ReimagiNation Rolls On

The Book Festival tours to East Kilbride and Irvine

The Book Festival’s ReimagiNation tour of Scotland’s five New Towns continues in August as we head to two fascinating areas in the west of Scotland, each with their own distinct character and history. We pop up in East Kilbride, Scotland’s original New Town, between Saturday 19 and Monday 21 August, before winding up our summer activity with a visit to Irvine between Sunday 27 and Tuesday 29 August.

Following on from a successful three day event in Cumbernauld in May, these two Festivals continue conversations started with the residents of that town around life in these areas. The New Towns were ordered, designed and built with Utopia in mind after the chaos of the Second World War, but have perhaps been too readily neglected or even reviled in the decades since, in large part because of their once lauded architecture. Through ReimagiNation, we’re asking how we might view these towns, their citizens, the country and the world differently if we go beyond accepted narratives and draw out new stories from the people who have lived and worked there. As well as drop-in sessions with social historian Daniel Gray where local residents can tell their tales of the town, both Festivals are capped with a debate, asking questions about the history and future of each place with panels of local and non-local figures and plenty of scope for audience participation.

We’re also asking authors to share their stories of course, and we’re delighted to be able to bring some of the fantastic writers attending the Edinburgh International Book Festival on tour with us. In East Kilbride, which is celebrating 70 years since it’s commission, we’re joined by M R Carey and Joe Hill (son of horror legend Stephen King) for a night of chilling dystopic fiction; while actor-turned-writer John Gordon Sinclair introduces his latest tense crime thriller. Little ones can meet Nick Sharratt, the writer and artist behind some of the most recognised and loved children’s books around, including his own Shark in the Park series and illustrations for the books of Jacqueline Wilson. There’s plenty more for young and old alike, from interactive theatre performances to tours of St Bride’s Church as it begins a process of renovation.

The coastal town of Irvine is both a New Town and an old town, with deep historical roots reaching back to the Middle Ages and beyond. Fittingly, ReimagiNation will be hosted in the brand-new leisure, culture and community hub Portal, which similarly unites the old Townhouse and a newly built facility. Michael J Malone shares the stage with Baileys Prize winner Lisa McInerney for an unmissable discussion about their new compelling psychological dramas, while if you’re looking for laughs, award-winning comedian Andrew O’Neill talks about his history of the mad world of heavy metal music. Bestsellers Vivian French and David Melling bring their brilliant new Knight in Training tale to the town for an interactive event for kids, while Edinburgh’s favourite foodie Mary Contini shares stories of family and feasting in what promises to be a life-affirming session.

Each Festival offers a free Unbound night, our literary and musical cabaret which challenges local and international writers to share something a little out of the ordinary – full details of participants for each town will be announced soon. Both also contain full programmes of free events for local schools, and thanks to a generous donation to the Edinburgh International Book Festival, this year all attending pupils will receive a free book related to the event they attend.

For full event and ticketing information, please follow the links on our home page.

ReimagiNation is part of Booked!, the Edinburgh International Book Festival on the road around Scotland throughout the year, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

ReimagiNation: East Kilbride is produced in partnership with South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture, South Lanarkshire Council, and The Village Centre.

ReimagiNation: Irvine is produced in partnership with North Ayrshire Council.

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