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Winter Words Line Up Announced

A photo of a book with pages bending into the shape of a love heart, leaves cover the foreground of the photo and we can see a grass patch in the background


Coinciding with the start of Scotland’s Year of Stories, we are thrilled to announce the exciting line-up for this year’s Winter Words which will take place online from 14-20 February.

Like last year, the 18th year of Winter Words will be a little different offering a smaller series of digital events. But the upcoming festival will be both live and interactive and, as with every year, will bring together an exciting line up of well- known, and well-loved authors, playwrights, poets, adventurers, broadcasters, and TV personalities all in one virtual space.

From 14-20 February, we will be introducing a stimulating and entertaining line up of conversations with, amongst others, television actress and presenter Denise Welch who will be talking about The Unwelcome Visitor: Depression and How I Survive It, her bracing yet accessible account of living with depression; a pre-recorded interview with Alexander McCall Smith, author of the highly successful No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series and one of the world’s most prolific and most popular authors who will be discussing his new novel Love in the time of Bertie and other novels he published in 2021; celebrated Scottish playwright and crime writer Denise Mina who will be discussing her latest novel Rizzio; Scottish Makar and 2012 Costa Poetry award winner Kathleen Jamie who will be in discussion with playwright David Greig; author and Guardian theatre critic Arifa Akbar who will be talking about her acclaimed Costa nominated biography Consumed: A Sister’s Story; and writer and broadcaster James Crawford who will be discussing his acclaimed BBC television series Scotland from the Sky.

Also featuring in this year’s line-up will be award-winning, best-selling and critically acclaimed author Craig Russell, whose latest novel Hyde last year won the prestigious McIlvanney Prize; award-winning Scottish author Ewan Morrison discussing his novel How to Survive Everything; Edinburgh writer and editor Arusa Qureshi who will be talking about her book Flip the Script: How Women Came to Rule Hip Hop; illustrator Eilidh Muldoon who will lead a live illustration session for all the family; local historian and former chair of Pitlochry Festival Theatre Colin Liddle, who will be talking about the Theatre’s history over the last 70 years; and Scottish actor Kenny Boyle who will be discussing his debut book The Tick and Tock of the Crocodile Clock.

This year’s closing event, sponsored by the Highland Book Prize, will be the author and ecologist Andrew Painting, and Merryn Glover in conversation about how landscape, specifically the Cairngorms, has inspired their writing. Both authors feature on the Highland Book Prize 2021 longlist.

This year’s festival will also feature on Saturday 19th February What Are You Reading? a free virtual book shop café where people will be able to recommend and talk about their favourite book to others. Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s Associate Director Amy Liptrott will host the event.

Like last year, the festival will have an all-access Winter Words package which will give online viewers access to all 13 online events plus the opportunity to receive recordings to watch at their leisure for a period, shortly after the festival.

All tickets will be limited this year – book now to avoid disappointment.

Individual tickets and package options go on sale for Winter Words on Thursday 20 January at 10am. To find out more and for tickets call the Box Office team on 01796 484626 or visit