One of Scotland’s best known Scottish television presenters is to headline the 15th Nairn Book and Arts Festival – marking a new chapter for the popular event.
The five-day event begins today at the Nairn Community and Arts Centre situating Nairn’s High Street as a focal point throughout the week.
Arts company Wildbird will light up first floor windows with images of local residents in Nairn Street Scene, whilst shops decorate their windows in festival colours.
STV senior news reporter Mike Edwards will appear as the opening speaker as the curtain rises on the events 15th consecutive year this evening, with TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham bringing it to a close on Sunday.
The event will showcase an ambitious line-up including the National Theatre of Scotland, Canadian country singer Tia McGraff, popular ensemble The Blueswater and poet, author and founder of Dogstar Theatre Hamish MacDonald, as well as bring together a pool of talented poets, authors and writers.
Mary Helen Dewar, the new chairwoman of the Nairn Book and Arts Festival, said: “This is the festival’s 15th year and we’re celebrating in style with some stellar events. In addition to the wonderful Chris Packham, and our collaboration with arts company Wildbird, we present some of the country’s best authors and poets, alongside some excellent local writers.
“Performance in many guises features strongly; I’m delighted that the National Theatre are returning to the festival, joining superb musicians, and award winning poets, in taking the stage. Our Open Exhibition features artists from across the north of Scotland.
“We’ve put together an ambitious and imaginative programme this year, made possible by essential funding from Creative Scotland, the Davidson Trust, the Highland Council, and the Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation, together with many local sponsors – we’re very grateful for that support.”
This year the festival presents the topical ‘Sipping with Spies’ – an afternoon of insight into the Secret Intelligence Service and lives lived in the shadows, with award -winning writers Mick Herron and Charles Cumming.
A varied musical line-up includes the triumphant return of popular group The Blueswater, this time in female guise with Queens of the Blues; Tia McGraff and partner Tommy Parham, with folk singer Corrina Keeling supporting and Kathleen McInnes.
Meanwhile, the Festival Choir will bring the house down on the events’ final evening presenting songs from well-known musicals including The Greatest Showman to Sunshine on Leith at the festivals’ anniversary party on Sunday.