Boswell Book Festival events are now over for 2022, except for schools’ events which are available to view on demand until 30 June
The online schools' events are free. Registration required.
An Amazing Illustrated Atlas of Scotland with David MacPhail
Join author David MacPhail to discover Scotland's people and places, history and culture - from warrior kings and mythical monsters to famous landmarks, spectacular landscapes, unique wildlife and more. Prepare to travel Scotland hearing a wealth of exciting and unexpected facts. There will be some challenges en-route so bring pencil and paper.
Creating an Illustrated Atlas of Scotland with David MacPhail
David MacPhail discovered so many stories of Scotland's people and places, history and culture - from warrior kings and mythical monsters to famous landmarks, spectacular landscapes, unique wildlife - whilst researching his atlas but how did he decide what to include and what to leave out? David will let you into professional secrets and will introduce a special guest, one of Scotland's leading Geographers, Prof. Jo Sharp.
Gill Arbuthnott: Microbe Wars
Join Gill Arbuthnott for a fascinating exploration of microbes - bacteria, viruses, protists and fungi - this is the story of how humans have both battled against microbes, but also utilised them for good. This is the perfect event to understand viruses in a fun and interactive way, to break down the fear and the myths and learn the facts.
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Francesca Simon and the Worst Vikings in the Village
Join the best-selling creator of Horrid Henry as she introduces, the world’s very worst Viking twins Hack and Whack in her latest book, Two Terrible Vikings and Grunt the Berserker. It’s not easy being the worst at everything and then, to make things worse, a fierce and stinky berserker moves in . . . NEXT DOOR! A brilliantly fun event to introduce Viking history and Norse mythology.
Marit Törnqvist and David Colmer: You Are the Loveliest
Sometimes our feelings are so big, our dreams and our worries so wide, that we can’t find the words to express them. These thoughts and questions are explored in You Are The Loveliest by Hans and Monique Hagen. In this event, illustrator Marit and translator, David, take you on a Dutch odyssey to learn about and hear from the poems.
Part of New Dutch Writing Supported by the Dutch Foundation for Literature with 'New Dutch Writing'
Jo Hall and Jojo the Gnome
Nursery - P3
Make some memories using your senses with JoJo Gnome in this fun story filled session. Listen to the story “JoJo Gnome & The Sound Walk”. Discover what’s in Jo’s beach memory box. Finish your own story from our story starter. Jo will also show you how to make your very own Senses Memory Book.
Jo Hall produces the JoJo Gnome Story Podcast , which is free for schools, nurseries and families to listen to and enjoy. (www.jojognome.com)
Rosalind Sydney and True Stories of Fairytale Objects
Once Upon A Thing is a brand new drama podcast for children and families based around the untold stories of fairy-tale objects. The series is still in development and is created by actor and director Rosalind Sydney in association with Red Bridge Arts and The Byre Theatre, St Andrews. You are invited to listen to the first pilot episodes (15mins each) in class. and then meet the creator online where she will explain the process of making the podcast; and guide the students to write, record or draw their own stories inspired by fairy-tale things.
Podcast link will be sent at point of registration.
Joan Haig & Joan Lennon: Talking Histories
Primary 6 to S2
Abraham Lincoln inspired a nation, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti fought for women's rights and Greta Thunberg made her voice heard on global warming. In Talking Histories, Joan Haig and Joan Lennon describe the stirring words of 16 speakers that have formed milestones in modern history and engaged generations on important issues including war, women's rights, climate change and civil rights. Join them for an informative and visual journey through 150 years of great speeches.
Emma Carroll and The Week at World’s End
Primary 6 to S2
The Week at the World’s End is told across the seven days of the Cuban Missile Crisis. This enthralling, heart-warming thriller, from award-winning author Emma Carroll, is the perfect novel for our tumultuous times. Join Emma and travel back to the Swingin’ Sixties with costumes, documents, music and adventure. Pupils can follow up, interviewing older family members about their memories of Britain in 1962.
Jeffrey Boakye presents Musical Truth: A Musical History of Modern Black Britain in 28 Songs
S2 - S6
Lord Kitchener, Neneh Cherry, Smiley Culture, Stormzy . . . Groundbreaking musicians whose songs have changed the world. But how? Jeffrey Boakye takes us on a musical mission to track some of the major shifts in modern British history, exploring the emotional impact of 28 songs and the artists who performed them. Thrilling, urgent, entertaining and thought-provoking; be prepared to be enlightened and delighted by this exploration of modern Black music.
Boswell Schools Festival Events
Digital Schools Programme
View on-demand from Monday 9 May. All events are free and will be available until 30 June 2022.
Jo Hall and Jojo the Gnome / Nursery to P2
Francesca Simon and the Worst Vikings in the Village / Primary 1-3
Marit Törnqvist and David Colmer: You Are the Loveliest / Primary 2-5
Rosalind Sydney and True Stories of Fairytale Objects / Primary 4-7
Gill Arbuthnott: Microbe Wars / Primary 4-7
Joan Haig & Joan Lennon: Talking Histories / Primary 6 to S2
Emma Carroll and The Week at World’s End / Primary 6 to S2
Jeffrey Boakye presents Musical Truth: A Musical History of Modern Black Britain in 28 Songs / S2-S6
IT'S UP TO US: A Children's Terra Carta for Nature, People and Planet by Christopher Lloyd / Ideal for all ages 6 – 106
My Friend Selma with Victoria Beesley Episode 1 and 2 / Primary 4-7
An Amazing Illustrated Atlas of Scotland with David MacPhail / Primary 4-7 Available from 13 May
Creating an Illustrated Atlas of Scotland with David MacPhail / Primary 7-S2 Available from 13 May
IT'S UP TO US: A Children's Terra Carta for Nature, People and Planet by Christopher Lloyd
Ideal for all ages 6 – 106
Join world history author Christopher Lloyd on a visually stunning story of global climate change through the eyes of 33 different artists from all over the world. It’s Up to Us is a unique collaboration with The Prince’s Foundation featuring artworks from Aboriginal Australia to China and Kenya to the USA and depicts the story of our planet so far while providing hope to the next generation.
During this lively event, Christopher will explain the key challenges we all face in the future to try to restore Nature to balance and what we can do about them.
My Friend Selma with Victoria Beesley: Ep. 1 & 2
The remarkable real-life story of a girl’s journey from war in Bosnia to safety in the UK.
This is the story of a conker that never fell, an interrupted stethoscope, prayer beads, water splashing in a face, cat with no home, a car, a mask, a party hat, a pair of swimming pants, a flying pool ball, a letter, and a photograph. Mostly it’s the story of a girl called Selma and her remarkable real-life story of her journey from war in Bosnia to safety in the UK. It is the tale of an incredible journey, a world turned upside down, loss, friendship, courage - and conkers. It is also the story of Scottish based writer, director and performer Victoria Beesley. Join her as she talks about the story behind the play and how she came to meet and become the friend of the remarkable Selma. Over two episodes, this is the perfect exploration of war, displacement and the human cost told against a backdrop of humour, empathy and kindness.
Vickie is the Associate Director for Learning and Engagement at Horsecross Arts in Perth. She also writes and directs touring theatre productions across Scotland and the rest of the UK, usually inspired by real-life stories, for audiences of children, young people and adults.
Thanks to everyone who attended this year's festival!
Please take a few minutes to complete our survey below
Next year's dates for your diary - 12-14 May
From 1 June both the live and online festivals will sadly be over for another year. We would be interested to hear from anyone who attended in person, or who watched online events, so please take a few minutes to help us gather feedback by completing our survey and sharing your experiences.
We are continually learning year on year how best to run the Festival and your feedback plays a vital role.
About the Boswell Book Festival
The world’s only festival of biography and memoir, normally set in the spectacular grounds of Dumfries House, draws an enthusiastic audience attracted by its unique theme.
Inspired by the great Ayrshire biographer James Boswell of Auchinleck, at the heart of the Festival is a programme of stories taken from the inspirational lives of people past and present - told through talks, drama, art and music.
Why is it so important to children to tell our stories?
Stories connect the past and present to the future and learning these stories is what can awaken future generations to their potential.
Through the Festival, the Boswell Trust engages with primary and secondary schools across Ayrshire and beyond.
We were very grateful for the many donations received in support of the online events in 2021.
If you wish to support the festival going forwards, please use the donate button.
Trust – free non-fiction magazine from Baillie Gifford
Baillie Gifford are long-term supporters of the festival and dedicated supporters of UK literary events.
Trust is full of insightful articles about innovations that are transforming the way we live and work. Through features on pioneering companies and conversations with visionary authors, readers can find out first-hand about the sources of disruption in our fast-changing world. You can also access regular literary-related giveaways and exclusive author interviews.