Winter Words Festival 2018

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We’re now into the post-Christmas period, the festivities have come and gone and we’re on the lookout for something different to keep us ticking over until the warmer weather and lighter nights return again. We’re lucky in Perthshire that there is still a lot going on at this time of year across the region, and the return of one of Scotland’s most exciting literary festivals is great news for everybody in the area.

Scotland’s Theatre in the Hills – Pitlochry Festival Theatre – will host their fourteenth annual Winter Words Festival next month, with some of the country’s finest wordsmiths, broadcasters, adventurers and authors appearing across a two week programme which runs from the 2nd to 18th February. The picturesque setting of Highland Perthshire is the perfect place to enjoy engaging talks, hear about tales of adventure and travel, and learn more about Scottish history and culture.

The event sees the return of the Banff Mountain Film Festival for its fourth year, and after last year’s sell-out it’s advised that tickets are booked well in advance for what is one of the most popular dates in the Winter Words programme. Big names such as Graeme Obree, Cameron McNeish, Val McDermid, Sally Magnusson and Paul Murton will appear at the festival. With two different screenings held throughout the day on Saturday 3rd February, the Banff Mountain Film Festival includes adrenaline-packed action sports, stunning scenery and thought-provoking pieces shot in some of the most remote places in the world.

There’s a star-studded guest list this year too, with big names such as Graeme Obree, Cameron McNeish, Val McDermid, Sally Magnusson and Paul Murton lined up to make an appearance at the festival.

Having encountered Graeme Obree at a number of events over the past few years, it’s safe to say that listening to the former World Champion and World Hour Record holder cyclist is a pretty incredible experience. Obree has no shortage of fascinating stories about his life, his depression and suicide attempts, and of course his incredible cycling career which is all detailed in his book ‘The Obree Way’. His appearance at the Winter Words Festival will definitely be one of the highlights of the programme!

It’s fitting that the festival held at Scotland’s theatre in the hills will also feature the legendary Cameron McNeish – the author and broadcaster known for his outdoor adventures. The mountain man, known for scaling Scotland’s Munros and famously taking TV presenter Griff Rhys Jones up Ben Hope during a snowstorm, will be talking about his book ‘Fearie Tales’ in what is a free event at this year’s festival.


There’s a treat in store for those who love a good crime fiction novel as well. Not only is the fantastic Val McDermid appearing to discuss her latest novel, ‘Insidious Intent’, but she will also be taking to the stage as part of the band Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers alongside Christopher Brookmyre, Doug Johnstone, Stuart Neville, Mark Billingham and Luca Veste. The merry band of crime writers will murder some of their favourite songs by The Beatles, The Clash, Talking Heads, The Proclaimers, Elvis Costello and more, in what is a fun Saturday night for all.

Sally Magnusson needs no introduction. The BBC Reporting Scotland presenter has been on our screens for years and years, and is the daughter of the late Magnus Magnusson – best known as the presenter of Mastermind for 25 years. The merry band of crime writers will murder some of their favourite songs by The Beatles, The Clash, Talking Heads, The Proclaimers, Elvis Costello and more. Sally, of Icelandic descent, brings tales of her father’s homeland to the festival with the book ‘The Sealwoman’s Gift’, a book steeped in folk tales from the Scandinavian island.

Broadcaster and presenter Paul Murton will also be appearing at this year’s festival to share his knowledge on some of the most beautiful islands in the world that are right on our doorstep – the Hebrides. Paul will take the audience on his journeys around one of the most incredible areas of our country, telling all about the different people he has encountered during his travels there over the years. Best known for his series Grand Tours of the Scottish Islands and Grand Tours of Scottish Lochs, the TV presenter and film maker will appear at the festival to talk about his book ‘The Hebrides’ and provide a truly vivid account about some of the less known aspects of island life.

Other highlights include brand new family and children’s events, writing competitions, a book fair, live music and interactive workshops held throughout the Winter Words Festival programme. With all of those big names and more heading to picture perfect Highland Perthshire, it’s the ideal place to be to enjoy the last days of winter and hear from some of Scotland’s finest wordsmiths, broadcasters and authors.


You can download the full Winter Words Festival programme here.

For more information or to purchase tickets for the festival, visit the Pitlochry Festival Theatre website here or call 01796 484626.



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