CoastWord began in 2013 as The Wee Fest of Words, part of Dunbar's wonderful Civic Week, the festival was inspired by a conversation at the school gates between local writer Hannah Lavery and convener of Civic Week Sue Anderson. In 2014, we were supported by Sue to gain funding and established ourselves as CoastWord with the support of the community council and the National Lottery. In 2015, we established our hub with the Dunmuir Hotel with Creative Scotland and Dunbar Library support, in 2016 and with continued support from Creative Scotland we had another wonderful festival introducing an artist residency with the amazing poet Rachel McCrum. The success of this first residency led to residencies becoming central to what we do with the 2017 residencies taken up by Catherine Simpson and Kirsty Law and in 2018, Karen Dietz, Roxana Vilk and Janice Galloway. 

This year, 24th-26th May, we are hoping to bring you another unforgettable weekend of words and music in our beautiful Dunbar.

This year the festival will explore the theme: Scotland 2019, through discussions, talks and performance with distinguished historians, songwriters and writers whose work explores and reflects the social and cultural changes in Scotland and how Scotland, her characters and political and cultural climate affects and influences their work. 

CoastWord, is managed by founder Hannah Lavery and an enthusiastic group of volunteers. We work very hard to create a friendly festival to inspire and support our community and our many visitors in their enjoyment of stories, poetry and song.


CoastWord festival has a strong, double-stranded ethos: with an emphasis on inclusivity - whether that be age range, gender, background, ethnicity - this festival aims to support and nurture local and emerging talent whilst inviting established writers and performers to share their work and be inspired by Dunbar.


‘The essence of creating community through sharing stories was wonderful and grass roots story making alongside published authors enhanced the festival.’


‘A welcoming and beautifully located celebration of words spoken, printed and sung; delivered with impressive verve and warmth’