Saturday 21st August

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


Bards for Breakfast. Charlie Gracie, JoAnne McKay, Finola Scott

Join three fantastic poets for a bardic breakfast. Charlie Gracie (Tales from the Dartry Mountains), JoAnne McKay (If You Find My Mother, Buy Her Flowers) and Finola Scott (Much Left Unsaid) will read from their latest publications while you digest the best the Mill Cafe can offer.

Charlie Gracie’s Tales from the Dartry Mountains is a masterful, honest and melancholy collection. - Des Dillon
JoAnne McKay’s poems have tight forensic power, each one like a small charge sheet.- Hugh McMillan
From tender explorations of family love to subtly phrased exposes of every kind, these poems from Finola Scott engage the reader on every level - A C Clarke

9.30 – 10.30 The Café, Mill on the Fleet    £5 incl. refreshments

George Szirtes: The Photographer at Sixteen

Multi award winning writer George Szirtes journeys back from personal memory to deeper history to reconstruct his family's tragedy-darkened past and understand the enigma of his mother's life and death.

Szirtes has made [his mother's] monument. It is a courageous and remarkable achievement. I've read no memoir that moved me more. Miranda Seymour, Financial Times 

A truly remarkable book about identity, image and memory. It is fiercely compelling.

Edmund de Waal, author of  The Hare with the Amber Eyes. 

11.30 – 12.30 The River Room, Mill on the Fleet    £8

Annette Badland: Three in a Bed: Iris, Gertie and Me

Gertrude Stein, novelist, poet, art collector, friend of Picasso and Hemingway, mentor to Cezanne, Matisse and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Iris Murdoch, novelist, poet, philosopher, playwright. Both had steadfast partners whom they loved and had binding relationships with yet they explored beyond the parameters of conventional relationships. Award winning actress Annette Badland, patron of The Iris Murdoch Society, who played Gertrude Stein to great acclaim at Shakespeare’s Globe shares the work and worlds of these two extraordinary women through her own metaphorical love affairs with both of them.

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

Ian Dunt: How to be a Liberal

Across the world, liberal values are under attack. In this groundbreaking book, political journalist Ian Dunt tells the story of liberalism, from its birth in the epic struggle against absolute monarchy to the modern-day resistance to populism and nationalism. In a soaring narrative that stretches from the battlefields of the English Civil War to the French Revolution to the 2008 financial crash and beyond, How To Be A Liberal explains the political ideas that underpin the modern world. But it is more than that: it is a rallying cry for those who still believe in freedom and reason.

15.30 – 16.30 Gatehouse School Hall    £8

Tales of Land and Sea: Donald S Murray with singer Caitlin Lilidh

Chosen as the Times Historical Book of the Month last March, ‘In a Veil of Mist’ has been described as ‘a quiet, sad but brilliant novel’ and a ‘poignant meditation on the conditions that could ravage humanity’. Set off the coast of the Isle of Lewis in 1952, it tells the story of Operation Cauldron, a Cold War episode in which top secret biological weapons were tested on monkeys and guinea pigs – a time which nearly ended in disaster when a Lancashire fishing boat passed through the cloud of noxious spray the scientists onboard the ‘Ben Lomond’ had unleashed. From the Butt of Lewis to the South Mainland of Shetland, most of Donald S Murray’s life has been spent within the beam of lighthouses. In the wonderfully illustrated book, ‘For The Safety of All’, he examines the role they have performed in Scotland’s existence – from their creation to their role and purpose in wartime, from their place in literature, art and song to the part its keepers have played in observing and preserving this country’s wild life. 

17.30 – 18.45 The River Room, Mill on the Fleet    £8

Hugh McMillan & Alan McClure: Saturday Night Craic

Join world renowned poet Hugh McMillan and tall singer-songwriter Alan McClure for an evening of poems, songs and blethers, covering matters historical, political, personal and disreputable. Featuring a few choice guests and a lot of choice language. World put to rights or your money back. Hugh McMillan has been published widely in Scotland and beyond, and has won various prizes, most recently the Callum Macdonald Memorial Award in 2017 for Sheep Penned, published by Roncadora. “One of the best and funniest readers I’ve heard.”  Ali Smith.  Alan McClure is a writer and musician based in Galloway, south west Scotland. His eclectic output includes children's novels, podcasts, storytelling videos and over a dozen albums. He's had work published in Poetry Scotland and songs broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland and Radio 6 Music. "A profoundly interesting writer." - Philip Ward, R2 Magazine.

20.00 – 21.30 Gatehouse School Hall    £8