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McLellan Book Festival

From the team that previously brought you Arran's children's book festival, Wee Mac Arran, we are excited to announce something new for 2024 - the McLellan Book Festival.

The McLellan Book Festival will run concurrent to the Wee Mac children's book festival, on Saturday 31st August and Sunday 1st September, so there really will be something for book lovers of all ages.

Please note that entry to all events at Wee Mac Arran are FREE!


Our theme for 2024 is Scotland.


Entry to a single event - £12


McLellan Book Festival Weekend Pass - £40

This gives access to all of the events listed below. The pass offers a potential saving of £8 to hear and meet all these wonderful authors.


Tickets for all performances available online at Ticket Source or at the door on evening of performance.

McLellan Festival Season Ticket - £50

Access to all of the McLellan Book Festival events AND all the McLellan Arts Festival events except Scottish Ensemble,  National Theatre of Scotland and poetry workshop.

McLellan Book Festival Programme 2024

Sally Magnusson: Saturday 31st August, 4pm

Sally Magnusson is a Scottish author and broadcaster. After focussing on journalism and non-fiction, including the Sunday Times bestseller Where Memories Go, she moved into fiction with the publication in 2018 of her debut novel, The Sealwoman’s Gift, about the experience of a seventeenth century Icelandic woman abducted into slavery; it was shortlisted for 6 literary prizes. Her second novel, The Ninth Child, set during the building of the great Loch Katrine waterworks in the 1850s, was published in March 2020 to critical acclaim.


Her third novel, Music in the Dark, published by John Murray Press in  May 2023, explores the Highland Clearances and their aftermath through the experiences of the women who tried to resist eviction in the township of Greenyards in Strathcarron in 1854. The action takes place over one night in July 1884, in a tenement room-and-kitchen in the town of Rutherglen near Glasgow but roams back over generations,  as a displaced, working-class Highlandwoman bearing old injuries opens her mind to the man who came looking for lodgings.


Music in the Dark was described by The Scotsman as having “what Ford Madox Ford thought the mark of a great novel: the ability to make you think and feel at the same time; and you can’t or shouldn’t ask for more than that from a work of art.”.

Visit Sally Magnusson's website here.

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Alex Gray: Saturday 31st August, 7pm

Alex Gray is the Sunday Times bestselling author of the Detective William Lorimer series. Born and raised in Glasgow, she has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers' Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing and is the co-founder of the international Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival.


Alex will be discussing Out of Darkness, the latest in her Detective William Lorimer series. 


DSI William Lorimer and his wife Maggie are taking their first extended holiday for the first time in years, and they're looking for an adventure. What better place than Zimbabwe, with its bustling cities and beautiful scenery?


Back in Glasgow, PC Daniel Kohi, former inspector with the Zimbabwean police, finds himself uncomfortably close to a murder investigation. Why did the murdered man appear at Daniel's house just hours before he was killed? And how he is connected to the troubled family history of Netta Gordon, Daniel's dear friend and lodger?


But it's not just Netta's history that's about to resurface. For in Zimbabwe, rumours are circulating about Daniel Kohi, and the couple from Scotland who appear to know him. Rumours which could place the Lorimers in unimaginable peril.


Visit Alex Gray’s website here.

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Sara Sheridan: Sunday 1st September, 4pm

Sara Sheridan is fascinated by diverse and hidden history. She has written more than 20 books in a variety of genres including Scottish Book of the Year 2022, The Fair Botanists. Her remapping of Scotland according to women’s history in 2018 was chosen by the David Hume Institute as the First Minister’s most important title of that year.


Set in Glasgow in 1846 The Secrets of Blythswood Square is a romp through Scotland’s largest Victorian city. From virulent anti-Kirk campaigners to an inconvenient collection of erotic art, fledgling photographer, Ellory McHale and Glasgow heiress, Charlotte Buchan form a friendship that changes both their lives. This book is the follow-up to Scottish Book of the Year winner, The Fair Botanists.

Visit Sara Sheridan's website here.

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Alistair Moffat: Sunday 1st September, 7pm

Alistair Moffat was born and bred in the Scottish Borders. A former Director of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Director of Programmes at Scottish Television and founder of the Borders Book Festival, he is also the author of a number of highly acclaimed books. From 2011 he was Rector of the University of St Andrews. He has written more than thirty books on Scottish history.

In The Highlands and Islands of Scotland – due to be published June 2024, Alistair Moffat tells the extraordinary story of the Highlands in the most detailed book ever written about this remarkable part of Scotland.


The chronicle begins millions of years ago, with the dramatic geological events that formed the awe-inspiring yet beloved landscapes, followed by the arrival of hunter gatherers and the monumental achievements of prehistoric peoples in places like Skara Brae in Orkney. The story continues with the mysterious Picts; the arrival of the Romans as they expanded theboundaries of their huge empire; the coming of Christianity and the Gaelic language from Ireland; the Viking invasion and the establishment of the great Lordship of the Isles that lasted for three hundred years.


The Highlands are perhaps best known as the key battleground in Bonnie Prince Charlie’s doomed attempt to restore the Stuart monarchy and its dreadful aftermath, which saw the suppression of the clans and the whole of Highland culture.This situation was exacerbated by the terrible Clearances of the nineteenth century which saw tens of thousands evicted from their native lands and forced to emigrate. But, after centuries of decline, the Highlands are being renewed, the land is coming alive once more, and the story ends on an upbeat note as the Highlands look forward to a future full of possibilities.


While this is an epic history of a fascinating subject, Moffat also features the stories of individuals, the telling moments and the crucial details which enrich the human story and add context and colour to the saga of Scotland.

Visit Alistair Moffat's website here.

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Want to keep in the loop - follow the McLellan Book Festival facebook page here.


If you would like to be kept up to date with arts and creative events happening on Arran you can sign up to the free Arran Theatre and Arts Trust newsletter here.


And if you are looking for info on the Wee Mac Children's Book Festival go to the dedicated Wee Mac page here and/or follow the Wee Mac Arran facebook page here.

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