The festival is taking place in Irvine Harbourside.

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

  • The Gary Innes Band
  • Sean Murphy
  • Alan Brown
  • Moxie Creative Kids
  • Mairi Kidd
  • Margaret Skea
  • Anne Donovan
  • Theresa Talbot
  • Donald S Murray
  • Karen Campbell
  • Ambrose Parry
  • Amanda Thomson
  • Alistair Jackson
  • Catherine Czerkawska
  • Denise Mina
  • Yrsa Sigurdardóttir
  • Lilja Sigurdardóttir
  • Helen Fitzgerald
  • Doug Johnstone


Andrew O’Hagan

Since starting out as a writer nearly 25 years ago, I think I have attended most book festivals in the known world, and no two are the same. I knew Hay-on-Wye before wi-fi, I knew Edinburgh when the audience was four coos and a Town Clerk, and I can tell you there’s nothing better than direct contact between an author and a reader. For the author, it’s a chance to look your audience right in the eye, and for the book-buyer, it can be a joyous and unforgettable chance to meet a person who has altered your life, changed your thinking, entertained you or scared the hell out of you. In Australia and Greenock, in China and Wigtown, I’ve known the sheer magic of book festivals, and now every great part of Britain has one. And since there is no part of Britain greater than North Ayrshire, it’s a treat every year to see the Tidelines Book Festival put on a grand show. In 2019, it has the strongest line-up yet.

This is a cultural festival with a local flavour — a feast for the heart and the mind. As Patron, it makes me proud to see the area I grew up in celebrate great writing in such style. Join in, book your seats, and I look forward to seeing you at our own, homegrown bookfest.

Andrew O’Hagan

Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature

Patron of Tidelines Book Festival

Thursday 26 September

Tidelines Goes Trad

Foot-stomping Trad Gaelic/Scots music

Featuring Ewen Henderson & Gary Innes

Following the sell-out success of our trad music opening night in 2018, Tidelines brings you a very special evening of foot-stomping, heart-swelling music in Gaelic and Scots, to celebrate the opening of Tidelines Book Festival 2019. With a line-up created especially for us by Scots Trad Awards ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’, Gary Innes, and featuring Ewen Henderson – lead singer with Scottish super-group Manran – this is a night not to be missed.

Às dèidh oidhche cheòlach air leth soirbheachail aig toiseach fèis nan leabhraichean an-uiridh, bidh cothrom agaibh pàirt a ghabhail ann am feasgar sònraichte is gluasadach aig toiseach Tidelines Book Festival 2019, far am bi tòrr ciùil Ghàidhlig is Albannach. Tha Gary Innes, a bhuannaich ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ aig Na Trads, air na ceòladairean a chur air chois air ar son. A bharrachd air sin, bidh Ewen Henderson, seinneadair le Mànran, am measg nan cluicheadairean. Dèanaibh cinnteach gum bi sibh ann!

Sponsored by North Ayrshire Council
7.30- 9.30pm at the HAC – £10/£8

Tickets available from the HAC box office on 01294 274059  or  book online    

Friday 27 September

Sean Murphy – Gin Galore

Come and enjoy a relaxed and informative gin tasting and Q&A session with Gin Galore author, Sean Murphy, as he guides you through the wonderfully complex world of Scotland’s gins and the people who make them.

6.00-7pm at Puffers Cafe -£10 (incl. gin tasting) –  over 18s only

Tickets available from the HAC box office on 01294 274059  or  book online    

Alan Brown – Overlander: A Bikepacking Pilgrimage 

Seeking a temporary escape from city life and a mad modern world, Director of Bike Station, Alan Brown, undertakes an epic coast-to-coast trip through the wild and lonely interior of the Highlands. ‘Overlander cheerfully debunks much of the off-putting preciousness of the hardcore cycling fraternity to return cross country cycling to what it should be – a slightly planned but mostly spontaneous and giddily exciting way to rediscover Scotland’ (Lesley Riddoch)

6.30-7.30pm at HAC -£6

Tickets available from the HAC box office on 01294 274059  or  book online    

Helen Fitzgerald and Doug Johnstone

Helen Fitzgerald, author of BBC drama The Cry, presents her new novel, Worst Case Scenario, a delicious dark and humorous psychological thriller about a Glasgow probation officer dispensing her own brand of justice. Joining her is best-selling Scottish crime writer – and drummer with Fun Lovin Crime Writers – Doug Johnstone, with Breakers, an extraordinary book that manages to be both a tense psychological thriller and a deeply moving story of a good kid in the wrong family.

8.00-9pm at HAC – £8

Tickets available from the HAC box office on 01294 274059  or  book online    

Saturday 28 September  

Moxie Creative Kids – Gruffalo Early Years Storytelling session

“Oh help, oh no… it’s a Gruffalo!” A story-telling session for 3-5 year olds with drama, music and games.

Must be accompanied.  

10.00 -11.00am and 11.15am – 12.15pm at HAC – £5 per child /£12 for 3 children (min 1 adult). Bring your adult for free.

Tickets only available at the HAC


Mairi Kidd – Warriors and Witches and Damn Rebel Bitches – Scottish women to live your life by

Scotland’s history is jam-packed with incredible women. Witty, wise and occasionally wicked, these ‘bonnie fechters’ changed the course of history, battled terrible odds, and stood up for what they knew was right. Discover stories spanning a thousand years, from pivotal actions in the Wars of Independence to motorbiking lifesaving in WWI, and find inspiration for modern dilemmas from dispatching a loverat to killing it at work.

1.00-2pm at HAC- £6 

Tickets available from the HAC box office on 01294 274059  or  book online    

Margaret Skea – Bringing History Alive: The Ayrshire Vendetta

Scotland 1586: James VI, looking to the English throne, seeks to subdue the nobles and bring peace to Scotland. But blood feud is endemic. From the 1586 Massacre of Annock to 1600 Edinburgh, Margaret Skea’s illustrated talk will bring the period to life through the Munro’s story – compassion and cruelty, treachery and sacrifice, set against the backdrop of the Ayrshire Vendetta, the French Wars of Religion and the Great Scottish Witch Hunt of 1597.

2.30-3.30pm at HAC- £6

Tickets available from the HAC box office on 01294 274059  or  book online    

A Celebration of Scots with Anne Donovan

Tidelines is delighted to welcome award-winning author Anne Donovan, in a special event to mark the International Year of Indigenous Languages. Join the author of Buddha Da, Being Emily and Gone Are The Leaves and the short story collection, Hieroglyphics and other Stories, as she reads and talks about her incredible work. Anne will also be joined by Ayrshire authors reading from their own work in Scots.

Sponsored by North Ayrshire Council.

3.00-4pm at HAC- £8

Tickets available from the HAC box office on 01294 274059  or  book online    

Pop-up Book Launch with Theresa Talbot

In a Tidelines special, BBC Radio Scotland presenter and author, Theresa Talbot, gives a sneak pre-publication preview of her new novel, The Quiet Ones, a psychological drama that will form the final part of her Oonagh O’Neil Trilogy.(please note that as this is a pre-publication event, the book will only be available in download format).

4.15-4.45pm at HAC- FREE (Ticketed- only available at the HAC)

Donald S Murray – As the Women Lay Dreaming

On 1st January 1919, the HMY Iolaire sank in Stornoway Harbour, killing over 200 servicemen on their way home from war. Donald S Murray’s novel explores the effect of this tragic event on the life of imaginary survivor, Tormod Morrison, who twenty years later has to cope with the death of his own daughter and its impact on her two children, Alasdair and Rachel. ‘The kind of novel which can enrich your life.’ (Alan Massie, The Scotsman)

5.00-6pm at HAC – £6

Tickets available from the HAC box office on 01294 274059  or  book online    

Karen Campbell – The Sound of the Hours

Karen Campbell introduces her new novel about identity, conflict and love, set during World War Two in Italy’s most Scottish town, Barga. As Germans occupy the mountains and US Buffalo soldiers draw near, loyalties are torn – should Vittoria side with her Scots-Italian father, or her Fascist mother? Choose Mussolini, or her King? In the chaos, she encounters Frank, a black American soldier fighting for a country that refuses him the vote, a man unlike any Vittoria has ever met before.

7.00-8pm at HAC – £8

Tickets available from the HAC box office on 01294 274059  or  book online    

Ambrose Parry – The Art of Dying

Join Ambrose Parry – aka Christopher Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman, one of crime fiction’s most fascinating creative partnerships – as they present the newly- released second novel in their gripping Victorian crime series. The Art of Dying sees Will Raven and Sarah Fisher plunged back into Edinburgh’s deadliest streets, this time to clear the name of Dr James Young Simpson, blamed for a patient’s death in mysterious circumstances.

8.30-9.30pm at HAC – £8

Tickets available from the HAC box office on 01294 274059  or  book online    

Sunday 29 September

Moxie Creative Kids – Matilda Story-telling and Drama Workshop

“Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world.”

Matilda themed drama workshop filled with storytelling, impro, comedy and music!

Suitable for 6-10 years.

10am -11am and 11.15am – 12.15pm at HAC – £5 per child, Tidelines Special: £12 for 3 children.

Tickets only available at the HAC

Amanda Thomson – A Scots Dictionary of Nature

Scotland is a nation of dramatic weather and breathtaking landscapes, giving rise to a rich and unique language of description, shaped by the environment itself. Artist Amanda Thomson has mined 19th-century Scots dictionaries and brought together words from this deeply expressive language that risk falling out of use.

Your ticket to this event includes the opportunity to join a 45 min guided walk on Irvine Harbourside to see the waders and wildfowl around the confluence of the Garnock and Irvine rivers, led by Andy Shand from the North Ayrshire RSPB group. Places limited, booking essential. Bring binoculars if you have them, children must be accompanied. In case of bad weather, an illustrated talk will be given in the HAC.

1.30-2.30pm at HAC – £6 (incl optional RSPB nature walk)

Tickets available from the HAC box office on 01294 274059  or  book online    

Alistair Jackson – The Spirit of the Hebrides – a photographic journey

Alastair Jackson spent three years photographing the island of his youth, Skye, tramping up hills, getting soaked to the skin, nearly being blown off cliff edges, and thoroughly enjoying it all. The aim of his photographic journey was to capture the places written about by Gaelic poet, Sorley MacLean, and hand them to present day poet, Kenneth Steven, to interpret into a Hebridean narrative. The Sprit of the Hebrides is the beautiful and unique result.

3.00-4pm at HAC – £6

Tickets available from the HAC box office on 01294 274059  or  book online    

Catherine Czerkawska – A Proper Person to be Detained: a murder in the family and its aftermath

On Christmas Night in 1881, John Manley, a poor son of Irish immigrants living in the slums of Leeds, was fatally stabbed in a drunken quarrel. A few generations later, author Catherine Czerkawska began to tease out the truth behind her great great uncle’s death. Catherine will speak about the fascinating but harrowing process of researching and writing her new book, uncovering tragedy, injustice and heartbreak, especially for the women, whom history had long silenced.

Subject matter not suitable for young children. Age 12+ advisory.

4.30-5.30pm at HAC – £6

Tickets available from the HAC box office on 01294 274059  or  book online    

Denise Mina – Conviction

Denise Mina brings her much anticipated new novel, Conviction, to Tidelines. Betrayed and abandoned by her husband and her best friend, Anna McDonald turns to a true-crime podcast for distraction, unwittingly setting her past and present lives on a collision course and sending everything she has worked so hard to achieve into freefall. A twisting, darkly comic, thrill-a-minute ride across Europe. If you loved Killing Eve, you’ll devour Conviction (Erin Kelly).

6.30-7.30pm at HAC – £8

Tickets available from the HAC box office on 01294 274059  or  book online    

Yrsa Sigurdardóttir and Lilja Sigurdardóttir – Icelandic Noir

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir is an award-winning, best-selling crime writer whose novels have been translated to 35 languages. Her latest novel, The Absolution is the third in her Huldar and Freyja series and explores the dark side of social media. In a Tidelines exclusive, Yrsa will be joined by fellow award-winning Icelandic crime writer, Lilja Sigurðardóttir, with her new novel Cage, the thrilling conclusion to her Reykjavik Noir trilogy. Although not due for UK publication until October 2019, advance copies of Cage will be available to purchase at this event, courtesy of Orenda Publishing.

Sponsored by Tidelines audience ‘chuck-it-in-the-bucket’ donations

8.00-9pm at HAC – £8

Tickets available from the HAC box office on 01294 274059  or  book online    

Extra Events

Bookbinding with Tom McEwan

Courtyard Studios

A series of special events over the Tidelines weekend from award-winning bookbinder, Tom McEwan, in his fully equipped Courtyard Studios bindery located next door to the Harbour Arts Centre.


Saturday 28 September:  10.00-12noon –  £5

Bookbinding for Beginners: A practical workshop on how to use basic bookbinding tools, techniques and materials to create a range of simple but attractive pamphlets and small books.


Sunday 29 September 10.00-12noon  –  Free but booking essential

Half Leather Binding: A detailed demonstration on how to hand-bind a traditional book with leather spine, corners and marbled paper sides.


Book direct with Tom on (places limited).

Drop-ins to see the bindery are also welcome 2pm – 6pm on both days and are free of charge.

Courtyard Studios – Group Exhibition 2019

The WASPS Courtyard Artists Studios on Irvine’s Harbourside is one of Ayrshire’s centres of excellence for the arts. The Courtyard accommodates 16 artists, working in painting, drawing, graphic design, photography, jewellery, design book-binding, music, fashion and ceramics. Set within this beautiful Ayrshire coastal setting the artists produce original, imaginative, high quality and contemporary art and design. This year, for the first time, the Group Exhibition at the HAC will incorporate work inspired by or linked thematically to Tidelines Book Festival, making it an integral part of the festival.

Throughout the Festival weekend at HAC   (FREE)