Aspiring writers in Helensburgh are being urged to take up a “great opportunity” to learn how to pitch their work and advance their careers.

The event forms part of a packed programme of events at 'Reading Minds', the town's very own book festival.

The 'Dragon's Den' style pitching session on Saturday, March 23 kicks off at 12pm and allows participants to have a chance to quiz an expert panel and hear how they successfully published their work.

Local author and event chair Robin Scott-Elliot said: “Being able to pitch your story swiftly, clearly, and convincingly is an absolute key first step towards becoming a published author.

"You have to be able to do it. You need to be brave to stand up and make your case.

“I really do admire anyone with the guts to do this, but if you want to get that story published this is something you’re going to have to do one day.

“The Helensburgh Book Festival is offering local writers the chance to have a go at this in a friendly, supportive environment – hopefully we can offer some significant guidance or advice or encouragement.

“This is a great opportunity. We’d love to see writers coming to the Hub to take the next step towards becoming a published author.”

There is a limited number of five-minute slots on offer at the event, for writers to outline a project to the panel and audience.

Writers can sell their story with a pitch or read a short extract before taking questions from the panel and audience.

Afterwards, the panel can offer advice as to where to go with your literary project or how to improve it.

The festival’s programme features a variety of Scottish authors who have written work for both children and adults.

Among them are Callum McSorley, whose debut novel, Squeaky Clean, won the prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year 2023, and award-winning writer and journalist Roger Hutchinson, whose book Polly, The True Story Behind Whisky Galore, comes out next month.

Reading Minds is a partnership between Helensburgh Community Hub, Jean’s Bothy, and Helensburgh and Lomond Carers Centre and takes place from 22-24 March.

Other events include Glasgow-based author Kirsty Logan appearing with the co-host of the Teenage Scream podcast Heather Parry, and the National Library of Scotland’s former Scots Scriever writer-in-residence Shane Strachan will host a poetry workshop.

Anyone interested in applying for a pitch slot should contact

More information on the book festival can be found at @HburghBookFest on X (formerly Twitter), at the Helensburgh Book Festival page on Facebook, and at the official festival page on,