Book Week Scotland, the country’s biggest celebration of reading and writing will take place between 15 and 21 November 2021.

This will be the tenth year of all things literary and the award-winning author Denise Mina will begin the celebrations at Glasgow Women’s Library where she filmed a new documentary: The Women Writers of Garnethill. The film with tour guide Melody House explores the contribution women writers have made to the area and Glasgow. The film will premiere on YouTube on 15 November at 12.30pm.

A social media campaign will begin on 15 November asking the public to join with their memories of a favourite or local library. Libraries will take part along with other partners including Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. There will be events throughout the week with the Damian Barr Literary Salon on Thursday 18 November featuring Alan Cumming and poetry from Lennie Pennie and Courtney Stoddart.

50,000 free copies of the Celebration book, which includes real life stories from people around the country, will be available from libraries and other community venues during Book Week Scotland. The book includes 22 stories selected by a panel, plus commissioned pieces from Courtney Stoddart, Elle McNicoll, Eòghan Stewart, Mòrag Law and Ross Sayers.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: “2021 marks a decade of Book Week Scotland, a massive milestone that all of us at Scottish Book Trust are extremely proud of. Last year alone, we reached 292,000 people through free Book Week Scotland events. Book Week Scotland would not be possible without the many libraries, bookshops, community groups and schools that take part. 

Over the last ten years, Book Week Scotland has become a highlight of Scotland’s literary calendar, the national event where a huge range of partners celebrate the connective power of reading and writing. It is where communities all over Scotland gather together to have conversations with writers and other readers, and where individuals all over the country share their love of books and the books they love. We look forward to celebrating ten years of Book Week Scotland with a fantastic line-up, with events both online and in person.”

Alan Bett, Head of Literature and Publishing at Creative Scotland, said: “For a decade now, Book Week Scotland has provided the perfect opportunity for readers across the nation to come together in community groups, bookshops, libraries and at home to share and explore a love of reading. With an exciting and diverse line-up of emergent and established names and forms of writing, from live poetry to comics, the centenary year programme is a true celebration of literature.”

Pamela Tulloch, Chief Executive of The Scottish Library & Information Council (SLIC) said: “Libraries will be hosting events from Shetland to the Borders, connecting communities and ensuring everyone across the country can meet likeminded individuals, and enjoy all that the week has to offer. We will also be celebrating Mobile Libraries Day as part of Book Week Scotland, which allows us to recognise the vital role that our mobile libraries play in some of the remotest parts of Scotland, as well as for those who are not able to visit their own local library. Reading is Scotland’s favourite pastime, and we look forward to sharing in the country’s love of books.”

Highlights from Book Week Scotland 2021 programme:

Monday 15 November

  • Ullaverse: this year, Book Week Scotland will be celebrated in Ullapool with Ullaverse, a poetry trail around the village featuring work by some of the most exciting poets writing in Scotland today, many of whom have appeared at Ullapool Book Festival. There will also be a few old favourites included as well as work created especially for the event. The poems will be displayed in windows around the village. Most will be big and bold with a few little gems hidden along the way. Free, unticketed event: https://www.scottishbooktrust.com/book-week-scotland/events/2021/ullaverse
  • The Art of Wild Swimming: photographer Anna Deacon and writer Vicky Allan will talk about their newly published book The Art of Wild Swimming: Scotland and Taking the Plunge: The Healing Power of Wild Swimming for the Mind, Body and Soul. Anna and Vicky will discuss their favourite outdoor wild swimming spots and asking them for their top tips. Join in with the audience Q&A and find out how to be the safest, most joyous and invigorated wild swimmer you can be. Online event hosted by Stirling Libraries, 7pm. Tickets:https://www.scottishbooktrust.com/book-week-scotland/events/2021/the-art-of-wild-swimming

Tuesday 16 November

  • Poetry and pals: An evening with Nadine Aisha Jassat and Andrés N. Ordorica. Join Nadine Aisha Jassat and Andrés N. Ordorica, two exciting and brilliant poets, in conversation as they discuss their first poetry collections, their own poetic process, dive deeper into one another’s work, and take your questions. Nadine’s Let Me Tell You This takes readers on a journey exploring heritage, connection, and speaking out, her poems demonstrating the power of heart and voice.At Least This I Know, the upcoming debut by Andrés works through belonging both in a physical sense and emotional, be it the belonging of immigrant bodies in new countries, or the belonging of the queer self within found families and safe spaces. The event is free and will be livestreamed on YouYube at 7pm: https://www.scottishbooktrust.com/book-week-scotland/events/2021/poetry-and-pals-an-evening-with-nadine-aisha-jassat-and-andres-n-ordorica
  • An afternoon with Graeme Macrae Burnet: the Booker shortlisted and Radio 4 serialised author discusses his latest book just published –Case Study. Hosted by the Pentlands Book Festival at Corner Café, Edinburgh, 3pm. Tickets: https://www.scottishbooktrust.com/book-week-scotland/events/2021/an-afternoon-with-graeme-macrae-burnet

Wednesday 17 November


Thursday 18 November

  • Checkpoint with Joe Donnelly. Video games power up minds, kick ass and save lives. Author Joe Donnelly, author of Checkpoint, games writer and mental health advocate, will be livestreaming gameplay on Twitch.tv as he takes viewers on a journey through the lesser-known side of game Grand Theft Auto V, showing how it can be a vehicle for mental health support in the most unlikely of ways. The event is free, and will be livestreamed on Twitch at 7pm. Tickets:https://www.scottishbooktrust.com/book-week-scotland/events/2021/checkpoint-with-joe-donnelly
  • Bold Types: Creative Writing Showcase: from 6.30pm, shortlisted writers read out their stories and poems on this year’s theme – CELEBRATION. Glasgow Women’s Library panel of judges includes: poet and filmmaker Sunnah Khan, member of 4 BROWN GIRLS WHO WRITE poetry collective; writer Noren Haq, whose short story features in the recent anthology A made in heaven: Muslim women write about love and desire; and GWL’s own Librarian, Wendy Kirk. Free, online event. Tickets: https://www.scottishbooktrust.com/book-week-scotland/events/2021/bold-types-creative-writing-showcase
  • Talk by one of Scotland’s most gifted authors James Robertson. Kinross-shire Local Events Organisation presents a talk by one of Scotland’s most gifted authors, James Robertson. Ever since the acclaimed And the Land Lay Still, readers have been waiting for another novel that would articulate the changing spirit and soul of Scotland. News of the Dead is that book. Featuring three characters, hundreds of years apart, the novel is set in the Braes of Angus, where the fictional Glen Conach is the home of fables and folklore gathered over the centuries. Milnathort Town Hall on Thursday 18 November at 7.30pm. Free event, tickets: https://www.scottishbooktrust.com/book-week-scotland/events/2021/talk-by-one-of-scotland-s-most-gifted-authors-james-robertson

Friday 19 November

  • Interactive Event with Donna Ashworth: as part of Book Week Scotland, the Fife Women’s Tent Facebook Group will host Donna Ashworth, author and poet. The night will begin with Donna introducing herself, followed by readings and then opening up for Q&A and discussions with the participants. Free, online event from 6.30pm: https://www.scottishbooktrust.com/book-week-scotland/events/2021/interactive-event-with-donna-ashworth
  • No Stone Unturned: Celebrate the reunion of poet Tom Pow with The Crichton Writers in this Book Week Scotland event organised by The Bakehouse Community Arts. The Crichton Writers is the writing group formed following a creative writing course led by Pow in 2003. Many Crichton Writers have gone on to be published and win prizes. Their recent anthology No Stone Unturned – stories of stone caving in Dumfries and Galloway is a tribute to their versatility and skill. The Bakehouse, 44 High Street, 7.30pm. Tickets: https://www.scottishbooktrust.com/book-week-scotland/events/2021/no-stone-unturned

Saturday 20 November

  • Writing crime set in St Andrews: Marion Todd is a crime fiction novelist, currently working on the 6th book in the DI Clare Mackay series, set in St Andrews. A native of Dundee, early success saw her winning first prize in Family Circle magazine’s short story competition and she began experimenting with a variety of genres before settling on crime fiction. Marion will introduce her crime series and speak about the process of creating, researching and writing crime fiction based in a town we all know so well. St David’s Centre, St Andrews at 10.30am. Free, unticketed event: https://www.scottishbooktrust.com/book-week-scotland/events/2021/writing-crime-set-in-st-andrews
  • Celebrating Our Community and Our Coast with Christopher Trotter. Join author Christopher Trotter on a virtual journey along the Fife Coastal Path at Leven. Christopher will showcase fish and shellfish caught in the waters local to Leven and produce grown in the local area using photos, videos and stories. He will then cook a selection of recipes from his new book, Coasts and Waters: The British Seafood Cookbook, in real-time for people to try at home. This event will celebrate community and the bounty of the local Leven area through the joy of cooking and eating together. 2pm, Largo Library and Community Hub, 7 Lundin Square. Tickets:https://www.scottishbooktrust.com/book-week-scotland/events/2021/celebrating-our-community-and-our-coast-with-christopher-trotter


Sunday 21 November 

  • Mayflies: An Evening with Andrew O’Hagan. Craig Smillie will lead the conversation, paying particular attention to O’Hagan’s latest book, Mayflies; an incredible story that charts a weekend of youthful excess in 1980’s Manchester and the aftermath thirty years later. There will also be an opportunity for our audience to ask questions and engage in the discussion. The Glad Café, 1006a Pollokshaws Road, 7pm. Tickets: https://www.scottishbooktrust.com/book-week-scotland/events/2021/mayflies-an-evening-with-andrew-o-hagan
Denise Mina