You can view the programme below or view the brochure here.

  • Graeme Obree
  • Gordon Brown
  • Stuart Cosgrove
  • Mark Smith
  • Gill Hoffs
  • Su Bristow
  • Fiona Macintosh
  • L. Waddell J. Kottler
  • Fiona Rintoul
  • Chris Brookmyre
  • Thomas Enger
  • Gunnar Staalesen
  • Laura Henderson
  • Philip Paris
  • Chris Dolan
  • Dane Love
  • Carry On Sleuthing
  • The McDougalls


Andrew O’Hagan


Ayrshire’s place in the history of world literature was secure by the Victorian era, thanks to the glorious, colourful, human, and vibrant writing of Robert Burns, James Boswell, and John Galt. The tradition continues today and I’m proud to say that the town of Irvine, so important to those writers, is the location for one of the great book festivals. Whether your cup of tea is crime writing or romance, memoir or philosophy, the modern novel or the self-help manual, Tidelines will serve you a feast of exciting authors, ready to enrich your love of reading and your passion for ideas.

A poet once said that great writing helps you to live your life, and Tidelines, set in and around the beautiful old harbour at Irvine, enhances the wonders of the town, and offers, every year, new insights into the mysteries and the glories of being alive. I am a great fan of Irvine and of the warm place it occupies at the literary heart of the world. Get involved. Book your places. And see you there at Tidelines 2017, your very own festival of writing talent on your very own doorstep.

Andrew O’Hagan

Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, author of Our Fathers, Be Near Me, and The Illuminations.

Thursday 21 September 2017


Graeme Obree – The Flying Scotsman

Graeme Obree –  The Flying Scotsman
Graeme Obree is an ex professional cyclist and author. He exploded to prominence on 17th July 1993 when he broke the UCI World Hour Record on the bike he hand built, ‘Old Faithful’ complete with parts he scavenged from an old washing machine. His hour record was broken a week later but Obree went onto regain the record and to become the UCI world pursuit champion twice. His autobiography The Flying Scotsman inspired a movie of the same name. He published his acclaimed training manual, The Obree Way in 2011. In 2013 he claimed another world record riding his latest self built machine, ‘The Beastie’ to the Human Powered World Record for prone recumbent bicycles in Battle Mountain, Nevada. Obree lives in Kilmarnock, and is a regular speaker addressing schools, business and the cycling community.

7.00pm at the HAC – £8

Friday 22 September 2017

Banned Books and Prohibition Cocktails

Hosted by Gordon Brown (no not that one!) thriller writer.

You are cordially invited to join us for a discreet menu of “speciality teas” served by Nora, our 1920s time-honoured parlour maid with somewhat spurious credentials and years of experience serving Ladies and Gentlemen of note. Nora’s tantalising teapots will be complemented by readings from Banned Books of the 1920s and 30s. Literary refreshment with a hint of mischief. 2 cocktails included. Over 18s only.

Alcoholic & non-alcoholic options.

Banned Books for sale.

6.00pm at The Puffers Cafe – £8 incl. cocktails


Stuart Cosgrove

Stuart Cosgrove Soul Music and Social History

Journalist, writer and broadcaster Stuart Cosgrove talks about his passion for soul music and social history with readings from his bestselling books Detroit 67 and Young Soul Rebels. Staff writer with the black music paper Echoes, Media Editor with the NME and feature writer for a range of newspapers and magazines, Stuart is a rare soul collector with great passion for the subject.

For some of Stuart’s favourite music click here.

8.00pm at the HAC – £8

Saturday 23 September 2017

 Mark SmithFamily event: Slugboy Saves the World  

Bring along your little superheroes for lots of laughs, fun and games, singing and storytelling, and much more! Enjoy an awesome superhero quiz. Create your own superheroes – with a twist. Sing along to the amazing Slugboy theme tune. And prepare to be bowled over by two epic readings from the award-winning Slugboy Saves the World!

Perfect for boys and girls aged 8-12.

11.00am at the HAC – £5 per family (2+2)

Gill Hoffs A Tale of Two Shipwreckss: Victorian Heroes and Villains at Sea   

Find out about the mysterious shipwrecks of the ‘William & Mary’ and the so-called ‘Victorian Titanic’! Gill Hoffs will discuss the White Star Line’s RMS Tayleur (as seen on BBC’s “Coast”) as well as the subject of her new book The Lost Story of the William & Mary. Discover what caused these disasters, why so many women died on the ‘Victorian Titanic’, and how 200 emigrants came back from the dead in the Bahamas!

2.00pm at the Maritime Museum- £5

Su BristowSealskin  

Based on the legend of the selkies – seals who can transform into people – Sealskin is a magical story, evoking the harsh beauty of the landscape, the resilience of its people, both human and animal, and the triumph of hope over fear and prejudice. Join author Su Bristow to hear more about this exquisite tale.

2.00pm at the HAC- £5

The McDougallsFamily event: Fairytale Fun! 

Join The McDougalls for some stories, songs and silliness in an hour-long musical show for all the family. Come and see some of your favourite fairy tales brought to life on stage through song, and even come dressed up a fairy tale character!

2.00pm at Fullarton Connexions- £8 per family/ £5 individual


Fiona MacIntoshRosa of the Wild Grass 

The Story of a Nicaraguan Family: “Through the eyes of Rosa and her family, we experience in intimate detail the dramatic years of Nicaragua’s triumphs and travail…and the hope that never dies. A poignant, gripping, sensitive tale.” Noam Chomsky

“This is a vivid and moving description of a small Latin American country’s great struggle to free itself from crushing poverty and oppression.” Julie Christie, Actress

4.00pm at the HAC – £5

404 Ink Nasty Women – Laura Waddell and Jonatha Kottler

After Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton a ‘nasty woman’, this collection of essays by twenty new writers looks at what it is to be a woman today. Nasty Women: ‘An essential window into many of the hazard-strewn worlds younger women are living in right now.’ – Margaret Atwood (Twitter)

5.30pm at HAC – £5

Fiona Rintoul Whisky Island

Fiona Rintoul introduces Whisky Island, her new book celebrating the Isle of Islay, its people and the island’s eight legendary whisky distilleries. With stunning photographs by Jura-based photographer Konrad Borkowski, Whisky Island goes behind the scenes at Islay’s distilleries in the company of the islanders who run them to find out what makes each dram unique. Whisky tasting included.

Over 18s only.

6.30pm at the Puffers Cafe – £8 incl. whisky tasting

Chris BrookmyreWant You Gone 

What if all your secrets were put online?

The ever-popular Chris Brookmyre returns to talk about his latest Jack Parlabane novel.

A tale of family love, blackmail and the dark world of cyber crime. Why does the seasoned crime journalist team up with a 19 year old girl from a chaotic background? Chris is an expert at creating tension and suspense in a very entertaining way.

7.00pm at the HAC- £8

Thomas Enger and Gunnar StaalesenNordic Noir

Sadly Agnes Ravatn is unwell and can’t be with us in September. The good news is that Thomas Enger will join Gunnar Staalesen in what promises to be a very thought provoking and entertaining evening.

An evening of readings and discussion with authors Thomas Enger and Gunnar Staalesen.

Thomas is the author of an intriguing Norwegian whodunit – a top-class crime thriller with cover-ups and consequences that lead to the heart of European history.

Gunnar’s latest book in the private detective Varg Veum series, Wolves in the Dark, reaffirms him as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.

8.30pm at the HAC – £5

Sunday 24 September 2017

Laura Henderson Colouring Scotland 

Join illustrator Laura Henderson for an informal colouring session. Colouring is great for the mind, helping you to relax and enjoy the moment. Illustrations from Laura’s book, Colouring Scotland, features iconic locations and items from around the country – come along and add your own bit of colour to the festival! (Suitable for all ages)

12.00pm at HAC – £5 per family (2+2)

Philip ParisCasting Off: Pensioners have rights as well as puffins  

Casting Off was described as ‘The Feel Good Book of the Year’ in 2016. Based on the sell-out play of the same name, it tells the story of residents in a Highland care home. Although often hilarious, it’s also a story of friendship, loyalty and sacrifice. Philip Paris talks about producing the play and writing the novel, with readings and a few laughs along the way.

2.00pm at the HAC – £5

Chris DolanWee Screen, Big Stories    Due to family reasons, we had to cancel this event. Apologies! 

TV is an often overlooked art form, surprising, given it’s a place most of us go looking for stories. Chris Dolan (writer for Taggart, River City, Machair, and Take the High Road) will talk about how, from the first transmission of Coronation Street in 1960, to cable and satellite, TV has been at the centre of our lives. And, if called upon, he’ll get you playing a workshop game or two.

2.00pm at Fullarton Connexions

Chris DolanDreaming in Public  Due to family reasons, we had to cancel this event. Apologies! 

Chris Dolan writes for page, stage, and screen – from Taggart to plays for David Hayman to Radio 4 adaptations to crime novels… Chris, not known for being quiet, will happily talk about any or all of his experiences in 25 years of writing.

4.00pm at the HAC

Dane Love Ayrshire’s Lost Villages

Dane Love has unearthed fifty villages that no longer exist. Dane talks about many of them and their associated tales from the “rows”, accounts of struggles endured and famous sons. These villages, often found in the most obscure places, were established near to where work was to be found, often in coalmines. Join us and ensure that these lost communities are not forgotten.

Sponsored by Kilwinning Heritage

6.00pm at the HAC – £5

Murder Mystery playCarry on Sleuthing

Join crime writers Caro Ramsay, Theresa Talbot, Michael J Malone and Douglas Skelton in a murder mystery play for radio in which the audience is invited to solve the crime by finding the clues amongst the jokes. Sift through the evidence, hear the suspects speak, wonder at the cast’s acting ability, groan at the jokes, gasp in awe as the culprit is revealed, head for Duncan’s Bar.

Copies of the authors’ books will be on sale.

7.30pm at the HAC- £8