THE sixth Tidelines Book Festival will kick off in on Thursday, September 27, bringing crime comedy, history, music and children’s events to Irvine’s Harbourside.

This year’s programme was unveiled last Wednesday by Tidelines chair Melanie Nolan and Marie Blackwood of the Harbour Arts Centre, where the launch took place.

Ayrshire’s David Douglas, a tenor trained at the Royal Scottish Conservatiore, provided music with traditional Scottish folk songs.

The four day festival begins this year with music on the opening night as Tidelines welcomes a traditional music-influenced namesakes Tide Lines, fresh from their sell out tour.

Melanie explained that the festival and the band often received each other’s emails, so a tie up for Tidelines seemed apt.

She added: “We believe we’ve got a great balance of events this year for all tastes.”

Carry on Sleuthing, a troupe of actors comprised of crime writers, will once again wrap up the festival on Sunday, September 30 with their new play Murder at the Knickerage.

The Festival team are delighted to have a book launch as part of this year’s festival, with author Douglas Skelton, former editor of the Cumnock Chronicle, unveiling his new thriller The Janus Run.

There will also be a schools programme and two new events to encourage writers – one for anyone who fancies picking up a pen and another to support those who are already writing.

Those who enjoyed last year’s naughty cocktails and banned books event will love this year’s Fifty Shades of Fiction at Puffers Cafe. Thriller writer Gordon Brown and actress Claire Gray, of Still Game, will host the event, while Nippy Nora dispenses cocktails ‘hidden’ in her teapots.

For family fun, the McDougalls return this year with Singalong Storybook on Saturday at Fullarton Connexions.

Ayrshire historian Dane Love makes a popular return to the HAC to talk about skullduggery and subterfuge invoving the most daring fraudsters in Scotland (The Man Who Sold Nelson’s Column and Other Scottish Frauds and Hoaxes.)

Cameron McNeish will discuss his life from Glasgow childhood to successful broadcaster and journalist, living and working in the beauty of the great outdoors (There’s Always the Hills).

Best-selling author Fiona Gibson will present a workshop with tips on how to start writing to finding a publisher. She will also read from her book The Mum Who’d Had Enough.

The event Pitch and Punt is for new writers to step up to the mic telling their stories to an audience and a panel of supportive professionals.

At the Scottish Maritime Museum, artist Helen Bellany talks about her book The Restless Wave, a candid insight into her life with the artist John Bellany.

The life and career of Nan Shepherd, author of The Living Mountain and whose face graces the new Royal Bank of Scotland £5 notes, is discussed by Erland Clouston, her literary executor in his Zen and the Art of Rucksack Maintenance.

Corinne Squire, co-editor of Voices From the Jungle, Stories from the Calais Refugee Camp, is joined by Majid Adin, as they discuss the extraordinary journeys and hopes of those living in the camp.

Struan Stevenson brings The Course of History, Ten Meals That Changed the World to Tidelines. Many decisions which changed the world were made over a dinner table and his book explores those decisions and the personalities involved.

Kilmarnock-born Graeme Macrae Burney, shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize and winner of the Saltire Society Fiction Book of the Year for His Bloody Project, brings his new mystery book The Accident on the A35 to the festival.

To mark the centenary of Muriel Spark’s birth, Tidelines will welcome Ayrshire’s Janice Galloway to the festival. There’s Something About Muriel, the Genius of Mrs Spark, will discuss the work, wit and no-nonsense style of the acclaimed author.

Current writer for the Sunday Post’s Francis Gay column, David McLaughlan, joins the festival to read and discuss the enduring appeal of the column, a feature of the paper for 117 years – longer than Oor Wullie and The Broons.

Pat Young’s new book, I Know Where You Live, is the sequel to Till the Dust Settles. Hear Pat read from her new book and discuss the scope and setting of the story as it moves from New York to Ayrshire.

Auther Douglas Skelton launches his thriller The Janus Run at the festival at a free event. Described as ‘Jason Bourne meets the Sopranos’ and set in New York, the book sees Coleman Lang dodging bullets and bodies while being chased by the Mob and the Feds.

The festival wraps up with the play Murder at the Knickerage, performed by authors Caro Ramsay, Theresa Talbot Michael Malone and Douglas Skelton. Can the audience spot the killer in this whodunnut full of ad libs, dodgy accents and a pantomime horse?

During the festival West Kilbride’s Timberbooks will run a pop up bookshop at the Harbour Arts Festival.

The full programme is available at and tickets are available from the HAC.