Ayrshire's Tidelines Book Festival will be celebrating its 10th anniversary with a cracking line up of authors next month.

The North Ayrshire festival, which runs from September 21 to 24, will include appearances from Elaine C Smith, Pat Nevin, Sally Magnusson, Catherine Czerkawska, James Crawford, Liam McIlvanney - plus a very special event celebrating Andrew O’Hagan’s Irvine-set bestseller Mayflies. 

“Mayflies: To Irvine With Love” is a tribute to the book and now award-winning BBC drama, which follows a group of Irvine teenagers on a roadtrip to Manchester then meets them again 30 years later.

The bestselling author, who was raised in Irvine and is also the festival’s patron, will discuss the role of the town in his story and the challenges of bringing it to the screen.

He will then be joined on stage by pupils from Greenwood Academy, who will perform sections from the BBC script and bring the young Ayrshire voices to life.

The event will be chaired by former First Minister and noted supporter of Scottish literature, Nicola Sturgeon MSP.

Irvine Times: Elaine C SmithElaine C Smith (Image: Tidelines)

The following night O’Hagan will also interview his friend – and one of the stars of the Mayflies miniseries – Elaine C Smith, in a candid, funny and frank evening during which the national treasure charts her life through the books she has loved.

The festival “kicks off” with a game of two halves, as footballer, manager and pundit Pat Nevin and Tartan Noir author/lifelong Kilmarnock FC fan Liam McIlvanney take turns to interview each other about their latest books, Football and How To Survive It and The Heretic (there will, of course, be a half-time pie for all audience members).

Irvine Times: Pat NevinPat Nevin (Image: Tidelines)

At the other end of the spectrum, comedian Sarah Grant will take audiences on a funny, feminist journey through pop-culture portrayals of plus-sized women from Fat Monica in Friends to The Vicar of Dibley with an event centred round her new book Fat Girl Best Friend, including live music by Nyla Ahmad.

History - familial, local, and Scottish - is very much up for discussion in this year’s festival.

Irvine Times: Sally MagnussonSally Magnusson (Image: Tidelines)

Sally Magnusson reads from her new novel Music In The Dark, based on her great-grandmother’s life. Catherine Czerkawska and Eleanor Thom discuss their new books on their family histories, The Last Lancer and Connective Tissue.

Scotland From The Sky presenter James Crawford presents a unique exploration of off-the-beaten-track sites across the length and breadth of Scotland in his new book Wild History, while Professor Alan Riach blends poetry, art, biography and national history in a talk about Scots poet Hugh MacDiarmid with The McDiarmid Memorandum.

Irvine Times: Liam McIlvanneyLiam McIlvanney (Image: Tidelines)

Audiences are also offered a chance to experience old Irvine literary history with a costumed walking tour from the former site of Templeton’s Bookshop to the Wellwood Museum, home of the Irvine Burns Club.

For those wanting to delve a little deeper into themselves instead, author Michael Malone will lead a workshop in writing for wellbeing.

Two sold-out Tidelines Taster events, with John Niven and Judy Murray, will take place ahead of the festival on August 25 and September 11 respectively.

There’s also lots for younger book worms to do, with an interactive storytelling and drama workshop around the classic The Tiger Who Came To Tea and a gentle session for really little ones with the creator of CBeebies’ lovely animated series Hushabye Lullabye, Sacha Kyle.

Irvine Times: Michael MaloneMichael Malone (Image: Tidelines)

Meanwhile, the ‘Tidelines Ten’ programme of free visits for schools will run in the weeks around the festival, bringing Graeme Armstrong, author of the Lanarkshire gang-life novel The Young Team and recently named one of the 20 best novelists under 40 in the Granta list, to senior pupils in Ardrossan, Irvine and the Garnock Valley.

Local author Alan Dapre will visit primary schools in Cumbrae, Kilbirnie and Stevenston with his new book Grizzly Ben, as well as hosting a special session for three Irvine schools at the HAC, while children’s writer Amy B Moreno will bring her fabulous bi-lingual picture book A Billion Balloons of Questions to two further primary schools.

Andrew O’Hagan, Tidelines’ patron, said: “It was Robert Burns who noted that “Irvine’s bairns are bonnie, a’”. What he didn’t say is that bairns grow up, and some grow bonnier than others!

"Tidelines Book Festival is 10 years old this year and a brawer wee seaside festival of books you will not find.

"In that decade, with the help of volunteers, funders, supporters and audiences, Tidelines has survived all the great challenges to become a vital part of the local cultural landscape in Ayrshire, in Scotland, and beyond.

"As Patron, I have been incredibly proud to watch it grow.”

Siobhan Staples, Tidelines co-ordinator, said: "The past few years have been extremely challenging for live events, so we’re extra delighted to be celebrating a whole decade of bringing live literature to North Ayrshire in 2023. And what a celebration it’s going to be!

"If you’ve never tried a book festival before this could be the year to dip your toe in, and with tickets for some events from as little as £6 it needn’t break the bank either.

"We’re also delighted to be celebrating our 10th anniversary with ‘Ten for Tidelines’ - ten free author sessions for schools across North Ayrshire in the weeks around the festival, with the help of some generous sponsorship from Specsavers in Irvine.

"During the festival weekend Waterstones, Ayr will also be running a pop-up bookshop in the HAC - you never know, there might even be an author around to sign it for you.”

Most of the events are based at Harbour Arts Centre in Irvine. Full information and tickets can be found at tidelinesbookfestival.com.