All items: festivals

Donny O'Rourke takes in the ‘simmer dim’ in Orkney, a land of subtle greens and long histories, for the midsummer solstice festival of Litha.

Hugh Thomson splashes down in London’s famous Serpentine, where hardy and mostly convivial outdoor swimmers share a unisex changing room and run a regular gauntlet of swans.

Pippa Little speaks with Geoff Hattersley about poetry in her African and Scottish childhood, building a career as an early school leaver and her return to Higher Education, and her approaches to writing.

Donny O’Rourke finds himself in the book-blessed town of Ullapool in May, celebrating the bonfires and bluebells of the Celtic Beltane festival.

Chris Arthur reflects on the inspirations of his ‘odd-object’ essays, and considers the popularity of this particular form and the most important aspect of oddness within it.

Laura Hird speaks with Geoff Hattersley about her beginnings as a writer of bleak and gritty short stories, the real reason her first novel was written in four different voices, and how she gave her mother a literary afterlife in ‘Dear Laura’.

Stephen Wyatt takes us to an unusual destination: the Gallifrey One convention, where participants are enthusiastic, oddly dressed, and gratifyingly appreciative of his own 30-year-old TV script.

Doug Johnstone reminds us that no completed novel lives up to what its creator initially imagined, and explains how a complete failure three books in led him to find his true writing voice.

As a former member of a rock band who has also been a music journalist, Doug Johnstone has always felt that music was essential to his writing. Here he considers other writers who have also made a career out of music — and vice versa.

Alyson Hallett luxuriates in an unusual writing week that’s actually mostly dedicated to writing, with a side serving of bonfires, friends, yoga al fresco and getting enjoyably lost in the woods.