For a venue better know for its sex, drugs and rock n roll lifestyle, the legendary Pikes Hotel hosted the islands very first Literary Festival last week. The two day event opened on Tuesday September 11 with a select, Ibiza themed panel which included well known Scottish wordsmiths, Irvine Welsh, John Irvine, Neil Forsyth and English author, Stephen Armstrong, best known for his definitive reference book on Ibiza, The White Island. The brainchild of, Dawn Hindle, wife of Pikes owner, Andy McKay, The Ibiza Literary Festival was certainly a random punt in the dark, as Ibiza is not known for its literary talent. As Neil Forsyth alluded to in one of his informative discussions on Ibiza literary culture, “many famous writers lived in Ibiza, but few wrote any books on an island where a worn typewriter ribbon remains a rare find”.

Irvine Welsh by Zowy Voeten Diario de Ibiza

Amid the writing workshops, artistic performances, expert insights and outdoor cinemas there was an air of intellectuality permeating the old pirate walls of Pikes. A highlight was an impressive performance by the Theatre of The Ancients group, which treated us to a Tanit inspired show, with beautiful singing from its founder Joanna Hurby. Self publishing guru, Matt Trollope, who penned a readable version of Tony Pikes life entitled, The Story Behind The Ibiza Legend, was on hand with Jaqi Loye Brown, to promote the advantages of self publishing, a culture that John Niven felt bypassed the classic route to publishing of redrafts, editorial knockbacks and the ability to rewrite a story under constructive feedback from literary experts. Although he was due to appear on the second day of the festival, in true Ibiza fashion the legend Tony Pike did not show, but we did get to hear about the time George Michael rogered him in the toilets of Pikes when they were recording the video Club Tropicana back in 1983, a few years before Tony reportedly contracted aids from Freddie Mercury.

John Niven and Ibiza Quills Founder Sara Smith at Pikes.

Both in depth discussions with Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh and Kill Your Friends writer, John Niven, revealed completely different styles, methods, thinking and approach in their writing, which was very interesting to listen to. I must say, I did not expect to learn so much in the space of two days and it was really refreshing to indulge in the relaxed and social atmosphere surrounding the event. Much to their credit, all the authors were accessible to the public, enjoying a few beers at the poolside bar and interacting with guests of the Hotel. The first night was the busiest with nearly 200 people in attendance as it featured an outdoor screening of Welsh’s classic movie Trainspotting. Attendance figures were down on the second night but organisers will be more than pleased with the way the event was received and it looks to have bags of potential for next year. Well done to all concerned.

Barefooted Author Stephen Armstrong reading from his book The White Isle. Credit: Zowy Voeten Diario de Ibiza

P.S Ibiza Literary group Ibiza Quills is still receiving entries for its short story and poetry competition, with its closing date soon.