Falkirk Storytelling Festival


Thursday 4th October

Emily Dodd – Ollie and the Otter

9.30am Thursday 4 October

The Howgate Shopping Centre, High Street, FK1 1HG

Join author Emily Dodd for a fun-filled, fish-throwing journey through the Cairngorms with Ollie the osprey and his helpful friend Rory the otter. Discover more about the loveable animals that live in the Scottish Highlands and why doing the thing you love makes everything better.


For children under 5 years

Theresa Breslin – Mary, Queen of Scots: Escape from Lochleven Castle

11.00am, Thursday 4 October

The Howgate Shopping Centre, High Street, FK1 1HG

The true story of the daring escape of Mary, Queen of Scots is well-known across the world. Join multi-award-winning author Theresa Breslin to explore her brand new picture book adaptation. This gripping story is packed with historical detail – a perfect way for young readers to get insight into this fascinating period of Scottish history.



Suitable for ages 6-9 years

Chae Strathie – Dear Dinosaur

1.30pm, Thursday 4 October

The Howgate Shopping Centre, High Street, FK1 1HG

Chae Strathie is an award-winning children’s author who grew up in a tiny village surrounded by a forest in central Scotland, which probably explains a lot. A regular at major book festivals, Chae has toured the length and breadth of the UK and visited schools as far afield as Romania, reading his stories, acting the goat and singing silly songs.

For this event he will be reading from his new book Dear Dinosaur: With Real Letters To Read.



For children in P2 to P4.

The Rooftop Writers Showcase

7.00pm, Thursday 4 October

The Old Co-op Studios (top floor), 165 High Street, FK1 1DU

Local writing group, the Rooftop Writers invite you to join them for this taster session. The first half of the event will be a creative writing workshop with special guest, Laura Fyfe, author of the book Wellspring on free-flow writing technique. Later on, the rest of the Rooftop Writers will perform readings from their brand new anthology.

Unfortunately, this venue is accessible only via stairs – there is no lift or escalator. Please bring a notepad and pen with you.

Image courtesy of Sweet Pea Photography.


Ambrose Parry: The Way of All Flesh

2.00pm, Thursday 4 October

Falkirk Library, Hope Street, Falkirk FK1 5AU

Courtesy of Waterstones Falkirk and Falkirk Library, we are delighted to welcome to Falkirk Storytelling Festival Ambrose Parry – the new collaboration between bestselling author Chris Brookmyre and medical historian Marisa Haetzman, with their historical mystery The Way of All Flesh, set in Edinburgh, 1847 – a city of medicine, money and murder.  MORE


Stuart Cosgrove – Harlem 69
Book Launch

7.30pm, Thursday 4 October

Falkirk Trinity Church, Manse Place, FK1 1JN

Falkirk Storytelling Festival brings acclaimed journalist, broadcaster and soul music afficionado, Stuart Cosgrove, to Falkirk. Stuart’s new novel Harlem 69 is the third book in the series ‘The Soul Trilogy’. It tells the story of late 60’s New York when a raid on tenements across the city leads to the arrest of 21 Black Panther party members and one of the most controversial trials of the era.  MORE…


Falkirk Folk Club: Hannah Rarity

8.30pm, Thursday 4 October

Tolbooth Tavern, Tolbooth Street, FK1 1NL

Falkirk Folk Club warmly welcome the BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of The Year 2018 to this year’s Falkirk Storytelling Festival.

Hannah’s hotly anticipated debut album will be released in mid-September.This is sure to be a very special live performance.

The event will take place in an upstairs location and we regret that no lift access is available. Please note that this is a small venue and we are expecting tickets to be in demand so if you would like to attend please book early.


Friday 5th October

Kate McLelland – Isla & Pickle: The Highland Show

9.30am, Friday 5 October

The Howgate Shopping Centre, High Street, FK1 1HG

Join illustrator Kate McLelland for a fun-packed, interactive storytelling and craft session with Isla and her best pal – cheeky Shetland pony Pickle. Wee readers will love meeting this adorable pair and making their very own Pickle to parade as part of the Highland Show. They can even take him home at the end of the session!

Suitable for children from Nursery to P2.

Bookbug at the Falkirk Library

10.30 – 11.00am, Friday 5 October

Falkirk Library, Hope Street, FK1 5AU

Bookbug Sessions are free, fun and friendly events for babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers and their families to enjoy together.

Each session lasts around 30 minutes and includes songs, stories and rhymes. They take place in a very relaxed environment and are a great opportunity to spend some quality time with your little one.

Suitable for babies, toddlers and their families.

Ross MacKenzie – The Elsewhere Emporium

11.00am, Friday 5 October

The Howgate Shopping Centre, High Street, FK1 1HG

In the highly anticipated sequel to The Nowhere Emporium – winner of the Blue Peter Best Story Award – the magical ‘shop from nowhere’ has been stolen! Return to the Emporium with multi-award-winning author Ross MacKenzie and delve into a magical world filled with mystery, intrigue and (of course) a whole host of Wonders!

Suitable for ages 9-12 years.

Lari Don – Spellchasers Trilogy

1.30pm, Friday 5 October

The Howgate Shopping Centre, High Street, FK1 1HG

Enter a world of brilliant magic and extraordinary friendship in the breathtaking Spellchasers trilogy. Meet magical creatures, lift curses and face an evil army in this thrilling fantasy adventure series by award-winning author Lari Don.

Suitable for ages 5-12 years.

Alex Gray + Doug Johnstone

7.00pm, Friday 5 October Event being rescheduled to 6th December 2018 with Alex Gray only

Falkirk Trinity Church, Manse Place, FK1 1JN

We regret that due to unforeseen circumstances, the Alex Gray and Doug Johnstone event is having to be rescheduled and will take place in Trinity Church featuring Alex Gray only on 6th December. It is intended that Doug Johnstone give a separate talk at the same venue in the new year. Trinity Church will provide further updates.


1001 Olive Trees ~ Stories and Songs From Occupied Palestine

7.30pm, Friday 5th October

Erskine Community Halls, South Pleasance Avenue, Falkirk

Following two sell-out shows at the National Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh, San Ghanny Choir (meaning ‘we shall sing’ in Arabic) share songs and stories from their journey to Palestine, portraying people’s everyday lives under occupation. The event is being hosted by the Antonine Friendship Link


Tickets will be available on the door. Tickets can also be reserved in advance via sanghanny@gmail.com

Saturday 6th October

Big Lego Fairytale Build

10.30 – 11.00am, Saturday 6 October

Falkirk Library, Hope Street, FK1 5AU

To celebrate the Storytelling Festival, this special Lego event encourages you to build the setting for your favourite story or fairytale! We’ll supply the bricks, just bring your imagination!

Suitable for ages 5-12 years.

Bookbug ann an Gaidhlig
(Gaelic Bookbug)

11.00am, Saturday 6 October

Falkirk Library, Hope Street, FK1 5AU

It’s a Bookbug Session, but in Gaelic! Whether you’re a Gaelic speaker, learner, or just interested, come along and join in the fun with songs, rhymes, movement and stories.

Suitable for babies, toddlers and their familes.

Elizabeth McKay –  Wee Granny’s Magic Bag and the Pirates

11.00 – noon, Saturday 6 October

The Howgate Shopping Centre, High Street, FK1 1HG

There’s something very special about Wee Granny’s tartan bag. Each time she reaches inside, she pulls out A BIG SURPRISE! In her latest adventure, Wee Granny and the children are going on holiday but… Shiver me timbers! There be pirates ahead! This event is perfect for landlubbers and pirates alike – find out what Scotland’s Mary Poppins will pull out of her bag next!

Suitable for children in Nursery – P2.

An Afternoon of Wizardry and Witchcraft

11.00am – 4.00pm, Saturday 6 October

The Howgate Shopping Centre, High Street, FK1 1HG

A must for all budding wizards and witches. Visit our fun packed afternoon of wizardry including our wand shop and wizarding sweetshop and butterbeer bar – complete with non alcoholic butterbeer, chocolate frogs and magical treats of every flavour! Don’t miss the beans and jelly slugs in our specialised sweet shop. MORE…

The event is free to attend but we are anticipating a busy afternoon of magical happenings. Please help us to estimate numbers by reserving your place here or via the Howgate Help Desk. You won’t require to bring your Eventbrite registration with you on the day.

Raging Goddesses

4.00 – 6.00pm, Saturday 6 October   Ages 16+   

Falkirk Trinity Church, Manse Place, FK1 1JN

We have a jam packed programme of poetry and prose featuring an all‐female line up. Prepare to be empowered!

Joe Allison – A Little Bit of Aloha

7.00pm, Saturday 6 October    Ages 16+

The Acoustic Cafe, 

Step on board for an enchanting evening of storytelling enriched by music and song. Much travelled and well seasoned storyteller Joe Allison brings his collection of stories from journeys around the world, and from some other places too!


Stuart MacBride + Russel D. McLean

7.30pm, Saturday 6 October

Falkirk Trinity Church, Manse Place, FK1 1JN

Join crime writers Stuart MacBride and Russel D MacLean as they share a cheeky tipple.

Stuart is the #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of the Logan McRae and Ash Henderson novels. He’s also published a short story collection, two novellas, and a picture book.

Russel is the author of the “masterpiece of modern noir” (Euro Crime), Ed’s Dead, and the Dundee‐based J McNee novels. He is a crime writer, freelance editor and general miscreant.


Sunday 7th October

Falkirk Storytelling Festival Spy Quest

Spy Quest

11.00am – 3.00pm, Sun 07 Oct

The Howgate Shopping Centre, High Street, FK1 1HG

SECRET AGENTS… Come and join us for a game like no other.

Described as a modern day treasure hunt, it is far more than just a game – it’s an entire immersive adventure game that you can play at hotels and resorts around the world. MORE…

Literary Lounge

1.30 – 4.00pm, Sunday 7 October

The Gin Lounge (upstairs at the Wine Library), 1 Princes Street, FK1 1LS

Come along and enjoy the Sunday Session at The Literary Lounge, where poets and storytellers tap in time wi’ musicians, to weave wonderful tales. A chance to hear some very talented writers and musicians and to be immersed in the wonder of words which will carry you away, surprise you and revive you – just as a guid Sunday session should do!

Disclaimer: There may be some strong content.

The event will take place in an upstairs location. We regret that there is no lift access available.


Archie MacPherson
Adventures in the Golden Age

1.00 – 2.00pm, Sunday  7 October

The Howgate Shopping Centre, High Street, FK1 1HG

This year marks the 20th anniversary since Scotland last qualified for a major football tournament. Adventures in the Golden Age takes us back to many nail-biting moments well worth remembering. Archie recounts a personal account of high profile personality clashes, managerial rages MORE…

Ian Scott in conversation:
75 Years A Bairn

3.00 – 4.00pm, Sunday 7 October

The Howgate Shopping Centre, High Street, FK1 1HG

Falkirk’s well know historian Ian Scott reflects on the changes he’s witnessed in Falkirk over the last 75 years and shares humorous anecdotes about some of the colourful events and characters that have played a part in the history of the Falkirk area.

Join Ian for this insightful look into Falkirk’s past and enjoy the opportunity to ask Falkirk’s historian the questions you’ve always been curious about.

Falkirk Storytelling Festival Alan Bissett

Alan Bissett ‘Moira Monologues’

7.30pm, Sunday 07 October

Behind The Wall, 14 Melville Street, FK1 1HZ

Alan Bissett brings his hilarious original sellout play and Fringe Hit to Falkirk as part of the Falkirk Storytelling Festival 2018. MORE…