Thursday 21st

Bards for Breakfast:  9.30 – 10.30 Mill Cafe

Wanderlust Women: Lesley Benzie, Donna Campbell and Linda Jackson

‘Travel with Wanderlust Women in a collaboration bursting with energy. Yes, a lust for travel, wandering: Scotland, Syria, France, Italy, Australia, India, Ireland are some of the destinations. There is also a different kind of travel, an exploration of all that’s important in human life, everything that matters to the heart: its sorrows, disappointments, frustrations. There’s no flinching about taking us to its darkest places and to its softest most tender parts. The poems explode in performance and on page: intricate layers, lacing physical travel with emotional journeys. An exploration of relationships, possibilities, endings, hopes, destruction. And questions, of the best kind, about: political choices, suffering, history, consequences’. (Sheila Templeton)

£5.00 incl. refreshments

Kathleen Hart: 11.30 – 12.30 The River Room 

Devorgilla Days 

Kathleen’s memoir Devorgilla Days is a book about survival, renewal and finding hope and healing in Wigtown, Scotland’s book town, and a call to arms to anyone who has dreamt about starting over. Her cottage is named Devorgilla after the formidable 13th century Scottish princess.

‘So beautifully written and so enchanting I feel bereft having reached the end. So many achievements all wrapped up in one beautiful narrative. It’s heaven.’ Alexander Armstrong

‘We all need a Devorgilla Cottage somewhere in our hearts and in our imaginations. This is a book about survival and renewal and sheer willpower. ‘- Kirsty Wark

Kathleen is in the process of establishing a Creative Writing School in her home town, Wigtown, Scotland’s National Book Town. She is PoshPedlar on Instagram where she encourages her highly engaged 125,000 followers to ‘make room for the magic’


Ross Donlon and Jean Atkin.  1.30 – 2.30 The River Room

Lines from Two Latitudes
Join two outstanding poets, she from the northern, he from the southern hemisphere, for a memorable performance at Big Lit. Featuring our 2022 International Poet Ross Donlon from Sydney, Australia and Jean Atkin, a poet with family connections to Shetland, who lived in Dumfries and Galloway for many years. Jean has won competitions, been commissioned, anthologised, and featured by the Scottish Poetry Library and BBC Radio 4. She was BBC National Poetry Day Poet for Shropshire 2019. Titles include ‘Fan-peckled’ (Fair Acre Press) and ‘The Bicycles of Ice and Salt’ (Indigo Dreams).

Ross Donlon has won two international poetry prizes and the Launceston Cup, the spoken word prize for the Tasmanian Poetry Festival. He has read at festivals from Tasmania to England, Ireland and many poetry ports between. He has published six books of poetry, most recently, ‘The Bread Horse’.


Karen Campbell:  3.30 – 4.30 The River Room
Paper Cup

What if going back meant you could begin again?

Rocked by a terrible accident, homeless Kelly needs to escape the streets of Glasgow. Maybe she doesn’t believe in serendipity, but a rare moment of kindness and a lost ring conspire to call her home. As Kelly vows to reunite the ring with its owner, she must return to the small town she fled so many years ago.

On her journey from Glasgow to the south-west tip of Scotland, Kelly encounters ancient pilgrim routes, hostile humans, hippies, book lovers and a friendly dog, as memories stir and the people she thought she’d left behind forever, move closer with every step.

Full of compassion and hope, Paper Cup is a novel about how easy it can be to fall through the cracks – and what it takes to turn around a life that has run off course.


Hugh McMillan and friends: 5.30 – 6.30 The Faed Gallery
Willie Neill Centenary Retrospective.

‘The Leaves of the Years: Poems, Essays and Memories in Willie Neill’s Centenary Year’ edited by Hugh McMillan and Stuart Paterson and published by Drunk Muse Press contains contributions in all the languages of Scotland from a host of Scottish writers including Tom Pow, Liz Niven, Christine De Luca, Ian Stephen, Bill Herbert, Derrick McClure, Anne Frater, Donald Murray, Jim McGonigal, Rab Wilson, Willie Hershaw, Magi Gibson, Gerda Stevenson and others, and celebrates the impact of the remarkable tri-lingual Galloway poet William Neill on their lives, work and Scottish literature in general.

This event will feature some of the contributors talking about Willie Neill and their favourite works as well as reading specially commissioned poems of their own. It will also feature remarkable footage of Willie filmed in the 1980s but not seen for 30 years. Hosted by Hugh McMillan and Stuart Paterson.



BIG LIT SING IN   9.30 onwards   The Masonic Arms

The BIG LIT SING IN is back!  Nothing like a good old pub session to round off the first day of BIG LIT.  Join local musicians for a knock-about hour or two of songs both old and new in one of Gatehouse’s most welcoming venues.


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!