Alan Windram is the award winning author of the hugely popular Mac and Bob series of picture books. His latest highly interactive book for young children, One Button Benny, has just won this year’s Bookbug Picture Book Prize, and is a feast of sing-along songs, song writing and story telling. Benny has a big red button in his tummy with the words ‘Only Press in an Emergency’ on it – see what happens one day when Benny has to push his button.
Alan is also an accomplished singer songwriter and has toured extensively with some of Scotland’s top musical artists. He lives in Argyll and Bute with his wife and two cats, Sparkie and George.
Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow, the city that provides the backdrop for her Lorimer novels. She has published sixteen books, the first two winning the Constable Trophy and the Pitlochry Trophy respectively. Alex has also written for radio, national magazines and newspapers and has had success with publishing some of her poetry and short stories, several of which have won literary prizes.
Alex is a member of the Scottish Chapter of the Crime Writers’ Association and keenly supports both established writers and newcomers to the organisation. A former English teacher, folk singer with the Battlefield Band and DSS Officer in Glasgow’s Govan, she now writes full time from her country cottage in Renfrewshire where she lives with her husband and their two cats.
Her latest book, The Stalker, is published by Sphere and was listed in the UK’s top ten fiction hardbacks.
Gavin Francis qualified in medicine from Edinburgh in 1999, then spent ten years travelling, visiting all seven continents; from 2006 to 2008 he drove between Scotland and New Zealand by motorcycle.
He is the author of four books: True North, Travels in Arctic Europe (2008); Empire Antarctica: Ice, Silence & Emperor Penguins (2012) which was SMIT Scottish Book of the Year 2013 and shortlisted for the Costa, Ondaatje, Banff, & Saltire Prizes; Adventures in Human Being (2015), which won Saltire Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2015, was the Observer’s Science Book of the Year, and was a winner in the BMA Book Awards; and Shapeshifters: On Medicine & Human Change (2018), which was a book of the year in the Sunday Times and The Scotsman. His fifth book, Island Dreams, will be published in 2020. His books have been translated into 18 languages.
He lives in Edinburgh where he practices medicine.
Graeme Hawley is Head of General Collections at the National Library of Scotland where he has worked for over 17 years and is therefore responsible for over 14 million publications. In this rapid-fire slideshow of hundreds of those spines, he manages not only to tell the story of one of Europe's largest libraries, but also to shine a light on the astonishing world in which we live. Juxtaposing the hilarious with the tender, this thought-provoking show received 4 star reviews when performed for a week at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This is a celebration of the human condition as revealed through the extraordinary shelves of the National Library.
Graeme is also a published and performance poet.
John is the author of numerous books on nature and wildlife. His best-selling Song of the Rolling Earth was published in 2003, and its sequel Nature’s Child in 2004. Gods of the Morning (2015), won the inaugural Richard Jefferies Prize for nature writing. His latest book, The Dun Cow Rib: A Very Natural Childhood, was short-listed for The Wainwright Book Prize in 2018.
In a 40-year career John was the first Chairman of Scottish Natural Heritage for the Highlands & Islands, President of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Chairman of the government’s Environmental Training Organisation and is a Vice President of RSPB. In 2003 he was awarded an OBE for services to nature conservation. In 2016 he was awarded the Royal Scottish Geographical Society’s Geddes Medal for conservation and made an honorary Fellow.
He has lectured on wildlife and conservation on three continents; has led expeditions to wildernesses such as the Kalahari and Namib Deserts, the Atlas Mountains, the Amazon basin, the Galapagos and followed the polar bear migration across the pack ice of the Barents Sea. In the winter of 2008-9 he undertook a four-month 8,000-mile Land Rover expedition up Africa’s Great Rift Valley.
John lives at Aigas, near Beauly, where he is director of the internationally acclaimed Aigas Field Centre that he founded in 1970, and is currently running a Scottish Wildcat captive breeding programme.
Kate Leiper is a renowned children’s artist and illustrator based in Edinburgh. She was brought up on the north east coast of Scotland and studied printmaking at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen
Kate’s fabulous illustration work includes, The Book of the Howlat, written by James Robertson. Other illustration work includes An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Mythological Creatures, written by Theresa Breslin in 2015, following on from the success of An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales. For this project she was longlisted for the 2013 Kate Greenaway Award. Last year she illustrated, When A Wee Bird Sings, written by renowned singer/song writer, Karine Polwart, and this year she has illustrated another book by Theresa Breslin – An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Castle Legends.
Mick Kitson is a Fife-based writer and journalist turned teacher who was frustrated with the books that appeared on the curriculum and set out to write something he would want to teach. Sal is his debut novel and it won the 2018 Saltire First Book Award. Told in Sal’s distinctive 13-year old voice and filled with the beauty of rural Scotland, Sal is a disturbing, uplifting story of survival, of the kindness of strangers, and the irrepressible power of sisterly love; a love that can lead us to do extraordinary and unimaginable things.
Mick was born in South Wales and grew up in London. He studied English at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne before a brief spell as one half of 80s pop duo, The Senators. He went on to work as a newspaper reporter before switching career again at the age of 40 to become an English Teacher. He lives with his wife Jill and bad-tempered dog Lucy and has three grown up children: Molly, Susie and Jimmy. He spends more time than is good for a person fly-fishing for sea trout, reading, playing the banjo and growing strawberries.
Polly Clark is the prize-winning author of Larchfield, inspired by W H Auden’s life and work. Born in Canada, she was brought up in Cumbria, Lancashire and the Scottish Borders and writes on a houseboat in London. She has worked as a zookeeper at Edinburgh Zoo, where her fascination with Siberian tigers began. For her second novel Tiger, she undertook a research trip to the remote Russian taiga where, in the depths of the Siberian winter at temperatures of -35°C, she learned how to track wild tigers.
Set across two continents, Tiger is a sweeping story of survival and redeeming love that plunges the reader into one of the world's last wildernesses with blistering authenticity.
Polly is also the author of three poetry collections.
Before taking the helm of Scotland’s oldest and much-loved publication, The Scots Magazine, Robert Wight started his career in the newspaper industry as a news editor working on high-profile campaigns. He was also lead feature writer on The Sunday Post. He has won numerous awards for his journalistic work.
A mountaineer and climber, Robert is passionate about Scotland’s outdoors. Having completed his first round of the Munros two years ago, he is now busily engaged in conquering Corbetts, many of which are even more remote and challenging. His passion for wild places and wild weather is such that he freely admits that the more savage the climate, the more he revels in it. His first book, Explore the Munros, Your guide to 50 of Scotland’s most iconic mountains, is set to become a treasured part of any hill walker’s library.
Ron Butlin is an international prize-winning novelist and a former Edinburgh Poet Laureate/ Makar. At this year’s Write Highland Hoolie he will talk about the highly unusual way he became a writer. Having left school at 16, he hitched down to London where he became a pop-song lyricist, a footman and barnacle-scraper on the Thames among other exotic occupations… As well as reading excerpts from his work Ron will talk about the highs and lows of a writer’s life.
Ron has published nearly twenty books, including collections of poetry, novels and volumes of short stories. His fiction and poetry have been translated into over a dozen languages and frequently broadcast on BBC. His work has twice been awarded a ‘Best Foreign Novel’ prize. His novel Ghost Moon was nominated for the international IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2016. He was once the solution to a clue in a TLS crossword! He gives talks and readings worldwide. He also writes verse and adventure novels for children, and loves every minute of it.
He lives in Edinburgh with his wife, the writer Regi Claire, and their dog.
Ron is also the judge of the children’s writing competition at this year’s Hoolie.
Shaun Bythell runs Wigtown’s The Bookshop, one of the largest second-hand bookshops in Scotland set in its only officially designated ‘National Book Town’. When not working amongst The Bookshop’s mile of shelving, Shaun’s hobbies include eavesdropping on customers, uploading book-themed re-workings of Sugarhill Gang songs to YouTube and shooting Amazon Kindles in the wild. He is a stalwart member of the highly successful team that make Wigtown Book Festival one of the country’s finest literary events, and generously gives over his atmospheric sitting room above the bookshop, to visiting authors for the duration of their visit to the festival. Bookshop tours at festival time are fast becoming as famous at the shop’s owner. Shaun’s first book, the Diary of a Bookseller, has been translated into 20 languages, and his second, Confessions of a Bookseller, is eagerly anticipated.
Cookery writer and author Sue Lawrence lives in Edinburgh, having trained as a journalist after a degree in French from Dundee University.
She has written 19 cookery books including Book of Baking, The Sunday Times Cookbook, A Cook’s Tour of Scotland, Scottish Baking and The Scottish Soup Bible. Her 19th cookbook, A Taste of Scotland’s Islands, is published this year.
She specialises in traditional Scottish food and has written columns for various newspapers - The Sunday Times, Scotland on Sunday and various magazines including Sainsburys Magazine, and Country Living since winning BBC Masterchef in 1991.
Sue also writes fiction: her second novel The Night He Left was released in the UK in 2016 and was published in Australia and New Zealand as The Last Train in 2018. Her third novel Down to the Sea is published this year . Her fourth novel is already finished.
Winner of many literary awards, Theresa Breslin is the critically-acclaimed author of over 50 titles covering every age range. Her books have been adapted for television, stage and radio, and are translated worldwide. Her work encompasses most genres and formats: from picture books, the beautifully Illustrated Treasury series of Scottish Traditional Tales, to historical, Remembrance – a novel of Youth in WW1 - and modern stories, Divided City. She won the Carnegie Medal, the UK’s most prestigious prize in Children’s Literature, for Whispers in the Graveyard, her compelling story of a dyslexic boy. In March 2019 Theresa was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award by Scottish Book Trust. And she has recently been awarded an OBE for her services to literature.
Dark dragons, ghostly pipers and sly wizards feature in her latest book, An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Castle Legends. Theresa relates the legends that dwell within Scotland’s ancient castles; the secret passages beneath Edinburgh Castle, the mysterious monster of Glamis, and the faery flag of Dunvegan, Here you will find jousts with knights at Stirling Castle and swims with the selkie of Eilean Donan in a sumptuous collection brilliant retold and beautifully illustrated by Kate Leiper.
Donald Livingstone is a musician based on the Isle of Skye who performs throughout the Highlands and Islands as singer/songwriter/ cover artist . His musical style is fairly broad and ranges from traditional Scottish Folk to Blues, country and pop. Initially based in Glasgow, he came up to the Isle of Skye to run the Hotel in Broadford about fifteen years ago, and gradually started returning to music with local musicians, eventually forming the Doc Livingstone Band.
The band became a main feature around the Skye and Lochalsh West coast hotel circuit. As an alt/country blues band they released an album in 2006 and featured in the 2005/6 Isle of Skye Music festivals, amongst others.
After giving up hotel life, Donald became an established solo performer under the name Doc Livingstone, and is known up the West Coast and Islands as a singer/songwriter performer.