An impressive line-up of creative talent has been announced for this year’s Booked! festival run by West Dunbartonshire Libraries and Cultural Services.

Several events will take place in Dumbarton, Alexandria, Balloch and Gartocharn during the six-day festival starting in May.

Richard Holloway, the Scottish writer, broadcaster and cleric, who was brought up in Alexandria, will start the festival by delivering the Alastair Pearson Lecture in the Millennium Hall, Gartocharn, on Tuesday 14 May at 7pm.

Richard’s talk “Waiting for the Last Bus: Reflections on Life and Death” will explore death and how we can come to terms with it.

Polly Clark, who made a huge impact with her debut novel, Larchfield, is coming to Alexandria Library on Friday, May 17 at 7pm when she will discuss Tiger, her latest novel.

Mara Menzies, a leading storyteller and storymaker, will be at Alexandria Library on Saturday, May 18 at 11am.

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Mara loves to bring African stories to life and share tales with people of all ages and backgrounds. This session is suitable for children aged from six to 10.

Journalist and author Madeleine Bunting is making her first Booked! appearance in Dumbarton Library on Saturday, May 18 at 2pm, when she will talk about her debut novel, Island Song, which explores the experiences of Channel Islanders during the German Occupation.

Northern Irish author Wendy Erskine will also be at Dumbarton Library on Saturday May 18 at 4pm to present “Sweet Home”.

This is Wendy’s short story collection which has garnered much critical praise.

Meanwhile, at Balloch Library on Sunday, May 19 at 2pm, lovers of the natural world will not want to miss Dan Richards who will be talking about his book Outposts which looks at our relationship with the wilderness.

Also on Sunday, May 19, Richard Maclean Smith will present “Unexplained” at Balloch Library at 4pm.

Richard has a huge following for his Unexplained podcasts which is about strange and mysterious real life events.

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He will be discussing his book of the same name.

In addition, the Booked! Schools events complement the main programme and ensure that the West Dunbartonshire secondary pupils have the opportunity to experience top authors.

The Booked! Schools programme features events by John Young who won the 2019 Scottish Teenage Book Prize with Farewell Tour of an Eternal Optimist and SM Wilson who was shortlisted with The Extinction Trials for the same prize.

Councillor Ian Dickson, the council’s convener of corporate services, said: “The Booked! festival is a very popular event and tickets for this free event always go fast.

“This year we have a fantastic line up of exceptional talent and I would urge people to book their tickets now.”

Tickets can be booked at

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