Literary lineup to include Gail Porter & Irvine Welsh – Fringe by the Sea
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Literary lineup to include Gail Porter & Irvine Welsh


Fringe By The Sea, Scotland’s freshest festival which is held in North Berwick (6-15 August 2021) has added some more exciting names to its line-up for this year’s event which will see live audiences being entertained in Covid-secure environments.  Edinburgh-born TV presenter and author Gail Porter will be appearing on Friday 6th August talking about her career and reflecting on how Covid has affected her personally.

Gail Porter said: “I am beyond excited to come to this year’s Fringe by the Sea Festival.  Having spent lockdown in my hometown of London throughout the pandemic, I am desperate to return to Scotland to see some friendly faces and green spaces.

“I look forward to sharing my personal story with people coming to this year’s event.  So many of us have struggled with our mental health during the pandemic, so it’s important to talk about it and support each other.  Then shake it off on the dance floor with the mighty Basement Jaxx later that night!”

This session is presented by Speaker Buzz, the purpose-led motivational speaker agency dedicated to improving people’s wellbeing and protecting the planet.  The event will be hosted by Jennifer Crichton, editor and founder of The Flock online magazine.

Fringe By The Sea has continued to see its literary events grow in popularity and is pleased to announce the first of this year’s authors who will be appearing in North Berwick.  Irvine Welsh, one of Scotland’s most high-profile writers, will be talking about his life and work on 14th August.

Irvine Welsh said: “The prospect of a live event with an audience is a joyful one, and North Berwick is top draw as a location for it. There’s plenty to chat about and I’m looking forward to having some fun with the good people at Fringe by the Sea.”


Paul Murton, presenter of the acclaimed BBC series Grand Tours of Scotland, Grand Tours of the Scottish Islands and a forthcoming series Grand Tours of Scotland’s Lochs has a new book – The Highlands.  Packed with history and anecdotes, this is a beautifully illustrated account of his journeys the length and breadth of the spectacularly beautiful Scottish Highlands.

Award-winning writer and doctor Gavin Francis discusses two of his books at Fringe by the Sea. Intensive Care: a GP, a Community, & Covid-19 is a deeply touching account of caring for a society in crisis follows the effects of Covid-19 in both urban and rural communities through the eyes of a GP, based in Edinburgh and working in Orkney. In Island Dreams – Mapping an Obsession, Gavin examines our collective fascination with islands. He blends stories of his own travels with psychology, philosophy and great voyages from literature, shedding new light on the importance of islands and isolation in our collective consciousness.

Helen McClory, regarded as one of the most talented, innovative and original new fiction voices of the decade will be discussing her exciting and much-anticipated new novel, Bitterhall.  Her first collection of stories won the Saltire First Book of the Year award and McClory has been recognised as an incredible talent by some of the most successful and respected authors in the world – she’s a favourite of Ali Smith, and Margaret Atwood described her writing as ‘Shiny dark liquorice mind candy: nothing quite like them’.

One of Scotland’s most loved arts festivals, last month East Lothian’s Fringe by the Sea announced preliminary plans for its return this summer with support from master partners North Berwick Trust, Belhaven Brewery and DC Thomson Media.

Further support comes from community partners SSE Renewables, The Lighthouse North Berwick, Mactaggart & Mickel and Marine Hotel & Lawn.

Tickets are already selling fast for Candi Staton, Basement Jaxx, Janey Godley, Peat & Diesel, The Blues Band and The Poozies. A number of events are already sold out. Please check for details and follow links to register for Waiting List tickets.

Further funding and services from Event Scotland, East Lothian Council and other partners including Scottish Seabird Centre, Shaw Marketing, Signman, Scotland Loves Local, The List, East Lothian Courier, Gilsland Park, Citizen Tickets and McInroy & Wood have also been critical to the festival’s return.

The festival aims to work with many local groups such as NB in Bloom, NB Coastal Area Partnership, East Lothian Library Services, NB Harbour Trust, Edington Cottage Hospital, NB Community Centre and many others throughout the region to make 2021 the best Fringe by the Sea yet.

One of the main changes visitors to Fringe by the Sea will notice is the use of new spaces across the town, with outdoor (mostly covered, sideless marquees and stretch tents) auditoriums enabling social distancing for audiences of up to 500 people – the current guidelines being given by the Scottish Government for event planners. All events will be run in line with Covid-19 protocols and guidance.

FBTS21 Zones will include:

  • The North Berwick Trust Harbour Home (at the harbour)
  • The Live Session stages (in Lodge Gardens and at the harbour)
  • The SSE Renewables Science festival (on Anchor Green)
  • Kids Playroom (at the harbour)
  • The Marine Masterclass Lounge (at the Marine Hotel & Lawn)
  • The Bookshelf (in library car park)


The Harbour Home of the festival will become a focal point for artists and artisans from East Lothian and beyond to showcase their products from delicious street food and quality ales to handcrafted goods and artistic creations, complementing the artist huts already found at the harbour. The area will also feature a stage for visitors to enjoy music from bands, choirs and DJs and an interactive area for youngsters.

Commenting on the plans for August, Festival Director Rory Steel, said: “Having announced that we have laid plans to return this summer with some acts who were programmed last year we are really pleased to bring this group of writers and presenters to North Berwick.

“We have been hugely encouraged by the support shown to us by our sponsors and grant funding bodies, with special thanks to Belhaven Brewery, DC Thomson, Event Scotland and North Berwick Trust for their significant commitments.” added Rory.

Andy Williams, Chief Revenue Officer at DC Thomson Media said: “It is an absolute pleasure for DC Thomson Media to be partners of the 2021 Fringe by the Sea. Given the challenges 2020 brought us all – not least a cancelled Fringe by the Sea last year – it is encouraging to begin thinking about, and looking forward to, this summer’s long-awaited and much-loved outdoor event.

“As media partners of the arts festival, we will bring you exclusive news and features across many of our titles and, as well as having a presence at the event, we will showcase how festival organisers have given great consideration to public safety as they bring this fantastic outdoor event back to the streets, parks and outdoor spaces of the stunning location that is North Berwick.”

The Fringe by the Sea website ( has undergone a major refresh with more details of this year’s event listed. Further updates will be added regularly as plans evolve, and those wishing to partake – from volunteering to paid jobs and trader pitches to performing – can find out how they can get involved.


For further information, photography or interview, please contact:

Fiona Duff 07710 419762

T: @fringebythesea2

F: @fringebythesea2

I: @fringebythesea