Outlander author joins Saltire Society's first virtual festival

Outlander author joins Saltire Society's first virtual festival

Outlander author Diana Gabaldon has been added to the line-up for Saltire Society’s first ever virtual literary festival, Scot Lit Fest, celebrating Scottish literature as part of the Saltire Society‘s 80th anniversary celebrations this summer.

Gabaldon, bestselling author behind the Outlander series (now a major TV series), joins renowned authors Val McDermid, Michael Faber, A. L. Kennedy, Vic Galloway, Juno Dawson and Kirsty Logan for the inaugural virtual literary festival taking place 24th - 26th June.

Scot Lit Fest will allow readers to access leading authors from their desktops free of charge, featuring live video streams, Twitter and Facebook chats, collaborative events, and exclusive content across the weekend.

Gabaldon is participating in a live Twitter chat on Friday the 24th June at 4pm BST, where she will lead a conversation about how Scotland has influenced her bestselling Outlander series, why she chose Scotland as a setting for the series and what the country means to her. The discussion can be followed via her personal Twitter account (@Writer_DG) and also gives participants the opportunity to ask their own questions directly.

The festival will also feature a live screening of "William McIlvanney: Living With Words", an intimate portrait of the late great Scottish author, who died in 2015. Following the screening, the Saltire Society will release his pamphlet "Dreaming Scotland" in digital format along with companion piece "Nevertheless" by Allan Massie, which were originally published ahead of the Scottish independence referendum in 2014.

Val McDermid will join an online discussion about the importance of supporting local libraries, chaired by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) and a number of Scotland’s libraries including Stewart Bain, the voice behind the popular Orkney Library Twitter account.

Other newly-announced authors taking part in the digital weekend event are Amy Liptrot, author of The Outrun (Canongate Books). She will be joined by Malachy Tallack and Kevin MacNeil for a Twitter discussion about Scotland’s islands and their influence on modern literature.

Bestselling Scottish author Sara Sheridan will be taking part in Collaborative Crime Creation with Louise Welsh, Alex Gray, Neil Broadfoot, Michael J Malone and Mark Leggatt. The event, kicking off on the Sunday at 12pm, will see some of Scotland’s best crime authors creating an original piece of crime fiction on Twitter based on the public’s suggestions. 

Sheridan said: "I’m looking forward to ScotLitFest, it’ll be great fun. So many crime writers - one crazy story. What could possibly go wrong?”

Poets Claire Askew and Theresa Munoz will join Saltire Poetry Book of the Year 2015 winner Ryan Van Winkle to discuss their respective work and the experience of being a modern poet. Mariam Khan, #feminisminYA creator, will chair a Twitter chat between top Young Adult authors Non Pratt and Kirkland Ciccone.

Meanwhile, on Sunday 26th June, there will be a special showcase of emerging new Scottish writing talents, Helen Sedgwick and Mary Paulson-Ellis; while Angus Peter Campbell, Tim Armstrong, Alison Lang and Peter MacKay will all contribute to the dedicated Gaelic strand of the festival, #fèislitalba. 

Scot Lit Fest is supported by Creative Scotland and tickets for the festival are available for free. A launch party will take place on Thursday 23rd of June at the Saltire Society, supported by The Society of Young Publishers Scotland.

Jim Tough, executive director of the Saltire Society, said: “I’d like to encourage all fans of Scottish literature and culture to join us for what will be a spectacularly interesting weekend. We have such a great range of authors joining us for the weekend and I can’t thank them enough for giving up their time to be a part of it.”