Virtual festival Scot Lit Fest reveals 2017 events

Virtual book festival Scot Lit Fest returns for its second year with a lineup that includes Scotland’s Makar Jackie Kay, Helen McClory and Michael Pedersen among many others

Feature by The Skinny | 03 Jul 2017
  • Michael Pedersen and Scott Hutchison

Scot Lit Fest (21-23 Jul) is a virtual book festival run by the Saltire Society, which launched last year as part of the society’s 80th year. The festival plays out across the internet, with events hosted on whole myriad of platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and podcasts, giving the festival a huge potential reach. “Scot Lit Fest’s goal is to connect readers with Scottish literature for a weekend, no matter where they are in the world,” says the festival.

A highlight looks to be a chat with poet Michael Pedersen (whose fans include Stephen Fry and Irvine Welsh, as well as us here at The Skinny) and Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison, who’ve collaborated together on poetry collection Oyster, with Pedersen providing the words and Hutchison reacting to the poetry with illustrations. "Working with cherished friends on projects of such a formidable cut is a championing concept,” said Pedersen about Oyster. “When the shining soul in question happens to be a blisteringly, brilliantly braw illustrator and, by chance, one of your favourite songwriters, well then, the job’s a bobbydazzler."

You should also look out for the event with Kathleen Jamie, winner of 2016's Saltire Society Poetry Book of the Year and Book of the Year awards; the poet will be taking part in a live event at the Saltire Society offices over the weekend. Jenni Fagan is also involved in the festival, and plans to discuss the work and legacy of the late Jessie Kesson as a trio of her books are repackaged and re-released to new audiences this year.

A host of authors will be embracing the festival’s format with the Collaborative Crime Creation event. A hit at last year’s festival, the event saw 16 crime writers take turns to write an original story live on Twitter, and this year Neil Broadfoot, Gordon Brown, Douglas Skelton and Mark Leggatt will be doing similar, but without the character limit, as they’ll be writing their stories live on Facebook.

There’s also an intriguing-looking chat with John Ferguson, the writer and creator of ‘Scotland’s first comic book superhero’ in Saltire, who’ll be joined by 2000 AD editor David Bishop to discuss the importance of having a local hero in local comics and how it can exist in such an expansive and international universe.

Your to-be-read pile should be extended further with Scot Lit Fest’s debut showcase, where a trio of interesting emerging novelists – Natalie Fergie (The Sewing Machine), Chris McQueer (Hings) and Louise Hutcheson (The Paper Cell) – are introduced via a Twitter chat.

We’re also interested to hear from Estelle Maskame, the bestselling YA author of the originally self-published Did I Mention I Love You? trilogy. She joins the festival to talk about her soon-to-be-published standalone novel Dare to Fall. A conversation between Kate Milner and Pooja Puri discussing their respective books, My Name Is Not Refugee and The Jungle, both of which tackle the topic of displacement for young people, should also prove fascinating.

And being Wimbledon season, you’ll probably be keen to hear from Judy Murray, Scottish tennis coach and mother to tennis stars Jamie and Andy Murray, who’s joining the virtual book festival the weekend after Wimbledon to discuss her new book, Knowing The Score.

For the full line-up and more details, head to