1 a 1 a logo wigtown book festWanted: Booksellers, no experience needed, for unique artistic project
* Call for members of public to become booksellers in Scotland’s National Book Town
* Unique project aims to explore state of bookselling in “Amazon age”.
* Inspired by Nasa employee who gave up job to live the bookseller life

What does it mean to run a “real”, second-hand bookshop in the age of Amazon? Now there’s an easy way to find out.
Scotland’s national book town in Wigtown, south-west Scotland, is offering aspiring booksellers and artists the chance to experience the lifestyle in a unique series of residencies that will begin at this year’s Wigtown Book Festival (26 Sept-5 Oct) and continue for the next 12 months.
The Open Book project will invite interested parties to apply to live in and run a local bookshop (renamed The Open Book) for a period of up to 6 weeks in a bookshop in Scotland’s National Book Town. Anyone is invited to apply, with preference given to artists, writers, thinkers, and bibliophiles. Participants will be given a crash course in bookselling and, as well as keeping the shop open a set number of hours a week, will be asked to contribute to a blog outlining their experiences.
Adrian Turpin, director of the Wigtown Festival Company, which is running the project, explained: “For many booklovers, the idea of running a bookshop is a dream. But it can be a tough lifestyle and one that demands dedication and inventiveness, as the many bookshops in Scotland’s Book Town show.
“The internet has had a huge effect on booksellers. The Open Book project is intended as an original way to examine some of the issues facing bookshops in the age of Amazon. It will also bring exciting new creative energy to the town.”
The project was partly inspired by the American author Jessica Fox, whose novel Three Things You Need To Know About Rockets, describes how she left her job working for Nasa in California and, on a whim, moved to Wigtown to work in a local bookshop. After falling in love, she still lives in a bookshop in the town six years later.
Jessica Fox said: “Coming to Wigtown was a life-changing experience for me. I hope that it will have a similar effect on people taking part in the next 12 months.”
Set in the rolling countryside of Dumfries and Galloway, Wigtown has a population of 900, and is often described as Scotland’s “Hay-on-Wye”. The town was awarded the designation Scotland’s National Book Town in 1997 and has more than a dozen bookshops and book-related businesses.

To apply
Members of the public are invited to express interest to [email protected]

Latest Articles