The team behind Wigtown Book Festival hopes this year’s event will provide the people of Dumfries and Galloway with a chance to reconnect with each other, their region and culture.
There will be a strong emphasis on providing a national platform for talent from the area. A series of events and activities will highlight Dumfries and Galloway’s special qualities.
The festival, from 22 September to 4 October, has been slimmed down compared to previous years and is being held over a longer period of time as part of the planning to make sure audiences are COVID-secure.
However, with 120 events over 12 days, it will be one of Scotland’s biggest arts festivals of the year.
Speakers taking part in person include novelists Val McDermid and Alexander McCall Smith, Lions legend Gavin Hastings and comedian Janey Godley. They will be joined by a strong line-up of regional talent including:
- Des Dillon: the Wigtownshire based author of the hugely popular Me an Ma Gal talks about his first novel for more than a decade.
- Alexis Fleming: No Life Too Small tells the extraordinary story of the author’s animal hospice in Kirkcudbright.
- Maggie Ritchie: Daisy Chain tells the story of two childhood friends from Kirkcudbright who attend Glasgow School of Art before the First World War.
- Writers Karen Campbell and Joanne Mackay talk about The Stove’s Atlas Pandemica
- Kathleen Hart discusses her bestselling memoir Devorgilla Days, about how she found healing in Wigtown.
- There will be a performance of the play Lot 52 (about emigration from Annan) and music by the Galloway Consort.
- There will also be red squirrel walks with naturalist Polly Pullar plus stargazing and bird walks celebrating the landscape.
Wigtown Book Festival artistic director Adrian Turpin said: “Celebrating the region, its history, heritage and culture – and especially its living writers – has always been a big part of the festival. This year, more than ever, we want to put local heroes on a national stage.
“Just as important, in a year in which it’s harder to travel, we hope to provide lots that will appeal to local audiences, and help bring people back together to enjoy the distinctive culture of Dumfries and Galloway.
“As Scotland’s National Book Town, Wigtown itself is very much looking forward to welcoming people back and to offering visitors its customary warm hospitality.”
As ever there will be a strong programme for children and young people.
While the emphasis for 2021 is on physical first, the festival will include hybrid and online only events, allowing people to take part in the festival wherever they are and meaning that guests can join us from all over the world.
A new outdoor venue, The Gardens, is being opened up as a place where people can gather and chat, enjoy events and relax.
Other COVID safety measures include longer gaps between events and reduced venue capacities.
This year’s event is being supported by a variety of funders including DG Unlimited (as part of its Together Again season), Dumfries and Galloway Council and EventScotland.