Blairgowrie’s annual book festival will begin its next chapter when it welcomes live audiences for the first time in two years.
The Bookmark festival is back next month, albeit on a smaller scale as Covid restrictions remain in place.
And organisers are delighted to bring the two-day literary celebration to Blairgowrie’s Community CampusBook, after holding it online last year.
One of the biggest celebrations of literature on the Perthshire calendar, this year’s theme is ‘Going abroad and coming home’, with books highlighting the impact of Scotland on the wider world.
Places are limited this year so organisers are encouraging people to sign up as soon as possible.
What will this year’s Bookmark festival involve?
Held on October 9 and 10, Bookmark will see numerous literary names discussing their works.
The first day will include Billy Kay, who will bring to life extracts from his radio programmes and readings from his book, The Scottish World, which draws on the thousands of Scots through the centuries who made their mark on the wider world.
Meanwhile, winner of Bookmark’s Book of the Year Award Rachel Joyce will read from and discuss her marvellous novel Miss Benson’s Beetle.
Day two will include Scottish novelist James Robertson drawing on his new book, News of the Dead.
Bookmark Book Festival chairwoman Gail Wylie said: “Our 2021 Festival has the theme of ‘Going Abroad and Coming Home’ with factual events on history, art, gardening, life and work in rural Perthshire and fiction which takes us abroad to New Caledonia and brings us home to a Scotland both past and present.
“Although our festival will be smaller this year and following strict Covid regulations – fewer events with smaller, socially distanced audiences, masks to be worn – it is all worth it in order to welcome live audiences again.
“Bookmark is delighted to be back in Blairgowrie this October.”
Last year, organisers took the “painful” decision to cancel the event amid Covid uncertainty.
A spokesperson said: “We would probably have to severely curtail our audience numbers and arrange seating accordingly, in a rather unwelcoming way.
“Instead of offering an unsatisfactory festival, we have taken the painful decision to cancel.”
But organisers remained optimistic and began plans to take forward this year’s festival.
And although the event could not go ahead, the Bookmark festival could not go without celebrating literature in some way.
Organisers instead decided to host an online awards ceremony, during which Rachel Joyce’s Miss Benson’s Beetle was announced the winner.