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Friday, March 13, 2015

The Big Lit returns this month

From the Big Lit

Big Lit imports leading contemporary writers to darkest Dumfries and Galloway and provides a showcase for talent from the south west. Organisers have today unveiled the programme for the four-day book festival in Gatehouse of Fleet from 16 to 19 April. Booker nominee Michèle Roberts will be one of the main attractions at Big Lit when she runs a workshop on writing about sex. 

Among the highlights will be a reading by local author Karen Campbell from her new post-referendum book Rise. Karen was made famous by her four crime novels, which were based in Glasgow and featured Sergeant Anna Cameron and Cath and Jamie Worth. There will also be the chance to meet Terry Darlington, whose Narrow Dog books enchanted the world – selling more than 250,000 copies.
Rally and Broad and their spoken word cabaret
Chrys Salt MBE, festival organiser and Artistic Director of the Bakehouse, said: “For four days in April we will be turning a quiet and pretty historic town in the depths of rural Dumfries and Galloway into a den of sex and revelry - which will be great fun. “We are expecting lots of interest from writers and the public as we have so much going on, including authors like Michèle Roberts’ tackling juicy subjects like how to write about sex, and whether porn silences or empowers. “We are developing Big Lit into the Stewartry’s own book festival, bringing in some of the best contemporary writers and showcasing some of our excellent home-grown authors.

“Big Lit will also be offering poetry, song, installation art and special activities for children, including as an exploration in Cally Woods where they will encounter some of their favourite fictional characters. “Our event is helping build Dumfries and Galloway’s reputation as a region full of festivals, attracting visitors from all over the country and overseas and enriching the cultural lives of the people who live here.”

Karen Campbell added: “Big Lit is a wee jewel of a festival. You're guaranteed a warm welcome, and an eclectic mix of writers, talks and art - everything from guerilla poets to word sculptures. It's one of my favourite literary festivals, tucked away in such a beautiful part of the world, and I'm delighted to have been asked to take part again.”

Michèle Roberts’ workshop The Pleasures of the Text will consider issues like whether authors get trapped in flowery writing or clinical writing and whether the Bad Sex Award encourages good writing or puts authors off completely for fear they will be mocked. She said: “I am delighted to be coming to read, talk, teach, listen and learn at BIG LIT. I look forward to meeting other readers and writers and to being in Scotland again.”

Audiences will be able to enjoy the lyrical delights of Rally and Broad’s marvellous spoken word cabaret with its melange of music, spraffing, spikiness and other assorted nonsense.

Other attractions include:

  • Ladies who Launch – Elspeth Brown and Vivien Jones launch new poetry collections
  • Candlelit readings in The Temple, a Georgian folly deep in the forest with Liz Niven
  • A typically crazy Bill Barlow interactive art installation in The Bakehouse Studio
  • And you can rub shoulders with everyone from Leonard Cohen to Ivor Cutler in the Murray Arms with one of Galloway’s longest-standing pub sessions.

Author Karen Campbell
And as if that wasn’t enough there will also be a Big Lit Mill Session with Gerda Stevenson (nominated Scots Singer of the Year, MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, 2014) with her new album Night Touches Day. She will be accompanied by Norwegian musician Kyrre Slind, on lute, sitar, guitar and mandolin.

Plus the poems of Hugh MacDairmid will be set to music and sung by popular composer and singersongwriter Nicola Black.

Lots of the events are free while many others are as cheap as chips. For further information visit or you can always email

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