7 unmissable events at Dundee Literary Festival

The programme for this year’s Dundee Literary Festival was announced today. Nick Mitchell looks ahead to a selection of the must-see events for the event, which runs from 23 – 27 October.

William McIlvanney


Saturday 26 Oct, 7pm, £5/£3

A titan of modern Scottish literature, William McIlvanney is enjoying a resurgence in the popularity of his work, thanks to Canongate re-issuing three of his most famous novels, including Laidlaw. The inventor of the ‘Tartan Noir’ genre, who counts Ian Rankin and Val McDermid among his fans, will read from and discuss the Laidlaw trilogy.

A.L. Kennedy


Friday 25 Oct, 12noon, £3/£2

If you want to learn how to write, you might as well learn from the best. A.L. Kennedy’s ever-burgeoning oeuvre – encompassing six novels,  five story collections and two books of non-fiction – has won her international acclaim and countless awards. She returns to her birthplace of Dundee to discuss her latest book, On Writing, which is based on her popular blog for The Guardian, in which she offers an incredibly valuable regular masterclass for would-be writers.

Duncan Bannatyne


Friday 25 Oct, 7pm, £5/£3

Ever wanted to know the secrets of a Dragon? Scottish entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne may have made his name on the popular BBC show Dragon’s Den, but in his latest volume of memoirs, he talks about how he survived personal and professional setbacks, including the break-up of his second marriage and the recession. In this event Bannatyne offers some insight into the top level world of business during a difficult time, as well as sharing some tips to other aspiring entrepreneurs.

Denise Mina & Doug Johnstone


Friday 25 Oct, 5pm, £3/£2

Two of Scotland’s finest novelists come together to discuss their latest works. Denise Mina, another inheritor of the aforementioned William McIlvanney’s tartan noir DNA, will shed light on her most recent novel, The Red Road. It’s a two-decade-long narrative of power, abuse and love gone horribly wrong, sweeping from 1997 to the present day. Doug Johnstone’s Gone Again, meanwhile, is a psychological thriller about an Edinburgh man who receives a phonecall to say his wife has gone missing.

Katherine Grainger


Saturday 26 Oct, 8pm, £5/£3

It seemed that rower Katherine Grainger was destined for the second step of the podium after winning silver medals at the Olympics in 2000, 2004 and 2008. But she proved the doubters wrong on August 3 last year when she – and Anna Watkins – beat three other pairs at Eton Dorsey to claim that elusive gold. Incredibly bright, Grainger combined her athletic career with her education and she has degrees in subjects as diverse as law and philosophy. Her new autobiography is a fitting reflection of her impressive achievements.

Alan Bissett: Ban This Filth!


Saturday 26 Oct, 9pm, £3/£2

Alan Bissett has just spent almost a month performing as radical feminist Andrea Dworkin in his solo show Ban This Filth! at the Edinburgh Fringe. He clearly likes to challenge himself. When he brings his performance to Dundee, expect laughter, Led Zeppelin and live reconditioning of a man who’s had it too easy. Until now… In a Scotsman review of his Fringe show, theatre critic Joyce McMillan wrote: “What’s striking is the grace and discipline with which he uses a free-flowing, lecture-style format to explore and elucidate his theme.”

John Whaite


Saturday 26 Oct, 3pm, £3/£2

John Whaite became an instant star when he won the third series of the phenomenally popular TV show The Great British Bake Off. In his first book, John Whaite Bakes, he wants to share his mouth-watering creations with us so we can find the perfect recipe to fit our mood, and he will be joined for the event by KitschnBake.


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All pictures: © TSPL

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