Falkirk Storytelling Festival 2017

Well, I’m almost back to earth again, a week after the conclusion of Falkirk Storytelling Festival 2017. The festival ran from 21st to 24th September, and I think for the whole weekend my feet never touched the ground. With so many amazing events going on over the weekend, I just didn’t have time to attend them all! I missed out on Chris Brookmyre on the Thursday evening, although I did meet him a few weeks ago, and he gave me some writing advice. I was also gutted to miss Alan Bissett’s More Moira Monologues. I did get to host my very own event though and got to take part in some amazing spoken-word events over the course of the festival.

The festival was much more than just literature and spoken word though, with numerous musical events happening throughout the weekend, storytelling events for children, and guided historic walks. I love the idea of combining all aspects of storytelling – whether it be poetry or song – into one festival. The festival really went to lengths to incorporate and include everyone, and the whole weekend had a really great vibe.


Here are some of my own personal highlights:

Rooftop Writers Present: Give it Your Best Shot

The main event of the weekend for me, because I was the host! I was glad to be up on Friday night at the start of the weekend, which meant that afterwards I could just relax and enjoy the rest of the festival. Anyone who has ever organised an event will know that it is one of the most stressful things you can ever do! I had a number of performers pull out at the last minute and had new performers asking to take part, but luckily it all worked out well in the end. I have been involved in putting on events in the past, but this was my first time going it alone, so I was under huge pressure to make things run smoothly. Although, saying that, I had help from all the members of my writing group, the Rooftop Writers, who all came along to support in any way they could – whether it was to take part, organise the tech setup, bring food for the buffet, or just show face and offer a lending hand. Everyone chipped in and put on a fantastic show.

Ailie Wallace Fakirk Storytelling Festival

Photo courtesy of Sweet P Photography / The Write Angle

First prize went to Dave Watson for his reading of Tam O’Shatner, a humorous take on the Burns poem of a similar name, except this version explored what would happen if Captain Kirk came to Glasgow.

My favourite part of the evening was when I announced that Farzana Manzoor had won 2nd Prize. It was her first time ever reading in public, so it was a huge surprise to her, although the prize was well-deserved. I first met Farzana on a writing course last year, and another member of the group had persuaded her to take part. I’m so glad she did!

The Write Angle’s An Exchange of Words

The idea behind the “Exchange of Words” is that you swap pieces with a writer you admire, and read each others’ work. This led to some fantastic and unexpected moments, as you never really know what you’re going to get. For me, I was even more nervous about reading Gary McKenzie’s poetry than I would have been reading my own stuff. I just wanted to make sure I did it justice, and thankfully, Gary seemed pleased. He returned the favour by doing a fabulous reading of a new short story I’ve been working on.

Ailie Wallace Falkirk Storytelling Festival

Gary McKenzie
Image courtesy of Sweet P Photography / The Write Angle

Some of the other standout moments were Rose Ann Fraser Ritchie performing the poetry of Marilyn Monroe – none of us knew she wrote poetry – and Suzanne Egerton reading the work of Dominic Berry, which informed us of the delights of Kevin Costner’s bottom! The afternoon was hosted by the fabulous Katharine MacFarlane: not only does she write the most beautiful poetry, but she was also dressed in pink fairy lights, so how could it get any better than that!?

Ailie Wallace Falkirk Storytelling Festival

Katharine MacFarlane
Image courtesy of Sweet P Photography / The Write Angle

Janet Crawford’s Newsflash @ The Literary Lounge

If you thought going along to storytelling events all weekend would get a bit samey then you’re wrong, as Janet’s event managed to bring something completely different. The location in a trendy wine and gin bar meant that the afternoon was the opportunity to chill out and enjoy some good music, good poetry, and good wine.

Ailie Wallace Falkirk Storytelling Festival

Janet Crawford
Image courtesy of Sweet P Photography / The Write Angle

The event featured Loud Poet, Katie Ailes, Lloyd Robinson, as well as music from the Lazy Boys of Banknock, and some open mic performers. It was a very sophisticated Sunday afternoon, and a great way to round off a tremendous weekend.

And as if I wasn’t busy enough with all of the above, I also made it to a Bookbugs rhymetime event with my daughter, and I went on a historical walking tour of Falkirk. I couldn’t have fitted more in if I’d tried.

Sunday afternoon drinks at the Literary Lounge. Two of my favourite things – #literature and #wine #fstf17

A post shared by Ailie Wallace (@ailiewallace) on

Having been on the arts scene for the past couple of years, it’s great to see Falkirk finally appearing on the map. We had a whole load of performers and audience members from Glasgow, Edinburgh and beyond, and I made lots of new friends during the festival. Hopefully, they will spread the word of how vibrant and exciting things are here in Falkirk. Next year’s event can only get bigger and better, and I can’t wait!

Here’s a video of everything that went on during the festival, courtesy of the official Falkirk Storytelling Festival Facebook page:

You can also find out more here:

Falkirk Storytelling in pictures (Falkirk Herald)

Falkirk Storytelling Festival website

Related Posts:

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My Proudest Moments As A Writer So Far

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