Bookends Festival doubles visitor numbers

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Numbers of visitors to Benderloch Book Festival doubled this year.

Organisers have hailed the literary week and its fringe event a huge success.

It will be back with more in 2019, including an author living in Inverarary who wrote the Hayes Manuel for astronauts.

Bookends founder Joy Cameron said: ‘Once again there will be something for everyone. Poetry to storytelling, broadcasters to journalists even a man who is an expert on astronauts.’

She added: ‘We’ve had wonderful feedback from visitors and authors. We are quite diverse for a little festival. We don’t follow a theme. I’m absolutely delighted that people who came have all said what a great festival we have here. Some people just came to read a book, others came to five or six events.

‘We counted 1,400 people in but there were many who we didn’t count coming through the doors! We’ve easily doubled numbers from last year. We’ve had audiences of 80 plus for some events.’

Author Morven-May MacCallum who spoke about her book Finding Joy and visited pupils at Oban High School as part of the festival’s outreach programme said: ‘It was my absolute pleasure to be a part of this incredible festival and outreach programme.

‘Organised by the warmest, most welcoming, revolutionary group of people…you can’t help but feel at home in this kind community. I can’t wait to see what Bookends will expand into next. Bookends is a festival that I feel very proud to have been a part of.’

The Fringe ended on Friday with a performance by singer songwriter Chris Bennett and then a 101_style rant from a Grumpy Old Women panel bolstered by audience participation putting the world to rights.

And as part of the grand finale, there was a surprise for the Victory Hall’s veteran volunteer barman Gordon Cruickshank of Hillside, Benderloch.

Each year Mr Cruickshank’s support is rewarded with a celebration, this year festival organisers commissioned a special tune in his honour from world champion piper Angus MacColl who rounded off the night with it.