Winter Words 2020

February 12, 2020 by Perthshire Creates

The sixteenth Winter Words Festival is on this week – 13-16 February, and brings together Authors, Adventurers, Broadcasters and TV Personalities in one beautiful place, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, nestled beside the mighty River Tummel and beneath the majestic gaze of Benn Vrackie. There are Book Fairs, Book Signings, Literary Lunches, Music and more – something for everyone.

Returning this year, after sadly being unable to make it in 2019, is Scottish rugby legend of 61 caps, Doddie Weir. Honoured with the Sports Personality of the Year, Helen Rollason award for ‘outstanding achievement in the face of adversity’, at Winter Words Doddie brings his favourite lessons for life in his uniquely hilarious, thought-provoking and life-affirming style.

In a world exclusive, broadcaster and author, Sally Magnusson, will be joining Winter Words ahead of the launch of her second novel with a very special sneak preview of The Ninth Child, while Paul Murton, one of Scotland’s best-known TV presenters, will take you on a turn-by-turn trip around the Viking north. Full of observation, history and anecdotes, he will take the audience to a singalong with the Shanty Yell boys, fishing off Muckle Flugga, and a Norwegian pub crawl in Lerwick. All without leaving the comfort of your Pitlochry seat!

Also featuring in this year’s line-up, two of Britain’s best-known news and Newsnight presenters, Kirsty Wark and Gavin Esler. Journalist and novelist, Kirsty takes a break from Brexit and politics to talk about her latest novel of family drama and long-hidden secrets, set in the wilds of Scotland. Gavin stays with Brexit and politics.

There’s also a double-hitter of crime-writing from husband and wife team Chris Brookmyre and wife Ambrose Parry, discussing how they bring their characters and the Victorian Streets of Edinburgh to life: plus Queen of Crime Val McDermid, along with award-winning photographer Alan McCredie, on an illustrated  journey to the places where her stories and characters reside. A fascinating Saturday afternoon, whether you’re a history fan, a factual buff or if you love a good crime-ridden tale!

Then for something not entirely different, as Professor Angela Gallop, one of the UK’s most eminent forensic scientists – involved in cases such as the Yorkshire Ripper, and the killings of Stephen Lawrence, Damilola Taylor, Rachel Nickell and Roberto Calvi – joins Winter Words in a search for the truth, from the crime scene to the courtroom.

Festival favourite, poet Kenneth Steven, joins Winter Words for a very special workshop – a chance to learn about writing poetry from an expert. Writing the Tay workshop will ignite creativity, whether you’re a beginner or already an accomplished writer, taking inspiration from the River Tay to create a piece of work. Part of Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s Shades of Tay project – to inspire 50 artworks celebrating the river and the communities who live along it – Kenneth will read the best work as part of the 2020 Pitlochry Festival Theatre and John Muir Trust Poetry Competition launch, later that day.

Each day of the festival presents a Literary Lunch, where a selection of authors, speak around a delicious two-course lunch. This year Clare Hunter, tells the stories of men and women who have sewed our history; Richard Frazer (now sold out) shares how a journey, with an open heart, to Santiago de Compostela, can fill what many feel is a 21st century spiritual void; Mairi Kidd, Head of Literature at Creative Scotland, will introduce some of the fierce sisters of Scottish history; and Ghillie Basan, broadcaster and food anthropologist talks about Scotland’s fabulous produce, wild food and whisky, to create delicious dishes.

To find out about these and many more events during the Winter Words Festival, see the Winter Words 2020 Digital Brochure, call the Box Office on 01796 484626 or go online at