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.

JESS SMITH who is a brilliant raconteur, was raised as a Scottish Traveller. Her home a blue Bedford bus shared with parents and seven sisters was her base of many summers, and the platform for her colourful writing. She now lives in Glen Lednock with husband Dave, a keen photographer. Her life is dedicated to unearthing the little known history of the Tinker people for future generations. She began writing in 2000, and has a biographical trilogy: Jessie’s Journey, Tales from the Tent and Tears for a Tinker, a novel, and a storybook. Her latest book, Way of the Wanderers, captures their turbulent history and reveals centuries of violence towards Travellers.

Dubbed the Queen of Crime, Val McDermid has sold over 15 million books and her work is translated into over 30 languages. She is perhaps best-known for her Wire in the Blood series, featuring clinical psychologist Dr Tony Hill and DCI Carol Jordan, adapted for television starring Robson Green. She has written three other series and has also published a lengthy list of novels, plays and short story collections and a children’s picture book; her work has won numerous international awards. She makes regular appearances on TV and radio, has been Celebrity Mastermind champion, captained the winning University Challenge alumnae team, and judged various literary awards. This year she is a judge for the Man Booker Prize. In 2017 she was elected a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Recently she shot to further fame teaming-up with fellow crime writers, Stuart Neville, Mark Billingham, Doug Johnstone Luca Veste and Chris Brookmyre to form the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a full-on rawk experience, murdering songs for fun in front of anyone who will listen. A Write Highland Hoolie is in for a treat!

We are thrilled that multi-award winning children's author, screenwriter and novelist, Barry Hutchison will be holding a special event for Mallaig High School pupils during our exciting Write Highland Hoolie in November. He also once came second in an archery competition, but as only two people entered, he doesn't tend to boast about it. As well as writing over 80 books for children and teenagers, Barry regularly contributes to comics like The Beano and DC Super Hero Girls, and has written for both the comic-book and TV versions of the US animated series, Supermansion, starring Bryan Cranston and Chris Pine. When not writing, Barry enjoys talking about writing, thinking about writing, and compulsively eating biscuits until he feels sick.

Much-loved broadcaster and journalist Sally Magnusson will be joining us in November. She has written 10 books, most famously, her Sunday Times bestseller, WHERE MEMORIES GO (2014) about her mother's dementia. Half- Icelandic, half-Scottish, Sally has inherited a rich storytelling tradition. THE SEALWOMAN’S GIFT is her first novel and she will be telling us about the inspiration for this moving story based on fact.

Well-known Scottish literary critic and author Stuart Kelly latest book, the Minister and the Murderer, A Book of Aftermaths, is according to Richard Holloway - 'A colossal achievement one of the most moving and profound books I have read in a long time'. Stuart's work includes The Book of Lost Books, and Scott-Land: The Man who Invented a Nation, which was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. Former literary editor of Scotland on Sunday, Stuart also writes for the Guardian, Spectator and The Times, is a regular broadcaster for the BBC and chairs a great many literary talks throughout Scotland. In 2014 he was a judge for the Man Booker Prize. He lives in the Borders and is a regular churchgoer. He recently completed a course in leading church worship and is pondering where his path of faith next leads.

Paul Murton is renowned and celebrated for his fine documentary film making. His work includes the extremely popular television series - Grand Tours of Scotland and Grand Tours of the Scottish Islands. He grew up in rural Argyll and has been an inveterate traveller since his teenage years. The Hebrides, published in 2017 by Birlinn, is his first book. Appropriately given his love of the area, he will be joining us in November in Mallaig to tell us more of his fascinating life and travels.

Angus MacDonald is a Lochaber entrepreneur who was brought up in Glencoe. He left school early to join the Queens Own Highlanders, before starting his first business in data publishing at the age of 26. He currently has companies in Renewable Energy, Recycling and Online Education.
Angus’s passion is the economy of the West Highlands and endeavouring to find ways to make it thrive. He started the Moidart Trust, a charitable venture to help companies in their early stages, and also founded and ran the Caledonian Challenge raising £13m for charity. He was joint founder of The Highland Book shop, and is Chairman of The Highland Soap Company. He was awarded an OBE for his charitable work.
His second novel, ‘We fought for Ardnish is a sequel to the popular ‘Ardnish was home’, and is hot off the press – and given Angus’ persuasive skills it is likely you will shortly find it the length and breadth of Scotland in every available retail outlet.

Mairi Hedderwick is a graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, and was a teacher before she began illustrating children’s books. Her most popular character, Katie Morag, was created in 1984. Katie Morag’s home on the fictional Hebridean island of Struay is not a million sea miles away from her author’s life long association with the Isle of Coll. In 2013 Katie Morag joined Cbeebies with the successful TV series produced by Move On Up.

Mairi has also written and illustrated many other books for children and adults, all with the backdrop of the Highlands and Islands. She was awarded an Honorary Degree from Stirling University in 2003 in recognition of her outstanding contribution to writing and illustration in Scotland, especially for children.  Recently she has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the RIAS.

Her illustrated adult books include An Eye on the Hebrides, Highland Journey, Sea Change,  & Shetland Rambles. The Last Laird of Coll is a memoir of Kenneth Stewart.

Bernard MacLaverty was born in Belfast but now lives in Glasgow. He has published five collections of short stories, most of which are gathered into his Collected Stories (Vintage) and five novels – Lamb, Cal, Grace Notes (short listed for the Booker Prize) The Anatomy School and Midwinter Break. He has written versions of his fiction for other media - radio plays, television plays, screenplays and libretti. He wrote and directed a short film ‘Bye-Child’ which won a BAFTA Scotland Award for Best First Director and a BAFTA nomination for Best Short Film. He is a member of Aosdana in Ireland. 

Andrew Greig is a widely-enjoyed writer of poetry, non-fiction memoirs, and novels including, Electric Brae, Found At Sea, At the Loch of the Green Corrie  and You Know What You Could Be: tuning in to the 1960s (with Mike heron), and Fair Helen, being his latest in each form. He enjoys reading/performing from his work, and tends to play banjo and guitar. A full-time writer, he is married to novelist Lesley Glaister; they live and work in Edinburgh and Orkney.

Colin Speedie has the sea in his blood. Born in Aberdeen within sight of the North Sea, he began his nautical apprenticeship as a child in Devon, sailing small boats around the local coastline.

As time went by, a love of exploration led him to extend his horizons beyond the English Channel, altering course northwards through the Irish Sea to the wild waters of the Western Islesof Scotland. A professional yacht skipper for much of his life,he took a circuitous route to marine conservation, skippering scientific research vessels on projects studying whales, dolphins, sharks, seabirds and turtles. He is best known for his pioneering work spearheading one of Britain’s longest running boat-based citizen science studies on the whereabouts of the Basking Shark through Britain’s western seaboard. His findings have enabled government agencies, university teams and fellow sea-users to better understand this enigmatic creature.

With sailing, wilderness, history, conservation and writing as hislife’s callings, Colin’s life has become entwined with the fate of the Basking Shark. Colin and his wife Louise divide their time between their home in Falmouth, Cornwall, and sailing the world aboard their yacht Pèlerin – French for ‘Basking Shark’!

Fiona Mackenzie was born in Aberdeen and has lived in the Highlands for most of her life. She is a graduate in Music and Scottish History from Aberdeen University, has a degree in Librarianship and recently  graduated with a Masters degree ( Distinction) in Songwriting & Performance from the University of the West of Scotland. Always a singer, she began her career as a professional Gaelic singer in the mid 90’s and won the Royal National Mod Gold medal for Gaelic Singing, in Stornoway in 2005. She is a recording artist on the Greentrax label and has produced four commercial albums. She took up post as the Archivist for the National Trust for Scotland in Canna House on the Isle of Canna in the Inner Hebrides,  in May 2015 and describes her post in curating and developing awareness of  the Campbell Collections of Song ,Folklore & Films “as her dream job”.

JIM CRUMLEY is a nature writer with more than 30 books to his name.

In the last few years he has written books about whales, wolves, the native forest of Scotland, eagles and the reintroduction of beavers. He has also begun a series of short monographs called “Encounters in the Wild” (the first four titles are Fox, Barn Owl, Hare and Swan). Hot off the press for Mallaig will be a new full-length work, The Nature of Autumn, a very personal exploration of the most flamboyant of the seasons all across Scotland from Harris, Skye and the West Highlands to Wigtown Bay to the Berwickshire coast, the Tay Estuary, the Cairngorms, and especially in what he calls his nature writer’s territory, among the mountains, lochs, forests and river valleys where Highlands and Lowlands collide and overlap. Jim is also a widely published poet, and a journalist with a weekly column in The Courier, and a monthly one in The Scots Magazine.

DEBI GLIORI, who lives in Edinburgh is well known for both her picture books and children’s novels, and has been shortlisted for all the major prizes, including the Kate Greenaway Award (twice) and the Scottish Arts Council Award. Debi was the Shetland Islands’ first Children’s Writer-in-Residence. She published her first book in 1990 and since then has published so many successful books that she has lost count. She has written and illustrated No Matter What, The Trouble With Dragons, Stormy Weather, The Scariest Thing of All, What's the Time, Mr Wolf?, Dragon Loves Penguin and, most recently, Alfie in the Bath and Alfie in the Garden for Bloomsbury. The Tobermory Cat is extremely popular, and her new Hebridean Alphabet came out this summer
JOHN LOVE was born in Inverness, and is a graduate in Zoology from Aberdeen University. He managed the Sea Eagle Reintroduction for the Nature Conservancy Council on the Isle of Rum from 1975-1985. Then, as a freelance author and illustrator, he published and illustrated several books on a wide range of natural history subjects. In 1992 he was appointed Area Officer for Scottish Natural Heritage covering the Uists, Barra and St Kilda until he retired in 2006. He still lives in South Uist and again works as a freelance author, also giving illustrated lectures about the Hebrides and about his travels to many parts of the world, islands and seabirds being particular passions.

DONALD S. MURRAY is from Ness in the Isle of Lewis. A former teacher now living in Shetland, he has published a number of books, winning the Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship, the Jessie Kesson Writing Fellowship and obtaining a Creative Scotland travel bursary for researching a non-fiction book about the herring industry – Herring Tales; How The Silver Darlings Shaped Human Taste And History Featuring Mallaig alongside ports in locations as far away as Iceland, the western edge of Norway and Baltic coast of Germany, this book has received wide-ranging and excellent reviews, including in the Spectator, Economist, Geographical, Scottish Review of Books and BBC Countryfile. It was chosen as one of the best Nature books of 2015 in the Guardian. His poetry has also been included among the Scottish Poetry Library’s Best Scottish Poems on three occasions in recent years. His previous books including ‘The Guga Hunters’, ‘Weaving Songs’,‘The Guga Stone’ and‘SY StorY’ – have also been generously praised.

 

The Gaelic drama production, Sequamur was his first full-length play and toured throughout much of Scotland. Produced by Proiseact Nan Ealan, it was also performed in Ireland, London and in Flanders Museum in Ypres, Belgium.

STUART MURRAY has an association with the Hebrides stretching back to 1974, when he went out to St Kilda to work on the breeding biology of puffins. In subsequent years he has returned many times, conducting aerial surveys of the gannet population, working with archaeologists, and even acting as the island warden in the 1990s. Subsequent work has taken him to most of the remotest islands and he has published academic papers on a variety of their marine birds, including the Manx Shearwater's of Rum and Leach's Petrel on North Rona. As a result of the Rona work he met Robert Atkinson in 1980 and enjoyed a friendship with him until his death in 1995. Robert left him the ms of 'A Stag from Rum' published in 2015 by the Islands Book Trust, which he will talk about at the festival.   

MICHAEL F. RUSSELL, is deputy editor of the West Highland Free Press. His debut novel ‘Lie of the Land’ documents an outsider’s journey towards uneasy redemption in a dystopian near-future Scotland. It was shortlisted for the Saltire Society’s First Book of the Year Award for 2015 and is out in paperback in June of this year. Michael Russell grew up on the Isle of Barra, and is a University of Glasgow graduate.

JESS SMITH who is a brilliant raconteur, was raised as a Scottish Traveller. Her home a blue Bedford bus shared with parents and seven sisters was her base of many summers, and the platform for her colourful writing. She now lives in Glen Lednock with husband Dave, a keen photographer. Her life is dedicated to unearthing the little known history of the Tinker people for future generations. She began writing in 2000, and has a biographical trilogy: Jessie’s Journey, Tales from the Tent and Tears for a Tinker, a novel, and a storybook. Her latest book, Way of the Wanderers, captures their turbulent history and reveals centuries of violence towards Travellers.