October 2015: A Month in Books
The signs are all there: the air’s gone apple-crisp, the leaves are starting to blaze and jumpers and soup recipes have been hauled out of storage. Autumn has arrived! And what’s better than spending a cool evening cozied up with a good book, or getting out and about for some sightseeing and a literary festival? Not much (say us). Summer may have been a washout, but there’s plenty to look forward to in the months ahead. Here are just a few things October has to offer…
Big New Book Releases
The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson - 8 October
Twenty years after paying homage to Britain in Notes from a Small Island, Bryson is back, retracing his steps to find out what’s changed. His hilarious journey encompasses the endearing, ridiculous, eccentric quirks that give this country its special charm.
Dictator by Robert Harris - 8 October
The bestselling author brings his Cicero trilogy to its thrilling conclusion in a novel that covers one of the most tumultuous and fascinating periods in history: the collapse of the Roman republic and the rise and fall of Julius Caesar.
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith - 20 October
The third Cormoran Strike book (written by Harry Potter author JK Rowling under a nom de plume) starts off with the horrifying delivery of a woman’s severed leg and ramps up from there. A chilling and bloody read that’s just perfect for this time of year.
SPQR by Mary Beard - 20 October
One for the history lovers: one of the world's foremost classicists takes a new look at the history of Ancient Rome, exploring its humble beginnings as well as the lives of the people who lived there. If you think this story's already been told, well, think again.
After Alice by Gregory Maguire - 27 October
The Wicked author turns his attention to Lewis Carroll's famous rabbit-hole tumbling heroine. Expect to once again experience a beloved classic in a whole new way.
Scottish Book Festivals
Wigtown Book Festival - 25 September-4 October
Scotland’s National Book Town always pulls out all the stops for its book festival, and this year is no exception, with a programme featuring events for young and old starring some of Scotland’s most notable authors. There’s also a fireworks display and pipe band to kick things off, a showing of the first three episodes of the BBC’s adaptation of Mairi Hedderwick’s Katie Morag stories, a Scottish tea tasting, and much, much more.
New Lanark Literary Festival - 1-4 October
Historical New Lanark will host its first Book Festival, with an enviable lineup of well-known Scottish authors such as Alistair Moffat, James Robertson and Christopher Brookmyre, and a rich programme of sessions covering a broad spectrum of topics including Scottish fiction, history, and whisky, food and drink. And it all takes place at a beautiful, award-winning heritage site!
Bookmark: Blairgowrie, Rattray & The Glens Book Festival - 2-3 October
Bookmark celebrates its third year with the publication of Time to Write—the product of creative writing workshops held throughout The Glens, and talks by authors including Janice Galloway, Alex Gray, Joan Lennon, Nick Hesketh, Theresa Breslin and Barry Hutchison.
Islay Book Festival - 3-4 October
The beautiful island of Islay will be hosting Christopher Brookmyre, Vivian French, Metaphrog and others for its annual weekend-long literary festival.
Isle of Lismore Book Week - 20-24 October
Taking a theme of ‘community’, Lismore’s festival will feature roundtable discussions, chats and nature walks with authors, writers’ meet-ups, and a celebration of food in books.
Dundee Literary Festival - 21-25 October
Literary Dundee’s annual festival is always a highlight of the booklovers’ calendar. Five days of adventures in books will feature Jackie Kay, Janice Galloway, Nick Frost, William Goldsmith and former New Writers Awardees Lucy Ribchester, Malachy Tallack and Catherine Simpson. There will also be a comics studio project, crafty creative exercises, workshops, and the awarding of the highly coveted Dundee International Book Prize.
Scottish International Storytelling Festival - 23 October–1 November
Now in its 25th year, the Storytelling Festival celebrates the craft of live storytelling and features storytellers from around the world. This year’s theme is Stories Without Borders and the Festival will bring together Scottish, European, Middle Eastern and North African performers to celebrate oral traditions and cultural diversity over ten packed days.
Faclan, the Hebridean Book Festival - 28-31 October
Close out a fantastic literary month with a trek to the Hebrides to meet Gavin Francis and H is for Hawk author Helen MacDonald, check out some films based on books and attend a Halloween party inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s Masque of the Red Death. Faclan's founder, Roddy Murray, discusses what makes the festival special in this blog post.
Other Things of Note
Macbeth - 2 October
Shakespeare’s notorious ‘Scottish Play’ gets the big-screen treatment this autumn, with Michael Fassbender taking on the role of the tortured man who would be king, and Marion Cotillard as his frighteningly driven wife. The film, which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in May, has been getting good buzz, and the shots of the Highlands are said to be stunning.
Man Booker Prize awarded - 13 October
The six shortlisted authors will gather at a black-tie dinner at London’s Guildhall to find out who takes home one of the most coveted and important literary prizes in the world. This year’s shortlist features a Jamaican author for the first time (Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings), one author who’s been nominated before (Tom McCarthy, Satin Island) and one writer who hasn’t yet celebrated his 30th birthday (Chigozie Obioma, The Fishermen). The ceremony will be broadcast by the BBC.
Pan - 16 October
An all-star cast dives into JM Barrie’s classic story of the boy who never grew up and the pirate captain who relentlessly stalks him. But don’t expect to see the Darling children here: this is Pan’s origin story, exploring the roots of his relationship with the future Captain Hook.
Rebecca - 19-24 October
Emma Rice’s adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s creepy story arrives at Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre just before the end of the month. According to the Telegraph, the show is ‘eerily entertaining.’ We are definitely intrigued.