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2018 Programme | 2018 Prògram

Ajay Close | Jim Crumley | Dougie Cunningham | Ross Collins | Adam Nicolson | Anne M Scriven | Angus Macdonald

Ajay Close Ajay Close - novelist and dramatist

“…….happiness is living in two fictional worlds: the one I am currently reading, and the one I am writing. Depression is the state of being between books.”

Ajay Close is a highly regarded and accomplished author and playwright who was born in Sheffield, and worked as a newspaper journalist, winning several awards, before turning to writing full-time. Her first novel, Official and Doubtful, was longlisted for the Orange Prize. Her fourth, A Petrol Scented Spring, was longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. Her play, The Keekin Gless, was staged at Perth Theatre. The Sma Room Séancetoured east Scotland and was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Ajay will be running workshops for Higher English and Advanced Higher English pupils during our Schools Programme on Friday.

On Saturday Ajay will be leading a workshop titled

“I Want to Write but I Don't Know What to Write About”

This hard-working practical workshop is suitable for budding writers of all ages (12+). Looking at the variety of possible sources and inspirations for creative writing, with the aim of building confidence and freeing up the imagination, the group will talk about how everyone has their own unique voice as a writer, and how many famous writers have borrowed/stolen from other writers and legends. Each participant writes a 200-word opening to a story (a hand-out of starter ideas is provided) and the group brainstorms how each story might develop. Duration: 90-120 minutes.

Not to be missed – limited capacity, please book early.

PLEASE NOTE The time listed on the ticket is subject to change. Please refer to the finalised programme in August.

Ajay will also deliver an illustrated talk on the Scottish suffragettes and her book A Petrol Scented Spring, a riveting novel of repression, jealousy and love, and the struggle for women's emancipation. The story focusses on a fictional Scottish suffragette and her treatment, but is heavily based on fact and includes real characters. The book was long-listed for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. We strongly recommend reading the book before attending this fascinating presentation.

'Intensely observant and articulate, packed with life.' - John Le Carre

'Holds a deserved place in the Pantheon of Scotland's exciting contemporary novelists.' - Val McDermid

A fascinating insight into one of the most compelling stories in the history of the women’s suffrage movement. - The Times

PLEASE NOTE The time listed on the ticket is subject to change. Please refer to the finalised programme in August.

Visit Ajay’s website here:

Jim Crumley Jim Crumley – Jim Crumley is a Scottish nature writer, living and working in Scotland “where it gets harder and harder to win a hearing for nature or for the rights of the land itself.” His contribution to the literature of the land now amounts to more than 30 published books which have attracted many accolades throughout the British media and in North America. Jim writes a regular column Wild About Scotland every month for The Scots Magazine, and Choice Words every Tuesday for The Courier.

Jim’s book, The Eagle's Way, was shortlisted for a Saltire Society award; his Nature's Architect studies the beaver reintroductions, and his Encounters in the Wild series - which sees Jim get up close and personal with Britain's favourite animals - has attracted many new readers. Jim is a passionate advocate of species reintroductions, especially of wolf and beaver, and for the widespread restoration and expansion of native habitats. “A vigorous body of nature writing should be a sanctuary and a mouthpiece for nature’s voice. It is my aim to be a part of that endeavour.”

Three Lochs Festival is excited to welcome Jim to the 2018 Festival; where better to debate Jim’s belief that there should be a radical reappraisal of the relationship between the people of Scotland and the land, than in our remote rural environment where nature and land management are central to our lives.
Details of Jim’s activities at the Festival will follow shortly.

Visit Jim’s website here:

Dougie Cunningham Dougie Cunningham - “I didn't always want to be a photographer... When I was in primary school I wanted to be an astronaut but NASA never called. I got over it eventually.

I came to photography obliquely through a mild climbing and kayaking obsession: perhaps it was less planned than simply inevitable. As I grew older my imagination grew too and along with it came visions of what could happen if I didn't make the next move on a climb or missed my line on the next rapid... I learned that there was as much satisfaction in getting a good photograph of someone else scaring the wits out themselves as there was facing my own mortality on the end of a rope. From there it was an easy transition to landscape photography, which laid the solid Geek foundation that I've built the rest of my skills upon.”

Following four years of research, the fotoVUE photography guide “Photographing Scotland” written by Dougie, was published in 2017. This is a practical and comprehensive guide to where, when and how to photograph a country recently voted Most beautiful country in the world”.

Whether you are an amateur photographer or professional, or just want to hear more about how Dougie put together such a comprehensive guide book, join us at Three Lochs Festival to hear from the man himself. As with all the authors attending the Festival, Dougie’s book will be available to purchase on the day.

Visit Dougie’s website here:

Ross CollinsRoss Collins - is a highly acclaimed children’s author and illustrator who’s bound to be familiar to anyone with young children. So far he has written about 12 books, and illustrated over 100, many of which are available in at least 20 countries.

Ross is from Glasgow, and received a first in Illustration from Glasgow School of Art, in the same year that he won the MacMillan Children’s Book Prize for his first book “The Sea Hole”. Books such as ‘There’s a Bear on My Chair’, ‘Dear Vampa’, ‘Robot Fumpus!’, ‘Supposing’ and ‘Billy Monster’s Daymare’ have been nominated for and won too many literary prizes to list here. All the organisers at Three Lochs are extremely over-excited about having Ross at our 2018 Festival! Ross will be running workshops on the Friday as part of our School’s Programme, and will also be hosting a family event on Saturday. Many of Ross’s books will be available to purchase (from the Highland Bookshop pop-up shop,, and he’ll be on hand to sign them for fans of all ages.

Find out more about Ross Collins’ work on his website :

Adam Nicolson Adam Nicolson - Three Lochs Book and Arts Festival is very pleased to welcome Adam Nicolson as our new Patron – we are all very excited about meeting him in September, and hearing first-hand about the many varied and interesting projects he’s worked on, some of which have been celebrated in books.

Having said a fond farewell to our former Patron, Alexander McCall Smith following 10 amazing years of support from him, we feel extremely fortunate to have a link to Adam through his family connection to the Ardtornish estate in Lochaline.

Adam is a highly regarded English author who has written about history, landscape, literature and the sea. His first book, ‘The National Trust Guide to Long Walks’ is still receiving rave reviews on Amazon, nearly forty years after publication, and was followed in 1985 by ‘Frontiers - from the Arctic Circle to the Aegean, One Man's Journey Through the Iron Curtain Borderlands’, so Adam clearly enjoys a good long walk. The book Adam may well be best known for is ‘Sea Room’, published in 2001, which tells of his connection to the Shiant Islands which he inherited at the age of 21 and came to know and love well.

Books about the restoration of Windsor Castle following the devastating fire of 1992; a dramatic account of the seven year project to create the King James Bible under the first Stewart ruler of the United Kingdom; about his move to rural Sussex from London, the creation of a home and working farm; about the English gentry, about Homer and his epic poems of war and suffering and the most recent about the plight of ten great national sea-birds ‘The Seabird’s Cry’ – Nicolson’s portfolio of work covers a broad and fascinating range. What unites all of these works is his depth of research, the knowledge he imparts and the joy of subject which comes through them all.

Adam Nicolson may well have inherited Sissinghurst Castle in Kent, if his father hadn’t passed it to The National Trust, but any possible disappointment on that account must have at least in some part been assuaged for Adam through his life-long association with the property, and childhood memories of screaming around the place with his sisters. His grandmother Vita Sackville-West was responsible for creating the magnificent gardens for which Sissinghurst is so well known. His book ‘Sissinghurst – an unfinished history’ tells a little of his work with and alongside The National Trust in helping to define its role and purpose, and his attempts to make it something more meaningful than just a pretty place to visit. A four year partnership led to the 260 acres surrounding the property being turned into a mixed farm, producing meat, fruit, cereals and vegetables for use in the National Trust restaurant.

There is so much to talk about and so little time! We hope you will join us in September to hear Adam talk about these and other projects, when we properly welcome him to our little Festival, and thank him for being our Patron.

More details about Adam’s participation in the Three Lochs Festival 2018 will follow soon.

Anne M ScrivenAnne M Scriven - A writer’s job is to notice the world. To catch in words the qualities, textures, patterns, people, events and emotions at play every day, and this is the art Anne M Scriven has perfected. All three of Anne’s books so far, have provided a gentle examination of people and their interactions, behaviours, responses and relationships, from Anne’s own perspective of owning a dog, working in a bookshop and through life in general in her latest, ‘Cadences’.

In ‘Learning to Listen’, Anne tells the tale of when Sally, a thin black and white Collie from a rescue centre became a member of the family, and irrevocably changed their lives. Overturning all their accumulated wisdom of how to live with dogs, Sally, who had been found running scared on a city street, stretched the tolerance of her new owners to the limit. Charting the first eighteen months of life with a confused dog, ‘Learning to Listen’ also celebrates and reflects on other beloved dogs, is lightly laced with literary references and the textures of daily life but above all illustrates how a seemingly insurmountable problem can reveal itself as an unexpected invitation into a deeper understanding.

‘Provenance: Tales from a Bookshop’ promises to “..make you both smile and sigh and ultimately dissuade you of the belief that it is only bookselling that goes on in a bookshop”. ‘Cadences’ is a memoir of personal noticings illustrated with literary awarenesses from secular and spiritual texts, which charts large and small happenings in and around one woman’s life and argues for an appreciation of the extra/ordinary.

Anne will be leading a workshop for us on Saturday: “Making the everyday extraordinary” which is particularly aimed at anyone interested in developing their abilities in narrative non-fiction. Drawing on the work of her own favourite writers and genres, Anne will discuss writing as contemplation, and how acknowledgement of, and enjoyment of the process can help you to improve.
Anne previously taught secondary school English and has a PhD in Scottish Literature, so is very well placed to lead an invigorating discussion about how to tease out seemingly insignificant observations into entertaining and worthwhile texts.

Angus MacDonald - has lived all his life in the Highlands and is steeped in the folklore. He is passionate about the area, and half way through writing his first book ‘Ardnish was Home’, he and his wife bought Roshven House; from their front door one can see the Ardnish peninsula. Angus served in the local regiment, the Queen’s Own Highlanders, before building a financial publishing company that was sold in 2007. He now has businesses in recycling, renewables and education, and runs the Moidart Trust, a charitable organisation that helps people to develop companies in the West Highlands.

Ardnish was Home tells the tale of young Donald Peter Gillies, a Lovat scout soldier. Whilst lying in hospital in Gallipoli in 1916, blinded by the Turks, he falls in love with his Queen Alexandra Corps nurse, Louise, and she with him.

“Extraordinary. Far more than another wartime love affair. I closed the book with the strong feeling of the importance of kin shire, the need to nurture one another, and the power of love. It will enter your soul” – The Scots Magazine.

“This is a book that is truly enthralling - brutal, poetic, unjust but beautiful… A beautiful yet tragic tale, set in the First World War, Ardnish Was Home kept me captivated throughout and left wanting more at the end. It delivers everything the title implies about family and community in the Scottish Highlands and illustrates that love can be found in the most desperate of circumstances” – The Bookbag

“….a fast-paced narrative with deeply likeable characters … far more than yet another wartime love story … impossible to put down” – Scottish Field

‘We Fought for Ardnish’ is the follow up tale due for publication in July 2018. This book follows the experiences of Donald Angus Gillies, also a Lovat scout soldier, during the Second World War, and Francoise, a young French Canadian SOE agent.

Angus MacDonald will be ‘in conversation’ with Polly Pullar at Three Lochs, talking about his books, his love of this area, and answering questions from the audience.

Bigger & Better
than Ever!

Ajay Close
Alasdair Firth
Angus MacDonald
Anne M Scriven
Dougie Cunningham
Jenny Chapman
Jim Crumley
John D Burns
Louise Jordan
Ross Collins
Scott Kyle
Janis MacKay
Jed Grimes
Adam Nicolson
Polly Pullar


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