Wigtown Book Festival 26 September – 5 October 2014

Scotland’s most innovative book festival celebrates its 16th year with its largest, most diverse programme to date. Taking place just a week after the independence referendum, Wigtown will, whatever the outcome of the vote, become a place for surveying Scotland’s changed political landscape.

The 2014 Wigtown Book Festival features more than 200 events over 10 days, including appearances by Kate Adie, Clare Balding, Margaret Drabble, Linda Grant, Jonathan Miller, Graeme Obree,Clare Short and Kirsty Wark.

The boutique festival will spread into the streets of Scotland’s National Book Town and the surrounding Dumfries and Galloway countryside. In addition to traditional author events and debates, the programme features farm and castle visits, cycling under the stars, whisky-tasting, food-foraging and a spectacular procession devised by artists’ collective The Stove. The procession will arrive by water across the Solway Firth and culminate in the creation of foundry at the heart of the town (Sat 27 Sept).

Visitors can also watch film adaptation of classic novels in a specially created 1950s-style cinema, attend nightly bedtime readings complete with hot chocolate, and be the only member of the audience for a special adaptation of Sara Maitland’s book How To Be Alone.

This year’s programme strands include Living Lowlands, an exploration of the distinct landscape, history and culture of rural southern Scotland and Book Ends, a celebrations of bookshops and readers through suppers, quizes, talks and theatrical happenings. Visual art, theatre and the best of Scottish food and drink are once again part of this ten day celebration.

A packed programme of evening events features theatre from John Sessions; comedians Fred MacAulay, Robin Inceand Francesca Martinez; music from the Kosmos Ensemble and the Bevvy Sisters; and renowned traditional singer Anne Lorne Gillies. Visual arts also permeates the festival including work from Spring Fling artist-in-residence Anupa Gardner and Natalie McIlroy’s Pippin project, which will celebrate Galloway’s ancient and now rare apple variety. The Pippin project will culminate with some 30 pippin trees being planted in gardens across Wigtown.

The Pippin Project is part of 2014’s central strand, Living Lowlands, a celebration of the distinct culture, landscape and history of southern Scotland – from Rabbie Burns and Sir Walter Scott to Galloway’s own SR Crockett and the great Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov, who traced his ancestry to the Borders.

Other taking part in the adult programme include fiction writers Anne Donovan, Kerry Hudson, Bernard McLaverty, Allan Massie, Natalie Haynesand Rachel Seiffert; nature writers Helen Macdonald and Dave Goulson; biographers and memoirists Damian Barr, Richard Benson, Henry Marsh, Chris Stewartand Anthony Sattin; historians Archie Brown, Michael Fry, Kenan Malik and Ben Shephard; and broadcasters Allan Little, Sally Magnusson, Ian Robertson, Angus Roxburghand Sarah Smith.

As ever, the festival will feature a dedicated teenage programme (supported by the Holywood Trust) and an extensive children’s programme. Among the children’s authors and illustrators appearing are Philip Ardagh, Steven Butler, Petr Horacek, Alice Melvin, Jonathan Meres, Shoo Rayner, Kristina Stephensonand Jamie Thomson.

Festival director Adrian Turpin said: “Scotland’s international image is often predominantly a Highland one. This year’s festival proof that the culture of Scotland’s rural Lowlands is just as vibrant. We’ve tried to produce a programme that is irreverent, intelligent and intimate – a literary party that is outward-looking but also responds to the place and people of this wonderful part of the country.

“We would like to thank all our supporters, especially the ScottishPower Foundation, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Creative Scotland, EventScotland and the Foyle Foundation for their support they have shown us this year which has been essential to the festival’s growth and success.”

Ann Loughrey, Executive Officer and Trustee at the ScottishPower Foundation, said: “The ScottishPower Foundation is proud to sponsor one of the UK’s best-loved literary events. It is fantastic to be part of such a culturally rich festival that caters for everyone, and we are especially excited to be involved in a project that is created by young people, for young people.

“The ScottishPower Foundation is committed to supporting community programmes that inspire young people to get more out of education, arts, culture and science and we’re looking forward to another successful year at Wigtown.”

Councillor Colin Smyth, Dumfries and Galloway Council Events Champion, said: “The Wigtown Book Festival is always stimulating and thoughtful. There is a terrific line up of talent for the 2014 edition, with something for everyone, and that will encourage thousands of visitors to flock to Wigtownshire. The Council is proud to support the festival because we are so aware of its benefits to Wigtown, including the direct economic impact of more than £2million it generates for the regional economy”.

Michael Russell, Education Secretary, said: “Now in its 16thyear, the Wigtown Book Festival offers a rich and stimulating programme of events over 10 days, celebrating a wide array of literary work across genres, in the beautiful setting of Wigtown, in the heart of Dumfries and Galloway. The festival is of enormous cultural and economic importance to this area in the lowlands of Scotland, and its success has attracted thousands of visitors and generated much to the local economy. I would like to congratulate the organisers and sponsors of this fine event for the continued success of the festival.”

A PDF of the full programme can be downloaded fromwww.wigtownbookfestival.com

About Wigtown Book Festival History

The festival is now one of the largest in the UK and the second largest in Scotland after Edinburgh. Set up more than a decade ago to help regenerate an economically disadvantaged rural community, the event now contributes more than £2 million a year to the regional economy. Since becoming a charity in 2007, Wigtown Book Festival has more than doubled in size and won two national awards, a VisitScotland Thistle, the Arts & Business Scotland Community Award, and the inaugural Creative Places Award for communities under 2,000 people. The area around Wigtown has some of the darkest night skies in Europe and was recently chosen to become Britain’s first Dark Sky National Park. The Dark Sky designation is an international scheme to promote night tourism and recognise and protect the beauty of places unmarred by light pollution. Further information can be found at www.darksky.org.

Our supporters and funders

The 2013 Wigtown Book Festival is made possible by the backing of senior supporter the ScottishPower Foundation. Public funders include Creative Scotland, Dumfries & Galloway Council and the national events agency EventScotland, and is part of the Year of Homecoming 2014. Charitable supporters include the Foyle Foundation, the Barcapel Foundation, the Holywood Trust and the WS Wilson Trust, as well as many other generous individuals, organisations and local volunteers. A full list of funders and supporters can be found on our website.

Booking tickets

Tickets for the Wigtown Book Festival can be booked online at wigtownbookfestival.com or by phoning 01988 402036.


For a list of accommodation in the area go to the festival’s website http://wigtownbookfestival.com/visit/accommodation or contact the Tourist Information Centre in Newton Stewart on 01671 402 431.

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Wigtown is so joyful, so charming, so utterly idiosyncratic,” Daily Telegraph

Scotland’s award-winning boutique book festival invites you to a Lowland fling

*Living Lowlands theme celebrates the best of Lowland Scotland’s culture
*16th year sees biggest ever programme of author talks and discussions

*More than 200 events over 10 days in Scotland’s National Book Town

*Supporting programme of visual arts, film, music, theatre and comedy


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