kitchen garden during ‘A Taste of the Festival’, and Catherine Brown, author of Scottish Cookery, will treat the audience to hot-off- the -girdle bannocks.

Irish novelist Nuala Ní Chonchúir appears at the Festival to talk about her new book, set in the Scottish Highlands - Closet Of Savage Mementos.

For the new massed singing event, with musical directors Alyn Ross and Anna Merrouni – 150 amateur singers will be brought together to perform a repertoire of musical numbers and popular songs in Four Seasons Of Song, as the finale to the festival.

the Ian Hardie Memorial Concert, featuring some of the best traditional musicians in Scotland, includes original members of Jock Tamson’s Bairns,  Highland Connection, the Occasionals, the Ghillies, Margaret Stewart and Mike Vass. The concert is being held in memory of talented fiddler and composer Ian Hardie, whose life was tragically cut short by a brain tumour. Proceeds from the concert will go to the Brain Tumour Charity and Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Bi-lingual Gaelic / English language events – Lachaidh MacAuley reads from the unpublished work of the Bàrd Chliuthair (Cluer Poet) Alexander Ferguson, and author Christine Stone reads from her humorous tales of her life as a postmaster’s daughter in Upper Coll, on the Isle of Lewis.

Workshops in drumming with Drumfun, stop:motion animation run by the Eden Court Creative team, jewellery making with internationally renowned jewellery designer Melanie Muir, expressive painting with landscape artist Kirstie Cohen, and even magic, with magician Mr Clive.

Art exhibitions for this year showcase Anne Campbell’ss her poetic paintings and silver gelatin prints at Nairn Community and Arts Centre. Bronze in Nairn showcases sculpture cast at Nairn’s foundry, Black Isle Bronze., including the maquette for Inverness’s Mercat Cross and other work by Gerald Laing, Ilona Morrice, and Tom Mackie. The exhibition is enhanced by a talk on bronze casting past and present. Nairnshire celebrates the natural beauty of the region in paintings prints and drawings by local artists. Photographer Christine Spreiter exhibits images of ’Victorian’ pupils from Rosebank Primary school in Bygone Days.  And the Travelling Gallery, a mobile gallery exhibiting contemporary art by five artists, visits Nairn and outlying primary schools.

Bards In The Bookshop every day at lunchtime throughout the festival, will see a poet will read from their latest work.

Roving portrait artist William Mather will be carrying out three-minute sketch portraits in various venues throughout the festival week.

For further information on the festival programme, to book tickets and to enter competitions, visit To book tickets by telephone contact: 01667 453476 / 01667 455528.

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