Byres Road Book Festival takes over the West End

The inaugural Byres Road Book Festival has just finished, and with over 700 in attendance, it's been a brilliant first year. Held in Oxfam, Waterstones and Hillhead library over four days, the festival offered more than twenty free events.

Kicking off on Friday with poetry busking in Oxfam Books, the festival then turned to the library, where Matt Bendoris, Douglas Skelton, and Aline Templeton took part in a panel discussion led by Kaite Welsh. Titled 'Murder with a smile', the discussion offered a light-hearted chat about crime and humour, bringing down many laughs from the audience. The evening finished in Waterstones with a fully booked session with Graeme Macrae Burnet and Martin MacInnes. The man of the hour, Macrae Burnet is the first Scottish writer with a Scottish publisher to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and the session drew a big crowd.


Graeme Macrae Burnet and Martin MacInnes in Waterstones


Saturday afternoon started with a popular session on forensics in fiction, led by crime writer Lin Anderson and soil scientist Lorna Dawson. Talking about how to accurately portrait forensics in crime fiction, the two had the audience captivated for the full hour.

Douglas Lindsay talked about the long process of turning his book 'The Long Midnight of Barnet Thomson' into a film with Robert Carlyle. Local West Ender and international bestselling author Denise Mina finished the day in the library, drawing a large crowd.

Saturday evening in Oxfam Books was spent solving Ann Cleeves' Murder Mystery game, hosted by Russel D. McLean. In Waterstones, winner of the Dundee International Book Prize Martin Cathcart Froden talked about how he wrote his debut novel, set in the world of velodrome racing in 1920's London.

Sunday morning started with a crafty session in Oxfam, and continued with local authors G.D. Harper and Peter Arnott. The latter brought actress Janette Foggo along to read monologues 'Isabel' and 'Morag'. In the mean time, The Depressed Cake Shop was in full swing in Oxfam, raising awareness of mental health issues through cake and specially selected books.


Perhaps the most well know of our authors, Chris Brookmyre's session was fully booked, and he had the audience in stitches within minutes. Possibly our cutest audience member, 2-month-old Mohammed who came with his mum was definitely the youngest.


In the evening, Chris Dolan entertained in Waterstones for another fully booked session while Oxfam hosted a bookbinding workshop with Downie Allison Downie.

Monday was our dedicated children's day, featuring writing workshops, Spy Quest and witch hunts with Thumble Tumble, just to mention a few. We were delighted to see so many children and their parents coming along to these events.


Storytelling in Oxfam during Jungle Book Day. Photo by Oxfam Books.


We had an absolute blast at this year's festival and hope the audience did too. Stay tuned for updates on next year's festival!