Featured Event

Take home an original work of art – £10 per ticket

Raffle tickets will be sold throughout the festival period at Nairn Community & Arts Centre. Everyone who buys a ticket will win an artwork, and profits will pay for Creativity in Care workshops for dementia sufferers and their carers.

Care for Dementia CD art anonymous display
Anonymous display of CD case sized pieces of artwork donated by local and invited artists. The artwork will be displayed in the Music Room at Nairn Community & Arts Centre during the festival week.


In celebration of our 15th anniversary we have teamed up with public arts producers Wildbird, to create Nairn Street Scene. For two nights only Nairn’s high street windows will be lit up with striking and colourful projections featuring local people – don’t miss it! Some High St shops will open late on Friday, so why not enjoy some evening browsing too.

Be in the picture!
The photography for the project will take place on Saturday 28th July at Nairn Community & Arts Centre from 10am-4pm and on Tuesday 14th August at Nairn Library, 10am-4pm.
Dress up, and/or bring props if you like, from musical instruments to pets.

Just come along!


The photography for the project will take place on Saturday 28th July at Nairn Community and Arts Centre from 10am-4pm and on Tuesday 14th August at Nairn Library from 10am-4pm.

Just come along! Dress up, and/ or bring props if you like, from musical instruments to pets.

Nairn Street Scene - Wildbird
Time: Evening
1st floor windows, Nairn High St.
Thursday 13th and Friday 14th September

In celebration of our 15th anniversary we have teamed up with public arts producers Wildbird, to create Nairn Street Scene. For two nights only Nairn’s high street windows will be lit up with striking and colourful projections featuring local people – don’t miss it! Some High St shops will open late on Friday, so why not enjoy some evening browsing too.


Join us in celebrating our 15th Anniversary in style – with entertainment from our Festival Choir, images from the full week’s events, canapés, ice-cream from James’s at the Putting Green and of course, a celebration cake from Ashers Bakery!

The choir will be lead by Jeni Herbert & Amy Gallagher from Mellow Yellow Creative Arts – for details of how to take part in the choir.

A fun way to finish off the festival week. Come and join us and let’s make it a night to remember.


**This event is now SOLD OUT,  but there is a waiting list at Nairn Community Centre for any tickets that are returned - please visit or call 01667 453476


Everyone is tempted by glamour, the big, the brash and the beautiful. But Chris likes to champion the underdog and push back at familiarity breeding contempt so for him humble everyday creatures are just as alluring. He likes to ‘make something out of other people’s nothing’ when it comes to photography, he loves the challenge of fi nding beauty in ugly places. And when he does travel to some of the world’s wildlife hotspots he wants to see them in a new way, to put some art into his photos. But at the core of all his work is conservation so expect tales from the frontline and the full-frontal truth about how we get it wrong and get it right.

Funny, inspiring, irreverent and packed with information – it’s not a lecture, it’s a romp through the wild mind of Chris Packham.


Inverness children’s writer Barbara Henderson, author of Fir for Luck and Punch, delivers a free half-hour session of nature storytelling before her book event, focusing on her new eco-thriller for children, Wilderness Wars. Pacey, tense and only released in August 2018, it explores the question: What if nature fights back?

The interactive session features readings, drama and shadow puppetry, including an opportunity to make a shadow puppet to take home.

Suitable for ages 7+

A National Trust for Scotland, Brodie Castle event


We are looking for teenagers who would like to fill a time slot to take part in our music and poetry event - please email Rosie Hart at rosiehart98@yahoo.co.uk


**Tickets for this event can be reserved by calling Nairn Community and Arts Centre on 01667 453476**


Undercover Nairn writer Sam Derbyshire is the author of two successful novels, What Goes on Tour and the sequel Text Me No Lies. Referred to behind her back as the ‘Jilly Cooper of Nairn’, Sam aims to give her readers humorous contemporary reads that are fast-paced and fun, with characters that they can easily identify with.


Fiona Hunter and Kathleen MacInnes – two of Scotland’s finest traditional singers, will revisit their exciting musical collaboration Crossing Points at the Festival this year. With songs echoing across landscapes
and centuries this will be an enchanting night of exchange and celebration between Gaelic and Scots, accompanied by multi-instrumentalists Mhairi Hall and Mike Vass.

“It was those two voices working in tandem… that served notice that they already have something special going on… a quality of vocal sound that made it exciting just to be in the same room.”
**** Rob Adams, The Herald

“inspired collaboration”
**** Jim Gilchrist, The Scotsman

Joint event with BLAS Festival


Sealladh air Cèilidh còmhla ri Catrìona Lexy Chaimbeul

Air chuairt air feadh Alba sa Mhàirt 2018, thug Cèilidh iomradh air sgeulachdan traidiseanta, ceòl agus òrain ach ann an dreach tèatar cho-aimsireil, agus fhuair e lèirmheasan anabarrach math. Thigibh còmhla ri cosgrìobhaiche an dealbh-chluiche ionmholta seo, Catriona Lexy Chaimbeul, airson sealladh sònraichte fhaighinn air mar a chaidh an dealbh-chluich a leasachadh, a chur air dòigh agus mar a ghabh an luchd-èisteachd ris.

Cèilidh, a contemporary theatrical take on traditional storytelling, music and song, toured Scotland in March 2018 and received rave reviews. Join the co-writer of the play, Catriona Lexy Campbell, as she discusses
the development, performance and reception of one of the most engaging Gaelic theatre productions in recent years.

Sponsored by the Gaelic Books Council.


Ruairidh MacIlleathain: Còig Duilleagan na Seamraig

Bidh Ruairidh MacIlleathain, ùghdar An Creanaiche, ann an còmhradh mu dheidhinn nobhail ùr, Còig Duilleagan na Seamraig.
’S e nobhail phoilitigeach a th’ ann, de ghnè nach eil cumanta ann litreachas na Gàidhlig. Tha an stòiridh, a tha a’ gluasad eadar a’ Ghàidhealtachd, Èirinn, Lunnainn agus Paris, a’ gabhail a-steach thachartasan mòra o chionn ceud bliadhna.

Join Ruairidh MacLean, author of An Creanaiche, in conversation about his new novel, Còig Duilleagan na Seamraig (The Five Leaves of the Shamrock).
A political novel of a type which is rare in Scottish Gaelic, the narrative moves between the Highlands, Ireland, London and Paris, recalling major political and social upheavals in the British Isles a century ago.

Sponsored by the Gaelic Books Council.


We are looking for CD case sized pieces of work, and will provide a 'kit' with card in a clear plastic case - the work will remain in the case for display.  If you need it to be sent by post, please provide us with your address details. 

Contact Gilyan Noble, email: gilyan@bluedeer.co.uk (07787 506310)
or Ellen Maxwell, email:  boathstables@hotmail.co.uk for a kit. 

Your finished art work should be dropped at Nairn Community & Arts Centre between 13th and 17th August (or if you need to post it, returned by 17th August in the SAE provided).  It will be displayed anonymously at the Nairn Community & Arts Centre from 10th - 16th September.  

Raffle tickets will be sold throughout the festival period for £10 each.  Everyone who buys a ticket will win an artwork.  Profits will pay for Creativity in Care workshops for those living with dementia and their carers/support workers.  


Join Kirsten Matthews as she takes you on a whisky journey across the Highlands and Islands. Experience the peppery smoke of Talisker, the slowburning warmth of Clynelish, the pineapple freshness of Teaninich and the sweet, spicy richness of Glen Ord.
Discover new depths of flavour through the pairing of each whisky with locally-produced, hand-crafted chocolates. After the tasting move through to the bar, where live music from 9:30pm will round off the evening in style.

Tickets are available to purchase online and also at Nairn Community & Arts Centre on 01667 453476.  Over 18s only. 


Latest News

Our volunteer recruitment hour is on tomorrow (Tuesday 26th June) from 10am to 11am 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 enquiries@nairnfestival.co.uk

TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham is set to headline the 15th Nairn Book and Arts Festival (11th – 16th September), organisers announced today.

Packham, a passionate and often outspoken conservationist who is best known for his TV work on popular series such as Springwatch  and The Really Wild Show  will appear on the last day of the Festival, part of an ambitious line-up including the National Theatre of Scotland, Canadian country singer Tia McGraff, popular ensemble The Blueswater, former Edinburgh Poet Laureate Ron Butlin, award-winning poet Em Strang, authors Andrew Greig, Mick Herron and Gavin Francis, and one of Scotland’s most recognised faces - STV’s Senior News Reporter Mike Edwards.

Nairn’s High St will be a focal point, with arts company Wildbird lighting up first floor windows with images of local residents in Nairn Street Scene, and shops decorating their windows in festival colours.

The theme of health and creativity runs throughout the festival’s programme: historian, broadcaster and poet Dr Richard Barnett explores the illustration of disease, author Kate Ashton tells us the secret to her success as a former writer of romantic ‘doctor and nurse’ Mills and Boon tales, and there is an exploration of Eight Centuries of Healthcare in the Highlands, from the medieval Beaton kindred, to modern-day cutting edge technology being used in contemporary medical practice.  Renaissance melancholy is the theme of Overcom with Heviness, presented by Musick Fyne Soloists with Coronach, and this year’s Nairn Open Exhibition theme, Darkness and Light, was inspired by David Thomson’s autobiographical tale, in which the author spends time recuperating in Nairn.

The National Theatre of Scotland returns to the festival, bringing the acclaimed play   Eve, which premiered last year at Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe, telling the story of a child raised as a boy, unhappily, who went on to become one of the Saltire Society’s 10 Outstanding Women in Scotland in 2017. 

The music line-up sees the return of the very popular The Blueswater, this time in female guise with Queens of the Blues; Tia McGraff and partner Tommy Parham, with folk singer Corinna Keeling supporting; and Kathleen McInnes, Fiona Hunter, Mhairi Hall and Mike Vass  present Crossing Points - a musical conversation between Scots and Gaelic - for the Festival’s now legendary night of traditional music,  in conjunction with BLAS Festival.

This year the Festival presents the topical ‘Sipping with Spies’ - an afternoon of insight into the Secret Intelligence Service and lives lived in the shadows, with award -winning writers Mick Herron and Charles Cumming.

A strong poetry line-up will see Em Strang reading from Bird Woman, shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Best First Collection Prize – she will be joined by former Edinburgh Poet Laureate Ron Butlin and Whitbread Award-winning poet Diana Hendry. Ron is the Festival‘s roving poet, and will pop up at various venues during the week.

Mike Edwards discusses his book ‘The Road Home’, describing his journey to explore the many towns of Inverness across the United States, while the ever popular Andrew Greig reads from his prose and poetry work, with the occasional serenade on the banjo thrown in.  Gaelic language events - Ruairidh Maclean discussing his political novel The Five Leaves of the Shamrock and Catriona Lexy Campbell on the creation of rave-reviewed theatre performance, Cѐilidh - will be simultaneously translated for non-Gaelic speakers.

Mary Helen Dewar, the new Chair of the Nairn Book and Arts Festival, commented:  “This is the festival’s 15th year and we’re celebrating in style with some stellar events. In addition to the wonderful Chris Packham, and our collaboration with arts company Wildbird, we present some of the country’s best authors and poets, alongside some excellent local writers.  Performance in many guises features strongly; I’m delighted that the National Theatre are returning to the Festival, joining superb musicians, and award winning poets, in taking the stage.  We hope that our Open Exhibition will attract artists from across the Highlands. Kids’ Day is a packed day of free events for young people, and we’re bringing some excellent authors into the area’s schools. We’ve put together an ambitious and imaginative programme this year, made possible by essential funding from Creative Scotland and the Highland Council, together with many local sponsors - we’re very grateful for that support.”

Author Sam Derbyshire launches her new book Trust Me, I’m a Personal Trainer at the festival, and local writing group The Pen & I will read Festival Fables - stories for children - to be streamed nightly during the Festival on social media. The Festival’s Kids’ Day is on Saturday 15th September – with free activities for young  people including a mystery to solve at the Museum, storytelling and storywriting, apple pressing and fruit tasting with Green Hive,  and drama adventures and mini dance sessions.

The Festival choir, open to all adults to join and led this year by Mellow Yellow Creative Arts, will present songs from well known musicals, from The Greatest Showman to Sunshine on Leith, at the festival’s Finale on Sunday night.

Festival activities start from 1st September, when students from the Moray College UHI Fine Art course take part in the fifth New Highland Contemporary exhibition at Seamen’s Hall, joined by established artist Caroline Inkle who shows a snapshot of her work in KEEK space. Nairn artist John Wilson will show his work in Owls and Acrobats, a display at the United Reformed Church, while Awakenings, a series of photographic works by the Festival’s programme cover design artist, Hannah Laycock, will be displayed at Nairn Community and Arts Centre, and BAFTA shortlisted animator Claire Lamond returns with a curated series of animated films. Jewellery designer Melanie Muir will give an illustrated talk about the use of modern materials in Scottish jewellery design.

Other festival highlights:

Ian M Evans and Luanne Mayer – The Journey to Fiction, a talk on the theme of place in fiction, and So, You have a Story to Tell? creative writing workshop for beginners

Local writer and visual artist Andrea Turner and composer/musician Tom Richardson present Song of the River, a long form spoken word/theatre piece about the River Findhorn,  while a reading of A Spirited Case by Nairn U3A highlights questionable goings-on in Nairn’s King St during WW1. 

Photographer Hannah Laycock will discuss how the experience of living with multiple sclerosis is portrayed in her self-portraits. 

In Wellness and You, local practitioners discuss alternative therapies such as hypnotherapy and mindfulness. Featuring Morven Sermon, Margot Henderson, Maureen Wilson and Elke Ambrose. Jane Duncan Rogers discusses end of life planning in Before I Go.

Tim Honnor, a festival favourite, returns to discuss the infamous Captain Bligh.

Artist workshops with Jonathan Shearer (painting), Claire Lamond (stop motion animation), Melanie Muir (jewellery) and Sula Grigg (ceramics)

Nairn Museum will show work by local artists

There will be a Festival Club every night with live music at the Bandstand Bar

Buster Keaton silent movie with Andy May live on keyboard

Teen music and poetry open mic event

Tia McGraff will read from her children’s book Jake the Road Dawg

Roving portrait artist William Mather will be carrying out 3 minute sketch portraits in various venues throughout the Festival week.

Roving poet Ron Butlin will pop up at various Nairn venues on Thursday and Friday, and at Kids’ Day on Saturday.

Pre-Festival events: A Chocolate and Whisky Tasting fundraising event on 22 June at the Braeval Hotel and Steel Magnolias by Nairn Drama in August..