Featured Event

Enjoy a FREE fun day for everyone - we have lots of exciting events taking place.

Formerly known as Kids’ Day, we have decided to transform this day of fun for children into a day of fun for everybody in our community.
Join us, and enjoy music, dance and song showcases by Nairn’s finest creative performers, locally-produced food and drink and the chance to meet local community groups.  
Look out for our colourful bell tents hosting various activities – storytelling, arts & crafts, music and much more.
Take a culinary trip around the world by visiting the stalls of our Artisan Food Fair, have a chat with the producers and enjoy delicious fare from our great Highland Larder.
Our “Market of Opportunities” will feature local groups and what they have to offer in and around Nairn. Find out what you can do for your town or get in touch with like-minded people, and finally take up that new hobby you have been thinking about.

Portrait Artist
Our popular roving portrait artist William Mather will again join us.

The Pen & I - Nairn’s creative writing group.
Bring your children to our poetry tent. Poetry workshops and poetry readings for poetry lovers of all ages!

Earthtime is a local charity providing fun, creative and educational sessions for children and adults to inspire and generate enthusiasm for nature and the outdoors. They will be running family-friendly activities including making flower looms, decorating wood cookies and fairy/elf doors, as well as providing wood and tools for tinkering activities.

Green Suitcase
Mr Clive Magician will bring family entertainment to Nairn, all neatly packaged and ready to be released from the Green Suitcase by character Lance Diamond to bring family magic to town. Open the case, join in the fun. After all, where else can you be treated to a Vegas wedding, reincarnated chicken, a hula hooping relative, voodoo and a talented mongrel.

Green Hive
Join Green Hive, Nairn’s local environmental charity, in the Viewfield Community Orchard to celebrate fruit growing in Nairn. If you have a fall of apples in your garden take them with you for our community apple juice pressing. With nature-based and creative activities for children.

Would your group like to showcase your talent, are you looking for new members? Please get in touch: info@nairnfestival.co.uk

Lively animation workshops that demonstrate how cool 2D animation can be created even if (you believe) your drawing skills are limited! This workshop is for messy artists and cartoon fanatics alike!
The group will learn traditional sequence-drawn animation skills, working on paper with animation light boxes. Participants will be creating sequences of freeflowing charcoal animation, using broad strokes, abstract lines and rhythmical patterns – fluid fun with the emphasis on creation of the animated movement. Final film footage (approved by participants) will be made available online.
D Fie Foe’s portfolio includes cutting-edge short films, animated title sequences, logos, projections for theatre shows; their many education projects span the UK. http://www.dfiefoe.co.uk There will be some flexibility in the age groups to accommodate siblings. Places are limited, early booking is advised.

Margaret Kirk
What Lies Buried
A graduate of Glasgow University, Margaret Kirk writes ‘Highland Noir’ Scottish crime fiction, set in and around her home town of Inverness (think the North Coast 500, only with bodies)
What Lies Buried is the second book in her DI Lukas Mahler series. What connects the abduction of a ten year-old girl from a friend’s birthday party with a cold case from the 1940s?
With his team stretched to the limit, Mahler’s hunt for Erin’s abductor takes him from Inverness to the Lake District. And decades-old family secrets link both cases in a shocking final twist.

Lin Anderson
Time for the Dead
Lin Anderson is best known for her bestselling series featuring forensic scientist Dr Rhona MacLeod of which there are fourteen novels, two of which were finalists for the Scottish Crime Book of the Year. In her latest, Time for the Dead, Rhona returns to her island roots on Skye, where a chance encounter leads her to a crime scene, but without a victim. Could this be linked to a group of army medics, on leave from Afghanistan, who can no longer be located on the island?
Enlisting the help of local (real life) tracker dog Blaze (@Blazespage), Rhona searches for answers.

Denzil Meyrick
A Breath on Dying Embers – the seventh book in the bestselling DCI Daley Series When the luxury cruiser, hastily renamed Great Britain, berths in Kinloch harbour, the pressure is on DCI Jim Daley. The UK Government are taking a high-powered group of businessmen and women on a tour of the British isles, golfing and seeing the sights, as part of a push for global trade. But when one of the crew goes missing , and an elderly local ornithologist disappears, will the pressure become too great?
The arrival of a face from the past, sends Daley’s world into a tailspin. And the lives of the passengers and crew of SS Great Britain, as well as the country’s economic future are in jeopardy. DS Brian Scott comes to the fore, and replete with a temporary promotion, is once more – most reluctantly, in his case – back at sea.
Daley faces a life and death struggle, but is this his last throw of the dice?

Sponsored by The Nairn Bookshop

Diana Hendry & Hamish Whyte
Edinburgh-based poets Diana Hendry and Hamish Whyte live, work and perform together.Diana has published six collections of poems, including the recent The Watching Stair (Worple Press, 2018) and the collaborative Second Wind (Saltire Society/Scottish Poetry Library): poems on ageing. She has written over 40 children’s books, including the Whitbread-winning Harvey Angell. The Seeing was shortlisted both for the Costa Prize and Scottish Book of the Year. Her short stories have been widely published and broadcast and she was the first writer in residence at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary.

Hamish has had three collections of poems published by Shoestring Press, A Bird in the Hand, The Unswung Axe and Things We Never Knew. A pamphlet Now the Robin came out from HappenStance Press in 2018. He has edited many anthologies of Scottish literature, and runs Mariscat Press, publishing the poetry of Edwin Morgan, Stewart Conn, Douglas Dunn, Jackie Kay, Gael Turnbull, and Christine De Luca, among others. Hamish is an Honorary Research Fellow in Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow, and a member of Edinburgh’s Shore Poets.

In 2007 Diana and Hamish received a joint Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship, and the resulting sojourn in France produced a series of poems exploring contemporary family relationships, which they will be performing, with additions, at the Festival.

Janet Sutherland
Janet Sutherland was born in Wiltshire and grew up on a dairy farm. Home Farm (Shearsman Books, 2019) is her fourth collection. Burning the Heartwood, Hangman’s Acre and Bone Monkey are her previous collections, all from Shearsman Books. She has an MA in American Poetry from the University of Essex. Her poems are widely anthologised and have appeared in magazines such as Poetry Ireland Review, The New Humanist, The London Magazine, The New Statesman, The Spectator and Poetry Review. In 2018 she received a Hawthornden Fellowship.
She won the 2017 Kent and Sussex Poetry Competition.

Author photo by Tom Reeves

Richard Barnett
Richard Barnett is a poet and a historian. Seahouses, his first collection, came out with Valley Press in 2015, and was shortlisted for the Poetry Business Prize. He taught the history of science and medicine at Cambridge, UCL, and Oxford for more than a decade, and his history books include Medical London, a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, and The Sick Rose, an international bestseller.

Enjoy stories, songs and rhymes with your toddler in this fun session.
Suitable for pre-school children.

Learn the basics of how to draw and paint a realistic portrait from a photograph.
Using black & white media, we will be exploring foundational principles and techniques that help to draw and paint any subject more realistically, whether from photos or life.

For all levels including complete beginners.

Jonathan Luxon BA is a figurative painter and portrait artist. He was a semi-finalist in Sky Arts channel’s 2018
Portrait Artist of the Year.
Working within the tradition of painterly realism, he is presently working on figurative narrative paintings that focus on the ever increasing effects of digital technology in our lives. Jonathan studied Fine Art at Canterbury Christ Church University and has exhibited in the Moray Art Centre as well as in Inverness, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and London. He is based at the Orchard Road studios in Forres.

A workshop for the aspiring or practised poet keen to master the art of writing about the family. The workshop will include discussion and participation.

See too Diana & Hamish’s ‘Family Poems’ performance on Saturday’s Poetry Platform.

Joint ticket for Poetry Platform & Creative writing workshop £30.

In this workshop the group will be making a special banner for the Nairn Festival to last for years to come. The workshop will be led by Clare Hunter, who has been running community textile projects for over 30 years. You don’t need to be able to sew to come along. A lot of the work will be tracing and cutting things out, so all ages, men as well as women, are welcome and no-one needs to be scared. Clare will be introducing the group to a quick and easy method of appliqué which is really making pictures and lettering out of fabric, a bit like putting a jigsaw together.

So come along, learn something new and help to make something beautiful that will last throughtime.

Places are limited to 12, early booking is advised.

*Drop-in from 10am-4pm on Saturday. People wishing to contribute their initials or name to the piece can do so.
Ready-made ash-leaf symbols will be available for you to personalise. £2 donation.

Learn how to make folded book structures and a beautiful hand-crafted hardback artist book.
You will also find out about various materials and tools needed to make books.

All materials and tools will be provided, but participants might like to bring paper, drawings, prints, photocopies etc. to personalise their books.

No previous experience necessary.

Places are very limited

We are very excited to have CineMor77 presenting a programme of films for all ages and stages, children’s animation, classic Scottish drama and more in their wonderful cinema yurt.

The yurt offers a really special film experience; cosy up on a cushion and discover a chilledout nook – for film fans young
and old.

Full programme will be revealed soon

Drop-in session.

Children under 16 years must be accompanied by an adult.

Who killed the Councillor?
Join Museum volunteers in a search for the truth. Written specially for the Museum by local author, Frances Mary Hendry, this promises to be a night of unusual mystery and suspense within this historic building.

Can you work out whodunit?

Seating limited so book early to avoid disappointment.

Celebrate the Nairn Book & Arts Festival 2019 and join us for our Festival Finale.

Our Festival Choir, led by Mellow Yellow Creative Arts will enchant you while a culinary surprise and images of
the festivals events will complete the festivities.

We are delighted to welcome well-loved broadcaster and journalist John Sergeant to the festival this year. John won his place in TV history when as a reporter for the BBC he was ‘handbagged’ mid-broadcast by Margaret Thatcher, who
grabbed his microphone and declared her participation in the Conservative leadership ballot.

That memorable incident was just one of many in his 30 year career at the BBC, where John became Chief Political Correspondent. As a war reporter, he covered major trouble spots including Northern Ireland, Vietnam, and the Middle East.

John later turned to writing; his hilarious memoirs, Give Me Ten Seconds, which led to a national touring one-man
show, while his witty analysis of Thatcher’s life and career, Maggie: Her Fatal Legacy, became a bestseller.

Now a freelance journalist and broadcaster, John reports for BBC1’s The One Show, has hosted Have I Got News For
You?, and is a regular on Radio 4 panel shows. John became a hugely popular (and unexpectedly successful) contestant on Strictly Come Dancing. His pet hates include the TV series Casualty, 4x4 cars and… buying shoes.

‘Sewing is a way to mark our existence on cloth: patterning our place in the world, voicing our identity, sharing something of ourselves with others and leaving the indelible evidence of our presence in stitches held fast by our touch.’

Threads of Life is a chronicle of identity, protest, memory, power and politics told through the stories of the men and women, over centuries and across continents, who have used the language of sewing to make their voices heard, often in the most desperate of circumstances. In Threads of Life Clare Hunter takes us from Mary, Queen of Scots in captivity to the mentally and physically damaged soldiers returning home after World War One, from the grieving mothers of the disappeared in 1970s Argentina to nineteenth century tailors whose pictorial quilts campaigned for reform and feminists in 1980s America, in an evocative and moving book about the need we all have to tell our story.

She’s back! Straight-talking single mum Moira Bell returns in a new installment of Alan Bissett’s much-loved ‘one-woman
show’ about the hardest wifie in Falkirk. Moira’s a gran now, but still telling her BFF Babs some hilarious home-truths about dating, reuniting with her estranged sister, cleaning posh folk’s hooses, the return of her ex Billy, and Brexit.

Fringe First Winner 2017 Shortlisted Best New Play – Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) 2018

“A near-perfect series of new monologues, both howlingly funny and unnervingly sharp and poetic.”
5***** The Scotsman
“Great hilarity, simple truths and some profound moments too: it’s no wonder Moira has such a loyal following.”
4**** The List

Strong language and sexual references

Recommended for 14+ yrs

Singer-songwriter Adam Ross is the prolific mastermind behind the music of Randolph’s Leap. Hailing from Nairn, Adam has been steadily building up an eclectic back-catalogue of uplifting folk-pop – a mixture of solo home recordings and full-band studio epics. His sonic world is one of heart-bursting melody, funny and poignant lyrics, storytelling and yet more melody.
One of Scotland’s most versatile lyricists, Adam’s engaging on-stage persona can captivate a room into stunned silence as a solo performer, building intimate and engaging songs using guitar, keyboards and subtle use of a loop pedal.

This presentation will consider how peasant communities throughout Scotland responded to dispossession of land in the 18th and 19th centuries. The presentation is based on Tom Devine’s recent book, The Scottish Clearances, which has been widely acclaimed by reviewers both at home and abroad.

’Superb... anyone interested in Scottish history must read it’
(Sunday Times)

’Amazing, it is so damn readable!’
(Sunday Telegraph)

’It is Tom Devine’s magnum opus’
(The Herald)

Sir Tom Devine is Sir William Fraser Professor Emeritus of Scottish History and Palaeography in the University of Edinburgh. During his career he has received around two dozen national and international prizes and honorary degrees in recognition of his scholarship, including the Royal Gold Medal, Scotland’s supreme accolade, the only historian recipient of this honour to date. He was knighted in 2014 for services to the study of Scottish history. In summer 2018, Sir Tom became the first historian from a Scottish university to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award in Historical Studies from a joint committee of the Houses of Lords and  Commons of the UK Parliament.

A riverside foray celebrating our local woodlands and the food freely available there. We’ll get back to our primitive roots with a fire-lighting skills session, bake some bannock bread and have a freshly made brew over the fire.

Accessibility – Easy walking, max 2km.
Mainly flat paths but some forays off path.


A single phone call from halfway across the world is all it takes to bring her home . . .
‘Ellie, something bad has happened.’ Desperate to escape her ‘kid from the scrapyard’ reputation, Ellie Rook has forged a new life for herself abroad, but tragedy strikes when her mother, Imelda, falls from a notorious waterfall. Here, according to local legend, the warrior queen Finella jumped to her death after killing a king. In the wake of her mother’s disappearance, Ellie is forced to confront some disturbing truths about the family she left behind and the woman she has become. Can a long-dead queen hold the key to Ellie’s survival? And how far will she go to right a wrong?

Sandra Ireland was born in Yorkshire. She began her writing career as a correspondent on a local newspaper but quickly realised that fiction is much more intriguing than fact. In 2013 Sandra was awarded a Carnegie-Cameron scholarship to study for an MLitt in Writing Practice and Study at the University of Dundee, graduating with a distinction in 2014. She is the author of  Beneath the Skin (2016) and Bone Deep (2018).

Following tours of Europe and the Americas, Nairn’s piano maestro Andy May makes his much anticipated return to the Nairn Book & Arts Festival. Performing his own arrangements and compositions, Andy will accompany Buster Keaton on the keyboard as Keaton plays the hapless railroad engineer trying to save his fiancée, trapped on a train stolen by Union soldiers in the American civil war.
Boundless wit and dexterity – on the keyboard and on the train! A Double Bill of Andy and Buster – there is no better way the start the weekend!

Presented by Nairn’s Community Cinema Group, Cinema Nairn

We had such an amazing experience last year that we are back this year with even more energy and excitement, so if you love belting out a show tune, get lost in the emotion of a love song or are mesmerised by the way that musical theatre performers can burst into a song and dance mid-scene as if it was an every day life occurrence then this musical choir is for you.
The focus this time will be on songs from the movies, from Bohemian Rhapsody to Sister Act and Rocketman and maybe even an old classic or two. There will be something for everyone.

Rehearsals at Nairn United Reformed Church on Saturday 14th September from 10am to 5pm (bring a packed lunch).
Choir will sing at the Festival Finale
Details: Choir to arrive at Nairn Community & Arts Centre Sunday 15th September at 6pm for a rehearsal prior to their Finale performance.

Mellow Yellow Creative Arts has been running performing arts classes for children in Nairn for 15 years. This is the opportunity for all those adults who have always wanted to give it a go and take to the stage in a fun, friendly and supportive environment.
No choir experience necessary – just join in and sing!

Booking essential.

Banais eile, prèasantan a bharrachd, agus cosgais mhòr nan lùib. Tha Anna seachd sgìth dheth, is i aig bòrd nan singilteach a-rithist. Ach an turas seo tha fireannach ann a tha den aon bharail mu bhainnsean, agus moladh dàna aige. Carson nach pòs iadsan? Gheibh iad airgead agus prèasantan mìorbhaileach, agus an uair sin dh’fhaodadh iad dealachadh bho chèile. Dè an cron? Cha deigheadh càil ceàrr.
Relegated to the singletons’ table at yet another wedding, Anna is fed up with forking out for her friends’ extravagant presents. Newlyweds won’t settle for a toaster and a set of towels; they want balloon trips across the Serengeti. If only there was a way for her to enjoy all the treats she’s been lavishing on her friends. And then she meets Donald – equally cynical about weddings and totally up for a charade that will deceive everyone they know.

From Ness in the Isle of Lewis, Maureen now lives in Glasgow and is a director at BBC Scotland, working mainly on the European current affairs programme Eòrpa. A winner of the Scottish Book Trust/Gaelic Books Council New Writers Award, Maureen has written a travelogue which was shortlisted for the Donald Meek Award in 2015.

Don Paterson was born in Dundee in 1963, and now lives in Edinburgh. He is Professor of Poetry at the University of St Andrews, and poetry editor
at Picador Macmillan. In 2009 he was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. His 40 Sonnets won the 2016 Costa Prize for Poetry, and he has received the Whitbread Poetry Prize, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and all three Forward Prizes.
He is the only twice-times T. S. Eliot Prize winner.

For years he has worked as a jazz musician and composer. His readings will be accompanied by Graeme Stephen on guitar.

Graeme Stephen was born in Aberdeen and has been playing guitar since he was nine. Today he leads and contributes to manifold musical projects in Scotland and overseas, playing a wide array of styles, from free improvised jazz to Scottish folk. Stephen’s composing and improvisational skills make him one of Scotland’s most exciting and prodigious musical talents.
Graeme’s instrument seems more than mere guitar as he employs loop pedals and effects to produce a fully integrated musical language. As a composer he writes music that reflects his diverse musical interests, and has written a significant body of extraordinary film scores.

We are the most photographed generation in history. Despite this, when we see a photographic portrait, we want to believe that some inherent truth about the person is revealed – but is it? In this talk Lauren will challenge the illusion of truth in portraiture and consider how the concept of identity and reality has been used and misused throughout history, even to the point of endangering the subject.

Shaun MacDonald is an artist from Nairn; his work is shown nationally and internationally, and he has work in the collections of both Robert Gordon University and the prestigious Walter Scott Group, and in many private collections.
A winner of the Anne Redpath award for painting and the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Art’s Exhibition Award, Shaun lectures part-time in Fine Art at Moray School of Art, UHI. Shaun also exhibits in Glasgow with the Roger Billcliffe Gallery and in Edinburgh with the Open Eye gallery.
Realism and the digital interface are the mainstays of his practice with paintings often being autobiographical or relating to personalised narratives, historical and contextual references and popular culture tropes.

Shaun designed the festival’s 2019 programme cover - the original artwork is on display at Nairn’s Court House. In this illustrated talk, he will discuss his work and his practise as an artist.

Scotland is a nation of dramatic weather and breathtaking landscapes.
Over the centuries, the people who have lived, explored and thrived in this country have developed a rich language to describe their surroundings:
a uniquely Scottish vocabulary shaped by the very environment itself. The artist Amanda Thomson has mined old 19th century Scots language
dictionaries, bringing together the deeply expressive language which has been used to describe land, wood, weather, birds, water and walking. What emerges is a vivid evocation of the nature and the people of Scotland, past and present.

Scotland’s history has been told many times, but never exclusively by its women.
Scotland: Her Story: The Nation’s History by the Women Who Lived It takes a unique perspective on dramatic national events as well as ordinary life, as experienced by women down the centuries.
From the saintly but severe medieval Queen Margaret to today’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon, it encompasses women from all stations of class and fame and notoriety, offering a tantalising view of what happened to them, and how they felt.
In this ground-breaking book, author and journalist Rosemary Goring brings to life the half of history that has for too long been hidden or ignored.

Sara Sheridan is an historical writer, fascinated by the stories of women.
This year she has created an alternative travel guide to Scotland in which famous landmarks, monuments and attractions are renamed after notable women. Where are the Women? A Guide to an imagined Scotland features over a thousand true stories, to reveal a new picture of Scotland’s history and heritage. Our grandmothers and their preceding generations were amazing – come and hear some of their stories and find out how Sara came to take on this re-mapping landmark project.
Lately, Sara has also written a picture book with her daughter, Monsters Unite – a Nessie story with a difference, as well as previous cosy crime noir 1950s mysteries and novels based on the real-life stories of Victorian adventurers.

Des Dillon is an award-winning poet, writer, dramatist, and scriptwriter whose work has been published and performed across Europe and in America. His writing is critically acclaimed, popular and sometimes controversial, often addressing the elitism that creates under-classes. He wrote Singing I’m No a Billy He’s a Tim, considered Scottish Theatre’s most successful contemporary play. He won The Lion and Unicorn prize for the best of Irish and British literature in the Russian language. A product of the Coatbridge Irish, he is a natural storyteller and will be reading from his work, including the blackcomedy novel Cunt: a true story.

Grant of Nairn is the key figure in an analysis of the most significant exploratory expedition of the nineteenth century, to discover the source of the Nile, a problem baffling the educated world for 2,000 years. The text of Grant’s 1864 book is fully annotated and supplemented by all his pictures and extensive extracts from his manuscript journal and correspondence.
A new approach to the Nile source problem is also a feature Roy Bridges taught history in Uganda a hundred years after Grant was there. Now Emeritus Professor of History, University of Aberdeen, FRGS, FRHistS, former President, Hakluyt Society.

Supported by the Nairn Literary Institute

An evening of songs, tunes and anecdotes from Nairnbased songwriter Dave Godden and friends. The Life Stories
project is raising funds for MS Society Scotland, and half of the proceeds from this concert will go to them, funding multiple sclerosis research and providing direct support to MS sufferers. At the sold-out Life Stories launch in 2018, the audience laughed, cried, sang and danced. Expect more of the same, but with new material and surprise guests too.

Known for centuries as The Great Gate, a small Bulgarian village facing the Turkish border finds itself in the middle of a European crisis as asylum seekers sneak across the border by night, causing fear and unrest. Postman Ivan has a new political vision to offer the village’s elderly electorate of 38. He decides to run for mayor to bring the dying village to life by welcoming refugees. His opponents want either to close their eyes or close down the border and reintroduce communism. Busy on the campaign trail while delivering the mail, Ivan soon learns that while good intentions are not enough, even the smallest deeds matter.
Joint Ticket
Kapka Kassabova and The Good Postman – £10

Kapka Kassabova is a multi-genre writer of journeys. Her latest book of non-fiction Border (2017) won the British Academy Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding, Saltire Book of the Year, Stanford-Dolman Travel Book of the Year, and the Highland Book Prize. Here, the author explores the once-deadly triple borderland of Bulgaria, Turkey, and Greece where the easternmost section of the Iron Curtain ran. Europe and Asia meet in beautiful mountain villages that hold terrible secrets. Kapka meets people of humble means who have other kinds of wealth. This recently demilitarised borderland is also one of Europe’s last great wildernesses, endangered by deforestation and depopulation.

Joint Ticket
Kapka Kassabova and The Good Postman – £10

Scottish Travellers are as diverse as any other part of society and, as a tiny cog in a big wheel, my books feature how different we all are!
Each spring we left our wintering ground and travelled the country, working wherever the opportunity arose.
Berry-picking, stoning fields, gathering brock wool (hip locks) and tattie-howking.
I lived from 5-15yrs old in a single-decker bus. I promised my father that one day I would write a book on the old ways, but not until I reached 50yrs did I put pen to paper.
Six books later I have kept my promise. We were as free as birds!

For over 40 years Cameron McNeish has made a living from climbing mountains and exploring wild places, writing about his experiences or making television programmes about them.
Last year he published his autobiography, There’s Always the Hills, the story of a wee boy from Govan in Glasgow who went on to be Scotland’s best known outdoor commentator.
In this illustrated talk Cameron looks back over his career and recalls some of the events that led to his unusual career and how Scotland’s mountains and wild places became a bedrock of his life.

In the 150th year of his family’s association with The Nairnshire Telegraph, editor and proprietor Iain Bain looks at the story of Nairn’s weekly newspaper, takes in some family history and his own experiences in journalism and publishing.
A Nairn native, Iain Bain found himself involved with the Nairnshire from an early age. But he was actively discouraged from seeing the family business as a career. He narrowly escaped becoming a geography teacher and nearly became an academic. However he could not get away from the ink and became a journalist. In the 1980s he edited The Geographical Magazine before returning to Nairn.

Karen introduces her first novel in four years, a sweeping, historical story about identity and love, set in Italy’s most Scottish town.
September, 1943. In the hilltop town of Barga, everyone holds their breath. Even the bells fall silent. Everything Vittoria Guidi knows is at risk. German troops occupy the mountains around her home, as US Buffaloes prepare to invade – segregated black soldiers fighting for a country that refuses them the vote. Trapped, does Vittoria side with her Scots-Italian father or Fascist mother as her country – and future – is torn in two?

There was a Scottish community numbering several thousand in the Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania (1569-1795). However, ever since the final partitioning of this vast state, reference to these migrants has been inconsistent. As explored in my 2012 book on this theme and in two of my publications since, it is only with the growth of English as a universal language of academia and with recent waves of migration from Poland to the British Isles, that Scotland has begun to contribute towards highlighting the cultural memory – in the form of place-names, stereotypes, references in literature and film – that has always been present in Poland with respect to this former ethnic group.

Festival favourites the Musick Fyne Soloists and Coronach return to the United Reformed Church with a fascinating programme of Renaissance music for voices and instruments, exploring the roots of Scotland’s music in a selection of intriguing 16th and 17th-century manuscripts.

Avocet are a Glasgow based trio comprising Sam Grassie (guitar, violin), Iona Zajac (vocals, clarsach) and Herbie Loening (double bass, guitar). Taking their name from Bert Jansch’s eponymous 1979 album, their music explores the boundaries between trad folk and world blues. Following their win at the DK Celtic Connections Festival they signed to Mink Records in 2017, travelling to the Abbey Road Institute Amsterdam to record their debut EP Borrowed Seed. They have been busy since with festival performances and gigs across the country, including support for Ralph McTell. With backing from the Bert Jansch Foundation they have released a new single, Cheating Monday, from their forthcoming album.

Some of my closest friends were in Pentangle and a comparison is not out of place... a very special group.
Ralph McTell.

Mandy Haggith lives in Assynt where she combines writing with teaching, sailing and environmental activism. She won the Robin Jenkins Literary Award in 2009 and has been poet in residence at the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens and Inverewe Gardens. Her books include four poetry collections (letting light in, Castings, A-B-Tree, Why the Sky is Far Away), a poetry anthology (Into the Forest), a non-fiction book (Paper Trails) and four novels: The Last Bear, Bear Witness and the first two volumes of a novel trilogy set in the Iron Age, The Walrus Mutterer and The Amber Seeker.

People have asked Jane Nadel-Klein, Professor of Anthropology, Trinity College, Hartford, CT, USA, why an American with no Scottish roots was so interested in Scottish fisher-folk. Her book, Fishing for Heritage: Modernity and Loss along the Scottish Coast (2003, Berg Press) responds that ‘the fisher-folk are a powerful example of hard work, courage and commitment to community.’ The people of Ferryden, Anstruther, Buckie and Nairn, she says, ‘taught me what it means to have a way of life torn apart by economic inequalities and political indifference… about the power of heritage to sustain people in times of loss and change.’

Together with his colleague Nicholas Evans, Dr Gordon Noble explores the new understanding which puts our Moray Firth homeland at the heart of Pictland, as described in their book The King in the North.
Reader in Archaeology at Aberdeen University, Dr Noble is also the author of Woodland in the Neolithic of Northern Europe and has, among other projects, directed a major archaeological dig at Rhynie and encouraged public engagement through a range of exhibitions.
Here is your opportunity to learn more of this shadowy period from our past with an expert in the period.

Both Jane Milne from Nairn and Martin Secret from Tain are self-taught in the medium of stained glass. However, over the years they have carried out an extensive range of work with both tape and lead work.

The proposed workshop will involve a simple initial project, and you’ll be able to take home your finished work. All materials will be supplied, and grinders and solders are available at the Hall.

advance booking essential

Join us in the new Beach Café, sponsored by Galbraith’s, for a four-course menu of local food prepared by well-known chef Pete Sealey of the Sun Dancer and Inverness College UHI professional Saurav Kumar, ably assisted by Nairn Academy pupils.

Pete has been cooking for 16 years and focuses on seasonal, foraged and local produce. Compère Farmer Jones (ex-MFR Agricultural correspondent, local entrepreneur and social enterprise leader) will host an evening of fabulous food, musical entertainment, and a raffle.

Enjoy a complimentary welcome drink on arrival, locally produced food lovingly prepared, and gain insight into the next generation of food producers and professionals. With the added privilege of hearing after-dinner speaker Lord-Lieutenant George Asher.

Wine will be available to purchase.
Dress code: smart.

Tues 3-5pm,
Wed 9-11am & 3-5pm,
Thurs 9-11am & 3-5pm,
Fri 9-11am & 3-5pm,
Sat 10am-5pm,
Sun 2-5pm

Portraits of people living or working in Nairn, done by local artists, together with written thoughts and memories of the town by people who have lived in Nairn at any stage in their lives, plus audio soundtrack.

marc lived in Nairn during the mid 1970s. He spent the next forty-odd years meeting and photographing interesting people; actors, musicians, artists, performers and writers, amongst many others.

He has been published worldwide, air-kissed by the people of many nations and attracted a number of epithets, the latest of which, Punk Gandalf, pleases him greatly.

He recently returned to Nairn where he now has an occasional office on The Brae.

Tuesday 10th September at 6pm.
Join us for a glass of wine and a look at the exhibitions before our opening speaker event.

Evija Laivina’s work explores social issues – the relationship between women, identity and social standards, standards of beauty, the experience of being a woman and what they are ready to do to meet society’s expectations.

This portrait photography project features women of Eastern European origin based in the Highlands, posing with flowers. Each woman who participated in the project chose a flower that matches her personality.

Each flower has its own mysterious meaning, for example roses symbolise love and passion, gladioli symbolise strength of character, hyacinths sincerity. The flower is the connecting element between each woman and her nature, opening her inner world to the viewer. Evija treats photography like historical portrait painting, creating a static, salon type photograph.

Tuesday 10th September at 6pm.
Join us for a glass of wine and a look at the exhibitions before our opening speaker event.

Moving Minds is an exhibition created from an anthology of work composed by Gypsy/Travellers across Scotland. In an open, honest and often humorous way, this exhibition shares their memories, poetry and photographs and reflects on the impact prejudice can have upon wellbeing.

“Moving Minds is the perfect antidote to My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding: full of memories, stories and images from several lifetimes on the road… The stories piece together a difficult but vibrant culture too few understand or respect. Moving Minds does what it says on the tin.”
Lesley Riddoch, Journalist and broadcaster

Author Jess Smith, herself from a Traveller family, will talk about her books – which focus on the experiences of Scottish Travellers – on Thursday, 12th September

Facilitated by MECOPP, Scotland’s leading Black and Minority Ethnic carers organisation.

Recent work by artists from Nairn’s WASPS Links Studios, including painting, prints, photography, mixed-media work and sculpture. Featured artists are:
Margaret Cowie, Janice Fleming, Gilyan Noble, Linda Smith, Morag Smith, Steve Smith, John Wilson, Mary Wilson.

Also on display will be Shaun MacDonald’s original artwork for the festival programme cover and other selected work by the artist.
Prints will be for sale.

More of the artists’ work can be seen at the studios, which are open the weekend of the festival.

WASPS Links Studios, Grant Street. Fishertown,
10am-4pm | Saturday, 14th September – Sununday, 15th September

Visit working artists’ studios and meet the artists.

Large and small-scale work by new and established artists working in textiles:
Susie Rose Alexander, Becs Boyd, June Hyndman, Jan Kilpatrick, and Alison King.

Sunday 15th – the festival banner created by participants in the banner-making workshop led by Clare Hunter, will also be on display today.
Also Clare Hunter’s talk on her acclaimed book Threads of Life 1pm - 2pm

Susie Rose Alexander Open Studio, Original Spinning Arts
32 Park St, Fishertown, Nairn IV21 4PN
Open 10-15 September, times vary – call 01667 454004 or 07493 137437

Innovative work in a variety of media for sale.

Sitting in the liminal space between philosophy, social anthropology, and wackiness is the on-going social commentary and critique that form the pillars of their practice. Using gesture, spoken word, and theatrics, Charis & I confronts oppression and elitist hierarchy and subverting social narratives and just being a bit of a fool.

Charis & I will be ‘In Conversation’ with IMAG curator Kirsten Body on Sunday 8th September at 2pm.

The sixth New Highland Contemporary exhibition features Fine Art students from Moray College UHI and from the Contemporary Art & Contextualised Practice course at Inverness College UHI, with a great range of work from sculpture to film, painting and textiles.

Curated by Kirsten Body.

Show us who you are, or who you might like to be!
We want a portrait of you, but if you always wanted to have curly hair, give yourself some! Different coloured eyes? Hair down to the ground or a big beard and moustache? Fine. Go for it!

It can be just your head, or all of you. You can be doing something you enjoy. It’s totally up to you. If you can, write This is Me – and your first name, beside
your picture. If your second language is English, write this in your first language too.

Categories: Nursery-P1, P2 -P4, P5 -P7

Entries to: Nairn Community & Arts Centre by Thursday 30th August 2019

Max size A3 including mount.

6pm – view exhibition with refreshments at the Museum
7pm – talk and panel discussion in the Chapel

After World War One there was a change in attitude, particularly towards people with disabilities, due to the high number of returning soldiers with physical and mental injuries.
Christopher Henry, Director of Surgeons’ Hall, Edinburgh.

WW1 Medical Treatments
Dr Jessica Meyer, Associate Professor Modern British History, University of Leeds.

The re-integration of soldiers with war-attributable disabilities to civilian life.
Plus a speaker from Scottish War Blinded.

(Fort George is a working Army Barracks, car number plates must be given when booking.)

Dr. Ros McHugh, Potato Pathology Manager at Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) will talk about the journey that led her from growing chrysanthemums with her grandfather, to providing scientific support for the Scottish Seed Potato Industry.
She will focus on the work SASA does to support potato production – an industry worth £5 billion to the UK economy, why Scotland has a worldwide reputation for high health seed potatoes, why most seed potatoes produced at the SASA come from sterile microplants and why they grow over 1,000 varieties of potatoes every year, She also will speak about her work with potato diseases, the monitoring programmes and research into peat alternatives; biocontrol to help the industry evolve in a world committed to reducing environmental impact. SASA deals with everything from pesticide residue testing to DNA analysis, to wildlife forensics, plant health and lots of things in between.

Presented by Nairn & District Gardening Club

An entertaining evening of prose, poetry and monologues from Nairn’s Creative Writing Group.

Enjoy stories, songs and rhymes with your toddler in this fun session. Suitable for pre-school children.

This event is weather permitting – please check our webpage and facebook for alternative venues if the weather is inclement.

Well-known faces, same places?
Join Nairn-based tourist guide Dan Sauder Tyler on a walking tour of Nairn, retracing the steps of Nairn’s promoter Dr John Grigor and well-remembered regular
visitor Charlie Chaplin, who found peace from the pressures of work and fame in our town.

No booking required.

In loving memory of Alan Barron, who took us on so many wonderful journeys around Nairn.

Hamish MacDonald is a playwright, poet and novelist.
He was the first Scots Scriever for the National Library of Scotland (2015-17) and is a regular performer on the live poetry circuit, being a Scottish Slam Poetry finalist on three occasions.
As Roving Poet at this year’s Nairn Book and Arts Festival he will once again be popping up in a range of venues – from barber’s shops to street corners – with a heady mix of humorous and satirical verse for the edification and amusement of the public at large.

Travel by vintage bus to the beautiful Darnaway Castle, to be taken on a tour of one of Scotland’s finest private art collections. Built by Archibald Douglas, Earl of Moray, in the 14th C, Darnaway was rebuilt in Neoclassical style in 1810; it houses a very early portrait of the ‘Bonnie Earl O’ Moray’ and the original banqueting hall, known as Randolph’s Hall. The tour will be given by the 21st Earl of Moray, who trained as an art historian and is an expert on all aspects of his family’s unique collection.

Refreshments will be given after the tour.

Meet at the Links car park, Nairn. Bus will depart promptly at 9.15am.

Leila Aboulela was born in Cairo and grew up in Khartoum. She is the author of five novels, three of which were longlisted for the Orange Prize: The Translator, Minaret and Lyrics Alley, and The Kindness of Enemies. Lyrics Alley won Novel of the Year at the Scottish Book Awards and was shortlisted for the
Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, while Aboulela’s collection of short fiction, Coloured Lights, won the Caine Prize. Her latest novel is Bird Summons, a tale of three women and their quest for freedom, published in February 2019 from Orion Books. She lives in Aberdeen.

Latest News

Our volunteer recruitment coffee morning is Tuesday 18th June from 10.30am to 12.00pm at Nairn Community & Arts Centre. 
Please come along to our 'drop-in' session and enjoy a coffee, cake and a bit of festival chat - we would love to see you. 

If you cannot make it, but would still like to volunteer during the festival week - please email Elle Tyler at info@nairnfestival.co.uk

Our volunteer recruitment coffee morning is Tuesday 18th June from 10.30am to 12.00pm at Nairn Community & Arts Centre. (Youth Cafe)
Please come along to our 'drop-in' session and enjoy a coffee, cake and a bit of festival chat - we would love to see you. 

If you cannot make it, but would still like to volunteer during the festival week - please email Elle Tyler at info@nairnfestival.co.uk