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Winter Words Festival 2024 Announcement

Red leaf in a frosty field.

Winter Words Festival 2024

8 – 11 Feb

James Cosmo, Sally Magnusson, Jackie Kay, and David Greig to feature in Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s Winter Words Festival 2024 

We are thrilled to announce the lineup for our 20th Winter Words Festival, featuring an exciting line up of authors, playwrights, adventurers, broadcasters, and actors from around Scotland and further afield for a celebration of all things artistic and literary.

From 8-11 February, we will host, an exciting programme of events including stimulating and entertaining conversations, as well as performances and special events in its Studio performance space. These will include broadcaster Sally Magnusson in conversation with the journalist Magnus Linklater about her third novel Music in the Dark; celebrated diarist Chris Mullin will talk about his book Didn’t You Use To Be Chris Mullin? Diaries 2010-2022 which gives his take on the twelve turbulent years since he left Parliament as a Labour MP; author and theatre critic Allan Radcliffe will discuss his new book, The Old Haunts, a wistful coming-of-age story, which paints a tender portrait of grief in all its complexities; and author, poet and third National Poet for Scotland Jackie Kay will be in conversation with our Artistic Director Elizabeth Newman about her illustrious career.

The theme of the Scottish outdoors and nature will feature strongly in this year’s festival as Catherine Moorehead will give a talk about her book Mountain Guru – The Life of Doug Scott which explores the life of one of the greatest mountaineers in history, whose extraordinary expeditions were undertaken over a period of four decades across seven continents; acclaimed author and presenter of BBC One Scotland’s From the Sky, James Crawford will return to the festival to talk about his book, Wild History: Journeys into Lost Scotland; Annie Worsley will discuss her acclaimed book Windswept which tells the story of what happened when she decided to trade in a busy life in academia to take on a croft on the west coast of Scotland. BBC journalist Neil Ansell will be talking about his book The Last Wilderness: A Journey into Silence, which is set amongst the wildlife in the Scottish Highlands. Dr Kerri Andrews will be discussing her book Way Makers, the follow-up to the best-selling Wanderers, and the first anthology of women’s writing about walking, and Dougie Strang talks about his journey through the Scottish Highlands to follow a series of folktales and myths to the places in which they are set in his book The Bone Cave. Naturalist, writer, and photographer, Polly Pullar talks about the inspirations behind her writing, highlighting the importance of nurturing love and respect for nature in all its complexities.

Making a welcome return to Pitlochry Festival Theatre will be acclaimed Scottish playwright David Greig who will be talking about his debut novel Columba’s Bones which explores a fascinating clash of cultures and religions that played an important part in the shaping of Scotland. Award-winning playwright May Sumbwanyambe and Dr Peggy Brunache, lecturer on the history of Atlantic slavery at the University of Glasgow and Director of the Beniba Centre for Slavery Studies, will discuss the case of freedom fighter and Black abolitionist Joseph Knight and Scottish abolitionism, the subject of Sumbwanyambe’s award winning play Enough of Him which premiered at Pitlochry Festival Theatre in 2022.

As well as this impressive lineup of writers, this year’s Winter Words Festival will include two special events.  On Saturday 10 February the theatre will be hosting An Audience with James Cosmo. Having appeared in over 130 films and TV shows, including Highlander, Braveheart, Trainspotting, Troy, Game of Thrones and His Dark Materials, actor James Cosmo will be in conversation about his long and illustrious career in film and television, followed by a tasting of his STORYMAN whisky. Finally, the performance poet Kokumo Rocks will be reading and performing a selection of her vibrant and intense poems. Kokumo’s poetry explores the themes of love, race, freedom, and imprisonment, which she does with a sense of fun and humour.

The Winter Words Festival runs from 8-11 February 2024. Priority bookings for Members from 27 November. Tickets go on general sale on Friday 1 December. For tickets and further information call the Box Office team on 01796 484626 




  • A woman in a purple sweater.


  • A man in a brown fleece with tree behind.

    Neil Ansell

  • A woman in a green raincoat and glasses.

    Annie Worsley

  • A bearded man in a checked shirt.

    David Greig

  • A man smiling with a plaque that says 'court of session' behind.

    May Sumbwanyambe

  • A woman in a black leather jacket and white shirt.

    Peggy Brunache

  • Man in red top in front of blurred green leaves.

    Allan Radcliffe

  • A woman with glasses in front of bookshelves.

    Catherine Moorehead

  • A woman with a red scarf with a red backdrop.

    Jackie Kay

  • A woman with short blonde hair in front of bookshelves.

    Sally Magnusson

  • A man in a hat, glasses and checked shirt.

    Chris Mullin

  • A man smiling sat at a bar with a dram of whisky in hand.

    James Cosmo

  • A woman in a rainbow jumper in a forest.

    Kerri Andrews

  • Bearded man wearing a hat in front of green leaves.

    Dougie Strang

  • A man with blurred background of a field.

    James Crawford

  • Woman with red squirrel on shoulder.

    Polly Pullar