Booker Prize winning author Douglas Stuart will headline a major literary celebration in Perth.
The 2021 Soutar Festival of Words is going ahead in April, albeit in a virtual form for the first time.
Organisers at Culture Perth and Kinross (CPK) have promised three days of readings, performances and conversations with writers, poets and storytellers from across Scotland.
Mr Stuart, the Glasgwegian novelist behind 2020’s hugely acclaimed novel Shuggie Bain, is among the guests who will appear online, via CPK’s YouTube channel and Zoom.
Others on the line-up include Perthshire poet and newly installed Makar for the Federation of Writers Scotland, Jim Mackintosh, and William Soutar Writing Prize winner Ross Mackay.
The festival will run from April 23 to 25.
Following the success of the inaugural Soutar Festival of Words that took place at venues across Perth and Kinross in 2019, organisers were determined to deliver this year’s festival as planned.
Kirsty Brown, of Culture Perth and Kinross said: “The dark winter months and most recent lockdown have left us all in need of some distraction and engagement with the beauty of the written word, in its many forms, will do just that whilst bringing much joy.
“The festival offers something for everyone with readings and performances from the contemporary to the historical which I am sure will delight young and old alike.
“The attraction of moving online with the festival is that people can join in from the comfort of their own home whether their home is in Perth, Scotland or Perth, Western Australia or Perth, Canada.
“I’m really excited for everyone to enjoy the rich mix of wonderful writers and poets participating this year.”
Full details will be announced in March, with tickets on sale shortly after.
Buoyed by online pantomime’s success
This year’s Soutar Festival of Words comes hot on the heels after Perth-based Horsecross Arts was buoyed by the success of its first virtual pantomime.
After having to abandoned plans for a socially-distanced show at Perth Theatre, Horsecross devised a live online version of its Christmas show.
The show scored a five-star review in industry bible The Stage, and was even praised by the New York Times.
Horsecross is now following the success of the show, with another livestream.
The show First Piano on the Moon, written and performed by Will Pickvance, will be broadcast live from his studio at the end of February.