As 2023 rolls into view, here's our selection of 23 piece selection box for the year ahead in the arts


Yellowface by RF Kuang

Still only 26, Chinese American author Rebecca Kuang already has a significant fanbase courtesy of her Poppy Wars fantasy trilogy, which is currently being adapted for television. On top of that she scored one of 2022’s literary hits with Babel, a slice of speculative fiction set in an alternative Oxford of the 1830s. Expect big things then from Yellowface, which delves into what happens when a white author steals a manuscript written by a dead Asian American one and passes it off as her own work. A provocative title for what promises to be an equally provocative read.

May 25 (The Borough Press, £16.99)

The Way Of The Hermit by Ken Smith

Now in his mid-70s, Ken Smith was born in Derbyshire, initially worked as a farmhand there and then moved to Canada’s wild and little-populated Yukon territory, where he indulged his love of solitude and the outdoors. For the last four decades, however, he has lived in a log cabin near Loch Treig in Lochaber with no electricity of running water, catching his own food and living off the land. An assiduous diarist and photographer, he reflects on his hermit’s life in this fascinating memoir.

June 8 (MacMillan, £14.99)

The Making Of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece by Tom Hanks

Yes, it is that Tom Hanks. The actor already has a collection of short stories to his name – Uncommon Type, inspired by his typewriter collection – but this marks his first foray into long-form fiction. Spanning 80 years, it’s a kind of state-of-the-nation tale built on the story of a comic book and its eventual metamorphosis into a star-studded, multi-million-dollar superhero movie. Author Ann Patchett, lucky enough to have seen an advance copy, has praised its “far reaching, multi-layered, rollicking exuberance” and said: “I would have been happy to live inside this book forever.” High praise indeed.

May 9 (Hutchinson Heinemann, £17.99)

Toy Fights: A Boyhood by Don Paterson

Best known as an award-winning poet – he has picked up virtually every prize it’s possible to win – Dundee-born Don Paterson turns memoirist for this recollection of a working-class childhood in which the titular ‘game’ figured large (he describes it thus: “basically twenty minutes of extreme violence without pretext”). Or, if you want the publisher’s blurb: “This is a book about family, money and music but also about schizophrenia, hell, narcissists, debt and the working class, anger, swearing, drugs, books, football, love, origami, the peculiar insanity of Dundee, sugar, religious mania, the sexual excesses of the Scottish club band scene and, more generally, the lengths we go to not to be bored.” What’s not to like?

January 19 (Faber & Faber, £16.99)


Dracula: Mina’s Reckoning

This National Theatre of Scotland extravaganza features an all-female and non-binary cast and transposes the action to Scotland – which, as every card-carrying vampire fan knows, played a leading role in the creation of Bram Stoker’s famous novel in the first place. Expect the strange and the grotesque from this production, set in an Aberdeenshire psychiatric hospital in 1897 and written and created by Morna Pearson and Sally Cookson, who also directs.

Touring to Aberdeen, Glasgow, Stirling, Dundee and Edinburgh (September 8-October 14)

Peaky Blinders: The Redemption Of Thomas Shelby

The acclaimed Rambert dance company brings its equally lauded adaptation of Steven Knight’s hit television drama to Scotland as part of a wide-ranging UK tour. Knight has collaborated with the company on the production, which opens in the Flanders trenches then moves to Birmingham, home of the titular gang. There’s a live band so all the favourites from the soundtrack feature – among them Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds’ rousing Red Right Hand, the show’s opening song – as well as a score from Roman GianArthur. Dancers Naya Lovell and Guillaume Quéau (pictured below) take the roles of Grace and Thomas.

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh (February 28-March 4)



Arctic Monkeys

The all-conquering Sheffield band celebrate 20 years together with this massive Glasgow gig. The frequency of new work has slowed a little in the past decade – Alex Turner and his bandmates have only released two LPs since 2013’s AM – but new album The Car finds them on typically eclectic form. It’s the meatier, guitar-heavy tunes the punters want to hear, but there’s something in the Monkeys’ creative tank to please all musical tastes these days.

Bellahouston Park, Glasgow (June 25)

Tae Sup Wi’ A Fifer

Singer-songwriter James Yorkston’s ‘club’ night – actually a mix of music, stand-up and other assorted performances – leaves its usual home at Kirkcaldy’s Adam Smith Theatre and takes to the road for a mini-Scottish tour. Also on the bus with him are “folk-noir balladeer” Rachel Sermanni, Shetland storyteller and comedian Marjolein Robertson, and one Philip Selway, better known as the drummer with Radiohead. Don’t expect a night of covers, however: Selway has two solo albums to his name and a third one – Strange Dance – due out in February. Yorkston, meanwhile, has an album out on January 13 with Nina Persson, lead singer with The Cardigans, and The Second Hand Orchestra.

Eden Court Theatre, Inverness (February 16); Mareel, Shetland (February 17); Eastgate Theatre, Peebles (February 18); Byre Theatre, St Andrews (February 19)


Billed as The Special Tour this UK jaunt brings the Grammy Award-winning singer and leftfield pop superstar to Glasgow from her US home in support of her fourth studio album, Special, released in July and the follow-up to 2019’s breakthrough work Cuz I Love You. She’s celebrated for her body-positive message and is backed by a huge LGBTQ+ fanbase (she has dubbed them ‘Lizzbians’), but the music stands on its own two feet, a winning blend of hip-hop, disco and sassy R&B. Support for the Glasgow date comes from hotly tipped young British singer Joy Crookes, whose debut album Skin was nominated for this year’s Mercury Prize.

Ovo Hydro, Glasgow (March 8)

Big Joanie

Having opened for St Vincent at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall in June, everyone’s favourite black feminist punk trio returns to Scotland for a gig at Glasgow’s Mono venue next month. Championed by Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, among others, they’re fast throwing off their Best Kept Secret status after signing to US indie label Kill Rock Stars. They released their second album, Back Home, last month. Centred on guitarist and vocalist Stephanie Phillips, with Estella Adeyeri on bass and Chardine Taylor-Stone on drums, they’re a true force of nature. If you’re in luck they’ll wheel out their cover of TLC’s No Scrubs, Solange’s Cranes IN The Sky or (and it would be rude not to under the circumstances) Molly’s Lips by local heroes The Vaselines.

Mono, Glasgow (January 14)


Celtic Connections

For its 30th ‘edition’, the game-changing music festival presents a typically ambitious and wide-ranging programme which features performances by indie faves The Twilight Sad, genre-bending composer Anna Meredith – classical, electro, dance, soundtracks: she does it all – and Malian singer and guitarist Vieux Farka Touré, son of the great Ali Farka Touré. Those are just three names among many appearing at venues across Glasgow. Naturally fans of traditional Scots and Irish music will find plenty to enjoy, and among several mouth-watering collaborations is the teaming up of Gaelic singing trio Sian and Glasgow six-piece TRIP with Dundee-based Scottish Dance Theatre for a show at the Tramway, and a performance by Mercury Prize-nominated jazz pianist Fergus McCreadie in the company of harpist Maeve Gilchrist and Mr McFall’s String Quartet.

Various venues, Glasgow (January 19-February 5)

Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival

Bastille, Travis and leftfield Norwegian pop princess Sigrid headline the 2023 iteration of this much-loved festival, set in the grounds of the Belladrum Estate near Beuly in Inverness-shire. Joining those acts on the bill are KT Tunstall, The Zutons, Alabama 3 and Fatherson among others, with more to be announced in the coming months. The crowd can be quite colourful too (see below).

Belladrum Estate, Inverness (July 27-29)


Glasgow Film Festival

With doubts continuing over whether there will be an Edinburgh International Film Festival next year – watch this space, as they say – Glasgow’s much younger film festival is currently the only game in town. The 2023 edition is centred on the atmospheric Glasgow Film Theatre as ever and will offer a focus on new Spanish cinema, a retrospective strand which includes Jane Campion’s 1993 Oscar winner The Piano and Arthur Penn’s cult 1967 film Bonnie And Clyde, and a 10th anniversary screening of Jonathan Glazer’s Scotland-set sci fi chiller Under The Skin. As an added bonus there will be a live performance by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra of Mica Levi’s mesmerising score for it.

Various venues (March 1-12)


Metallica: 72 Seasons

Nothing to do with football, instead the title of this 11th studio album from the totemic metal band refers to “the first 18 years of our lives that form our true or false selves”, at least according to vocalist and lead guitarist James Hetfield. Two years on from the band’s 40th anniversary, the album release coincides with a 22-date tour with two nights each at cities in America, Canada, Sweden, Germany, Holland and France. No UK dates, sadly.

April 14

Young Fathers: Heavy Heavy

This first album in five years from the Mercury Prize-winning hip-hop experimentalists finds the Edinburgh trio of Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and G Hastings taking a back-to-basics approach. “Heavy Heavy could be a mood, or it could describe the smoothed granite of bass that supports the sound,” the band have said. “Or it could be a nod to the natural progression of boys to grown men and the inevitable toll of living.” In other words, you decide. The band are touring in support of the album, kicking off in Amsterdam and travelling to Belgium, France and Ireland before landing at Glasgow’s O2 Academy for two nights (March 3 and 4) ahead of gigs in Newcastle, Manchester and London.

February 3

Lana Del Rey: Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd

The smoky-voiced chanteuse (pictured below) released two albums in 2021, Chemtrails Over The Country Club and Blue Banisters, and continues that prolific streak with this, her ninth studio album. Expect more dark pop balladry from the acknowledged queen of the form, whose helpmates here include regular Taylor Swift producer and co-writer Jack Antonoff, Tommy Genesis (described by Dazed magazine as “the internet’s most rebellious underground rap queen”) and Father John Misty.

March 10


Lewis Capaldi: Broken By Desire To Be Heavenly Sent

“I don’t want to create a new sound for myself, or reinvent myself,” says the Glaswegian superstar about what is only his second studio album. “The songs I want to write are emotional songs, about love or loss.” This follow-up to 2019’s Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent has already spawned a massive number one smash in Forget Me and its release will mark a frantic year of touring for the 26-year-old. He hits Aberdeen and hometown Glasgow next month – January 23 and 24 to be exact – then heads to Europe before a massive US tour begins in April. Looks like it’s going to be Lewis Capaldi’s year.

May 19


Grayson Perry

The nation’s favourite cross-dressing potter provocateur (pictured below) is given the honour of a major retrospective at Edinburgh’s Royal Scottish Academy next summer. Full details haven’t yet been announced but the show will cover his 40-year career and encompass both the cheeky and (given his interest in class, sexuality and masculinity) the profound. Better known these days for his stints fronting probing TV documentaries, he is also a former winner of the Turner Prize and in 2013 delivered the prestigious Reith Lectures.

Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh (July 22- November 12)



Promising “a radical new look” at tartan, this show takes in everything from the origins and history of our national textile to the way it has been co-opted to the cause of fashion both at the mass market lifestyle end and on the more avant-garde fringes (or should that be pleats). Among the items on display are Christian Hook’s 2014 painting of a tartan bedecked Alan Cumming and examples of kilts from the Keith Kilt School in Moray. The show is notable for being the first major exhibition curated by V&A Dundee itself.

V&A Dundee, Dundee (April 1-January 14 2024)


Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

This latest in the crowd-pleasing spy series was due out in mid-2021, with part two to follow last August. No such luck. And so, over three years after production began and one pandemic later, here comes the seventh film in the M:I franchise. Esai Morales joins the cast as the new baddie, while Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson and, of course, Tom Cruise all return for what is thought to be the actor’s swansong as Ethan Hunt. The director is Christopher McQuarrie, who has promised an epic film “that swallows the rest of the franchise whole.” That’s fighting talk.

July 14


Peaky Blinders star Cillian Murphy takes the title role in this biographical film from Christopher Nolan, whose past triumphs include sci-fi headscratchers Tenet and Inception as well as the Dark Knight trilogy which rebooted the Batman franchise. Robert Oppenheimer was leader of the fabled/notorious Manhattan Project, a research and development push at the secret Los Alamos laboratory in California during the second half of world war two which resulted in the invention of the atomic bomb. A gloomy kind of summer blockbuster, but appropriate to the times, perhaps. Emily Blunt plays Oppenheimer’s wife, Katherine, and joining her in the all-star cast are Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Florence Pugh, Rami Malek, Kenneth Branagh and (playing US President Harry S Truman) Gary Oldman.

July 21


Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie star as Ken and Barbie in this live action film based on the toy doll and her world. Uber-hip actor-director Greta Gerwig is behind the camera and the cast also features Scotland’s own Ncuti Gatwa (aka the new Doctor Who). It’s the latest in a long list of collaborations between Gerwig and partner Noah Baumbach, though where he once directed and she wrote and starred (see Frances Ha and Mistress America), her success with directorial debut Lady Bird and its follow up Little Women have put her centre stage. Will this be the super silly day-glo hit of the summer?

July 21

Dune: Part II

Another casualty of the pandemic was Denis Villeneuve’s reboot of sci-fi classic Dune, which didn’t hit the cinemas until late 2021. This second instalment picks up with Timothée Chalamet’s Paul Atreides now having joined the Fremen – a band which includes Chani (Zendaya Coleman), the mysterious blue-eyed girl he sees in his dreams – and preparing to take on the might of House Harkonnen from his lair in the inhospitable desert of Dune. Florence Pugh and Christopher Walken join returning cast members Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin and Stellan Skarsgard.

November 3