Friday 20th August

Below is our 2021 programme for information only. 
BigLit 2022 will run from 21-24 July.  We look forward to meeting you then.


George Szirtes: What We See, What We Write: A writers’ workshop

This workshop focuses on our response to images as visual sources ranging from paintings and drawings through to photographs and film. How do these touch what Auden called our ‘auditory imagination’ or what Keats called ‘negative capability’ and so become poems rather than thoughts or opinions? Can the images we generate as words, lines, rhythms and forms lead us beyond those? Bring a selection of potential starting images with you and be prepared to share them for the length of the workshop.
(Limited to 12 places)

10.00 – 12.30 The River Room, Mill on the Fleet   £15
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Karin Fernald: Jane Austen and The Slave Trade

Karin Fernald, actor, researcher and speaker, is known for her entertaining lectures on celebrated correspondents and diarists from the 18th to early 20th centuries. After performing her popular solo show “WE FAINTED ALTERNATELY ON THE SOFA” to a packed house at BIG LIT 2018, we are delighted to invite her back with further fascinating insights into the author’s work. Austen’s England was hotly divided over the Atlantic Slave Trade.  Jane never wrote about it directly, but her three favourite authors were all anti-slavers, and Jane inserts intriguing references to the trade in MANSFIELD PARK and EMMA. And in a letter to her sister Cassandra, she even claims to have once been “in love” with that most active abolitionist, Thomas Clarkson!

13.30 – 14.30 The River Room, Mill on the Fleet    £8

Kirstin Innes: Scabby Queen

Telling the life story of fictional pop star and activist Clio Campbell from the perspectives of the many people she left in her wake, Kirstin Innes's polyphonic, exuberant novel Scabby Queen was one of the books of 2020, beloved of everyone from Ian Rankin to Nicola Sturgeon. 
"Scabby Queen is as complicated, complex, tragic and bewitching as the woman at its heart.” The Independent
"A brilliant and beguiling state-of-the-nation novel" - Sunday Times

15.30 – 16.30 The River Room, Mill on the Fleet    £5

Patrick Laurie: Native: Life in a Vanishing Landscape

Desperate to connect with his native Galloway, Patrick Laurie plunges into work on his family farm in the hills of southwest Scotland. Investing in the oldest and most traditional breeds of Galloway cattle, the Riggit Galloway, he begins to discover how cows once shaped people, places and nature in this remote and half-hidden place. Shortlisted for The Wainwright Prize for UK Nature Writing 2020, Native is a poignant and moving book which weaves together folklore and science, tradition and progress, to examine how we take what has passed and transform it for the future. 

Patrick Laurie is a freelance journalist. His blog Working for Grouse is visited by over 30,000 visitors each year. As well as writing and farming, he works for Soil Association Scotland on a program which supports conservation projects on farmland. His first book, The Black Grouse (Merlin Unwin, 2012), was the first natural history book on this rare and declining species.

17.30 – 18.30 Gatehouse School Hall    £8

Don Paterson and Graeme Stephen

Join Don Paterson and Graeme Stephen for a uniquely exciting evening of poetry and jazz. Don will read from his new and recent work, including Zonal – poems based around Season 1 of The Twilight Zone – and join top Scottish guitarist and composer Stephen in a guitar duo, covering everything from original composition to jazz standards, Scottish traditional tunes and the plain mental. 

‘Dynamic, interrogative and unsettling; crafted yet open-ended; fiercely smart, savage and stirring from the get-go, Paterson’s poetry has been essential reading’ Guardian

‘Stephen's music speaks loudly of ambition, imagination, nous, and harmonic adventure … the sort of tuneful realisation that swells the heart’ The Herald 

20.00 – 21.30 Gatehouse School Hall    £8