Big Lit Festival Celebrates Weekend of Sell-Out Literary Successes

The Scone of Destiny
The Scone of Destiny

Hundreds of visitors packed into events – from readings and workshops to walks, talks and music sessions – during last weekend’s Big Lit in Gatehouse of Fleet.

Organisers were delighted by the success of the event, which has been rebranded this year as the Stewartry’s own book festival.

Chrys Salt MBE, Big Lit festival organiser and Artistic Director of the Bakehouse, said: “The mix of events seemed to really appeal to people – there were well-known authors and poets, activities for children, plus music, song, installation art and some wonderful performances. Whether it was for adults, young people or the whole family all of it had its roots in literature.

“The feedback we have had has been fantastic and we are really looking forward to next year. In the meantime I’d like to thank all those who took part – the contributors, the volunteers and the audiences. Every one of them helped make sure that Big Lit was a big success.”

The festival took place in Gatehouse from 16 to 19 April. Activities took place at a series of venues including the Mill on the Fleet.

Among the most popular parts of the festival was the Wee Folks Woodland Adventure which saw youngsters, and adults, meet some of their favourite characters from children’s literature in Cally Woods. These included The Mad Hatter, Hagrid and his dragon plus many more.

The Scone of Destiny, in which the ladies of the Women’s Guild of Master Bakers (also known as the Mischief La Bas theatre company) performed their ritual dance for the mysterious scone was another big hit.

Terry Darlington’s talk about his Narrow Dog books – and his crossing of the English Channel in a narrow boat with his pet whippet – was an absolute sell-out. So too was the session at Mill on the Fleet with Gerda Stevenson (Scots Singer of the Year nominee) who was accompanied by Norwegian musician Kyrre Slind.

The three-hour workshop on writing about sex, led by Booker shortlisted novelist Michele Roberts, was also sold out. And the whole weekend was brought to a close with the lyrical delights of Rally and Broad’s marvellous spoken word cabaret with its melange of music, spraffing, spikiness and other assorted nonsense.

Bill Barlow’s interactive art installation, A Roomful of Words, proved so popular that it is going to remain on show in The Bakehouse Studio. Bill created baskets full of wooden bricks, some with words on and others blank, which visitors could use to create their own poetry castles and other 3D literary structures.

Chrys said: “The Bakehouse was absolutely packed and some of the contributions were absolutely brilliant so we have decided to Bill’s installation there for a while for even more people to enjoy.”