The Argyll book festivals that should be on your list

Book Week Scotland, the annual celebration of books and writing, kicks off today (18th November), with events taking place across the county. We thought we’d celebrate with a blog about Argyll’s amazing book festivals. Argyll’s book festival scene is a vibrant one, with a new festivals and events emerging every year. Read on, be inspired and plan ahead for your Argyll book festival adventure in 2020!

Write By The Sea

Kick off the year with this brand new book festival on Argyll’s Secret Coast. Held in and around the village of Tighnabruaich, Write By The Sea is shaping up to be a cracker. Celebrating writing that’s shaped by the sea, the sky and the land, there are some great names lined up. Participating writers include Kate Davis, Malachy Tallack, Daniel Smith and Mandy Haggith. There will also be sea shanties, a literary pub quiz, speciality coffee tasting, puppets on the pier and more. 14th & 15th March 2020

Colonsay Book Festival

The Colonsay Book Festival must be one of the most remote literary events in the UK! It’s held on the beautiful island of Colonsay every spring and attracts some big names from the Scottish literary scene. Last year Anne Cleeves, Sarah Maine and Robin A Crawford, author of Into The Peatlands, all took part. 25th to 26th April 2020.

Colonsay Book Festival

Bute Noir 

For something completely different, head to the island of Bute for Bute Noir, a crime writing festival that brings together some of the biggest names in crime fiction. Last year the event was headlined by Ian Rankin and Ann Cleeves. There’s a real buzz on Bute during the book festival, with events are held in various venues around Rothesay. 31st July to 2nd August 2020.


Bookends is a week long book festival held in The Reading Room at The Victory Hall, Benderloch during the last week in September. Kick back on the comfy sofas and take your pick from the secondhand books lining the Reading Room. Enjoy a programme of talks from visiting authors, poets storytellers.


Islay Book Festival 

The Islay Book Festival is another island book festival. Taking place on the whisky island of Islay, it attracts a fabulous mix of diverse writers. Past participants include Ali Smith, Ruth Rendell, Val McDermid, Iain Banks and Mairi Hedderwick and more. 29th August to 1st September - date to be confirmed. 

West Over Sea 

Now in its third year, West Over the Sea book festival held in Tobermory celebrates Mull's place as Scotland's Hebridean book capital. Enjoy a few days in beautiful Tobermory, listening to a wide range of superb speakers and tucking into some fabulous local food. October - date to be confirmed. 

Tarbert Book Festival

The fishing village of Tarbert on the Kintyre peninsula hosts the Tarbert Book Festival. There’s a varied programme, with author talks, workshops, school events and more. October - date to be confirmed. 

Book shops in Argyll

And if you’re on holiday in Argyll, don’t forget to pop into these great independent book shops.

Bookpoint, Dunoon is an absolute gem of a book shop with a huge selection of books of all genres. Grab a coffee and some homemade cake then spend some time browsing.

Bookpoint DunoonBookpoint DunoonBookpoint Dunoon

Print Point, Rothesay is Bute's only bookshop. It stocks all the latest bestsellers, local interest, children's and much more. You can also enjoy freshly ground coffee or a hot chocolate latte.

Tackle and Books in Tobermory is a Mull institution.Books on Mull and the Scottish Islands, history, natural history sit comfortably next to the latest blockbusters and beautifully illustrated children’s books.

The Colonsay Bookshop at Scalasaig on Islay carries a large selection of books, specialising in titles with a Scottish and Hebridean flavour. They also have an antiquarian section for rarer sources. It’s also home to House of Lochar pblishing company.

As well as specializing in Scottish gifts and crafts, The Celtic House on Islay stocks a fascinating range of Scottish and Hebridean books.

See more events across Argyll in our Events Diary.