Saturday July 23rd

Bards for Breakfast. Mark Vernon Thomas, Sue Wallace-Shaddad, Chik J Duncan 

9.30 – 10.30 The Mill Cafe

Join three fantastic poets for a bardic breakfast. Mark Vernon Thomas, a New Zealander now living deep in the Machars, who will read from his upcoming pamphlets, Dancing with Shadows and Stones and Tales of Fenris Wolf.  So far he has been a Classical/Improv musician, a singer of Georgian polyphony, a Gestalt Psychotherapist and a poet.  Mark will be joined by Sue Wallace-Shaddad, reading poems about Sudan, ‘a country of beauty, dust, jewel-bright colour, age-old tradition and bitter conflict’. from her collection ‘ A City Waking Up’, (pub: Dempsey and Windle 2020) alongside poems about the Scottish women artists in her family history – Maggie Hamilton, Viola Paterson and Anne Paterson-Wallace.  Chik J Duncan is a -writer, storyteller and performer of poyums well known and popular with Galloway audiences. He has appeared in such diverse settings as The Bakehouse, the Stand Comedy Club in Glasgow and a yurt in the front garden of a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery. 

£5.00 incl refreshments.

Yvonne Bailey-Smith  11.30-12.30   Gatehouse School Hall
The Day I Fell off My Island

Following in the footsteps of her award winning daughter Zadie, Yvonne’s debut novel – The Day I Fell Off My Island, has been shortlisted for The Author’s Club Best First Novel Award and the Society of Authors Paul Torday Memorial Prize.

‘A striking story with an unforgettable cast of characters you’d expect to find in the grandest work of fiction.’ Candice Carty-Williams

The Day I Fell Off My Island tells the story of Erna Mullings, a teenage Jamaican girl uprooted from her island following the sudden death of her beloved grandmother. When Erna is sent to England to be reunited with her siblings, she dreads leaving behind her elderly grandfather, and the only life she has ever known. A new future unfolds, in a strange country and with a mother she barely knows. The next decade will be a complex journey of estrangement and arrival, new beginnings, and the uncovering of long-buried secrets.


Malachy Tallack   1.30- 2.30 Gatehouse School Hall

Illuminated by Water

Award-winning author Malachy Tallack’s new book, Illuminated by Water, is about his lifelong love of fishing, and the sense of freedom and wonder it brings. He shares the appeal of angling, its intense joys and frustrations, the steadying effect it has both at water’s edge and in the memory, and the contemplation of nature and landscape that comes with being an angler. He writes about fishing expeditions, from canals, rivers and lochs in Scotland, to lakes in Canada and creeks in New Zealand, and he reflects on other aspects of angling, from its cultural significance and the emerging moral complexities to the intricacies of tying a fly.


Mara Menzies  3.30 – 4.30   Gatehouse School Hall

2022 Scotland’s Year of Stories

Mara Menzies is an award winning performance storyteller whose dynamic, colourful style brings this ancient art form to life. Her inimitable physical and interactive style has garnered a following as far afield as Russia, Singapore, Nigeria, and Denmark. Get ready to be enthralled as author Mara Menzies brings a series of exhilarating, heart warming, magical stories drawn from her dual Kenyan/Scottish heritage to the Big Lit Festival. Allow your imagination to take over as you are drawn into worlds where anything can happen!


Gerry Hassan:    5.30 – 6.30 Gatehouse School Hall
A Better Nation: The Challenge of Scottish Independence

As the battle of words over the future of Scotland as a democracy, nation and society continues, A Better Nation: The Challenge of Scottish Independence aims to go beyond the superficial divisions and noise and to address the substance. Drawing on a range of original thinkers from a wide range of backgrounds, it tackles key issues about money, culture, equality, energy, borders, jobs, Europe and other ‘big questions’ head on.

Gerry Hassan is a writer, commentator and thinker about Scotland, the UK, politics and ideas. He is currently Professor of Social Change at Glasgow Caledonian University and was previously a Senior Research Fellow in contemporary Scottish history at Dundee University.


Saturday Night Craic hosted by Alan McClure   8.00- 9.30    Gatehouse School Hall

Join massively talented Alan McClure and a few choice guests for an evening of poems, songs and blethers, featuring Dudley-born, brain-tickling, word-mangling comic poet and singer Rob Barratt  from North Cornwall who has appeared at venues and festivals all over the place.
“This is not only clever but I think it’s very funny” (Mike Harding)

Rob combines clever word play, verse and song with satire, parody and audience participation – covering important global topics such as squid, data-driven education and distressed furniture. Prepare to be well and truly craiced!


Bill Barlow: Installation.  The Bakehouse Studio

The Poetry Pedlar Rides Again!  Thursday  July 21 Saturday July 23  10.00 – 4.00

Not seen since 2014, this magnificent machine will enable people from all walks of life to achieve a poetic bliss not attainable in any other way. Based on the internal vowel combustion engine of 1856, as used by both Keats and Yates (… all complete rubbish), an ingenious set of cogs, string, levers and pedals enables the operator to assemble a vocabulary of inspired words, arriving straight from the unconscious of a loving public, and fashion them into verse beyond the imagination. Heath Robinson, eat your heart out!