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Authors set to descend on Helmsdale for port's first ever literary festival

By Caroline McMorran

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Sixteen authors are expected to be present at a literary festival in Helmsdale next weekend.

The three-day Scotland’s Indie Book Festival is running in the port’s Othin House from Friday to Sunday, September 8-10.

Glyn Salisbury and Carolyn Bilyard.
Glyn Salisbury and Carolyn Bilyard.

It will comprise talks, workshops, readings and book launches as well as competitions, book sales tables and a raffle.

It is only the second year the event has been held - the inaugural festival took place at the Norseman Hotel in Thurso in October 2022.

Thurso based authors Glyn Salisbury, who writes supernatural crime and adventure, and his partner Carolyn Bilyard, who is working on her third book, established the festival which is independent and self-funded.

Mr Salisbury said: “It is a three-day celebration of storytelling.”

Indie books are books that have either been self-published or published by an independent press.

The event has come to Helmsdale because Mr Salisbury, who used to run a cafe in Wick, is friendly with Othin House proprietors Ben Ward-Fuller and his partner Donna Payne. The couple are renovating and opening Othin House as a food and events destination.

Othin House, Helmsdale.
Othin House, Helmsdale.
Ben Ward-Fuller and Donna Payne.
Ben Ward-Fuller and Donna Payne.

Mr Salisbury said: “Othin House has a magnificent hall where we can host everything under the one roof. It is a fantastic venue all round.”

The authors attending are based mainly in the far north, although two are from Orkney and one is travelling from as far afield as Bath.

Writing competitions for children and adults are running in conjunction with the festival with schools within a 30-mile radius of Helmsdale invited to take part.

Pupils were asked to submit a story of any theme and either 250/500 or 750 words long.

The three winners in three different categories will be presented with their prizes at an end of show session on the last night of the festival, when the raffle will also be drawn.

Awards will be presented to the winners of writing competitions which are being run as part of the book festival.
Awards will be presented to the winners of writing competitions which are being run as part of the book festival.

The winners will be presented with a certificate and a handsome trophy. All those who took part will get ‘great effort certificates’.

An adult prize will also be presented.

For more information on the authors attending and the programme of events as well as tickets, visit: www.scotlandsindiebookfestival.co.uk

Tickets are also available from Othin House direct or on the door.

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