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ScotlandsFest 2018

What was it like to paint Muriel Spark’s portrait? What is the connection between computer code, myth and magic? How do we grow a better Scotland? Does politics matter?

All this and more at ScotlandsFest sessions with writers, artists and thinkers, where you are also invited to have your say. Enjoy fifteen varied afternoon sessions of stimulating conversation, readings and debate covering issues from identity and belonging to football and Scottish orientalism. Mounted by Luath Press as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, events will be held at the Quaker Meeting House.

You can buy day or week passes here, or buy tickets for individual events below.


1.45pm to 3pm

Catalonia and Caledonia: parallels and possibilities
Chris Bambery and George Kerevan

The recent surge for independence in Catalonia has thrown up similarities with our own nation. Chris Bambery and George Kerevan, authors of Catalonia Reborn, discuss the parallels and possibilities this presents for both countries.

3.30pm to 4.45pm

Keir Hardie and the politics of today
with Pauline Bryan and Gordon Munro

Pauline Bryan, editor of What Would Keir Hardie Say?, in conversation with Gordon Munro about topical political issues in the light of the legacy of Keir Hardie, founder of the Labour Party.

5.15pm to 6.30pm

Radical roads to tackling inequality
with Henry McLeish and Neil Findlay

What are the roads to an equal, fair society in Scotland? How do we arm ourselves as social justice warriors? Political discussion with Former First Minister Henry McLeish, author of Citizens United, and Neil Findlay, author of Socialism and Hope.


1.45pm to 3pm

Whisky in song and verse
with Robin Laing

Robin Laing, singer-songwriter and long-time Chair of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society Tasting Panel brings the history of Scotland’s national drink to life. His Whisky Muse Vols 1 & 2 celebrate the amber nectar in lyric and verse. Slainte!

3.30pm to 4.45pm

Scotia Nova
with James Mitchell, Katherine Trebeck and Andrew Wilson

James Mitchell, author of Hamilton 1967 discusses the future of Scotland with Katherine Trebeck and Andrew Wilson, Chair of the Sustainable Growth Commission - will Indyref2 become a reality? How does the Growth Commission play into the vision for a new Scotland? Our nation's future is in our hands - how will it be shaped?

5.15pm to 6.30pm

Verse and song in tribute to women of Scotland
Gerda Stevenson and Magi Gibson

Celebrate the diverse achievements and perspectives of Scottish women, past and present with two of the strongest voices on the Scottish poetry scene: conversation, song and readings from their recent collections – Gerda Stevenson’s Quines and Magi Gibson’s Washing Hugh MacDiarmid’s Socks.


1.45pm to 3pm

The ‘Troubles’: Belfast from two perspectives
with Brian Allaway and Peter Geoghegan

Brian Allaway, author of Belfast Firefighters, shares his first-hand experience as a firefighter in Ireland during the Troubles from 1969 to 1994, along with Irish investigative journalist Peter Geoghegan, author of The People’s Referendum.

3.30pm to 4.45pm

Capturing the image: the two faces of portrait
with Alexander Moffat and Greg Moodie

Alexander Moffat, whose 50-year career as painter of iconic Scots is celebrated in Bill Hare’s Facing the Nation, in conversation with Greg Moodie, cartoonist for The National, whose Cool Scots re-interprets portraiture through the lens of humour.

5.15pm to 6.30pm

The meaning of art
with Angus Reid and Richard Demarco

Influential artist Richard Demarco, whose Road to Meikle Seggie rejoices in the European roots of Scottish art, in conversation with Angus Reid, whose History of Art in 100 Limericks gives a unique twist to art history in limerick form.


1.45pm to 3pm

St Kilda: the silent islands speak
with Alex Boyd and Jessica Danz

Award-winning documentary and landscape photographer Alex Boyd, author of St Kilda: The Silent Islands and composer Jessica Danz, who is currently writing a new work inspired by St Kilda, discuss new perspectives on the islands. Featuring Alex's stunningly haunting photographs and music by Jessica.

3.30pm to 4.45pm

Edinburgh beyond the guide book
with Jenni Calder and Tim Bell

Jenni Calder, author of Existential Edinburgh: An Eccentric Odyssey, shares her personal experience of the city along with Tim Bell, author of Choose Life Choose Leith: Trainspotting on Location, who runs ‘Leith Walks’ walking tours.

5.15pm to 6.30pm

Communities, quirks and all: from Galloway to Skara Brae
with James McEnaney and Hugh McMillan

James McEnaney’s A Scottish Journey, made this spring in the footsteps of Edwin Muir, took him from the tachycardic heartbeat of the Central Belt to the sunset over Skara Bray. In conversation with acclaimed poet Hugh McMillan, whose latest collection, Heliopolis, mingles Scottish and Hellenic themes.

Friday 24 August

1.45pm to 3pm

Scotland, racism and denial
with Neil Davidson, Nasar Meer and Kokumo Rocks

Neil Davidson and Nasar Meer, editor of and contributor to No Problem Here: Understanding Racism in Scotland discuss Scotland’s issue with racism alongside performance poet Kokumo Rocks, author of Happily Drowning.

3.30pm to 4.45pm

Scotland: the timescape
with Andrew Conway and Anna Groundwater

Does the barrage of facts and figures from politicians leave you frustrated and confused? Andrew Conway (How Scotland Works) and Anna Groundwater (Scotland Connected: A Timeline for Scottish History in the Wider World) bring clarity, common sense and future-thinking.

5.15pm to 6.30pm

Putting homelessness on the global agenda
with Mel Young and Peter Barr

An estimated 100 million people around the globe are homeless. Mel Young and Peter Barr, authors of Home Game: A Ball Can Change the World, discuss how through the power of sport, the Homeless World Cup continues to transform lives.