Wigtown Book Festival Reveals Star Studded Programme For 2022

Books are just the beginning – enjoy Wigtown’s 10-day festival of stories

  • Fiction writers, scientists, journalists – sample the best current literature
  • More than 200 events featuring books, music, theatre, poetry and more
  • Celebrating the writing, culture and heritage of Galloway
  • Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 celebrated in our National Book Town

Wigtown Book Festival has unveiled a vibrant programme of more than 200 events for its annual 10-day annual celebration of all things literary in Scotland’s National Book Town.

This year’s festival (from 23 September to 2 October) is supported by EventScotland as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 – and is inviting visitors from all across the country, and beyond, to pay a visit as it continues to rebuild after COVID.

As ever there will be a superb line up writers of fiction, non-fiction authors and poetry. They include household names, scientists, journalists and others, all sharing insights about their books, inspirations, careers and lives. Among them will be:

  • Deacon Blue frontman Ricky Ross (Walking Back Home)
  • Karen Campbell (Paper Cup)
  • Robert Harris (Act of Oblivion)
  • Hanna Jackson, The Red Shepherdess (Call Me Red)
  • Chris Brookmyre (The Cliff House)
  • Gerda Stevenson (Letting Go)
  • Outlander star Graham McTavish (Clanlands)
  • Lisa Jewell & Will Brooker (The Truth About Lisa Jewell)
  • Andrew Cotter: Dog Days (A Year with Olive and Mabel)
  • Chitra Ramaswamy (Homelands)
  • Jeremy Bowen (The Making of the Modern Middle East).

Tickets are now on sale for a festival in which books are just the beginning and where stories will be told in a multitude of forms – through theatre, music, art installations and lectures.


One special event, specifically created as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022, will be The Bookshop Untold – a storytelling performance set in an enchanted bookshop (for everyone aged 12+) and taking audiences on a journey through history, Scottish literature, art, love, and loss.

Also funded by EventScotland for Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 is Into The Night – a night-time walk mixing acoustic art, music and literature, with writer and adventurer Dan Richards and Dark Sky Ranger Elizabeth Tindal, as they draw inspiration from Galloway’s pristine dark skies.

Ten other things visitors can enjoy include:

  • The best regional food and crafts at our daily producers’ market, The Kist
  • A literary walk in the spectacular Galloway countryside
  • Free entertainment and big screen fun at our outdoor venue, The Gardens
  • Opening night fireworks and pipe band
  • The incredible Scottish Fiddle Orchestra
  • Shows at The Swallow, Scotland’s smallest and cosiest theatre
  • Take a selfie with Big Wig, our children’s festival’s bumbling blue mascot
  • The story of Lowland whisky at Bladnoch Distillery
  • The Deception Island art installation – a recreation of a 1950s science research hut from the Anatarctic
  • Dancing the night away at the festival ceilidh.

As ever Wigtown Book Festival celebrates Galloway, its culture, heritage, literature and people. The town’s own bestselling author, and owner of Scotland’s largest second-hand book store, Shaun Bythell will talk about his latest work Remainders of the Day.

There will also be Jack Hunter’s Galloway, an event dedicated to the Wigtownshire author and historian, and The Leaves of the Years, marking the centenary of poet William Neill. Dumfries and Galloway’s Wilma and David Finlay (A Dairy Story) will tell the phenomenal tale of how they have challenged the norms of their industry as champions of ethical dairy farming.

Nature, natural history and human relationships with the natural world will be a significant theme in the festival. Among the guests will be Romain Pizzi, Edinburgh-based wildlife vet (Exotic Vetting), who has performed brain surgery on a bear and endoscopies on sharks.

Perthshire-based conservationist and naturalist Polly Pullar will talk about her latest book The Horizontal Oak, while Edinburgh research explorer Steve Brusatte will discuss The Rise and Reign of the Mammals.

Adrian Turpin, Wigtown Book Festival’s Artistic Director, said: “The festival will be celebrating the very best in current books and writing, with a multitude of writers – but that’s just the beginning.
“We are at the very heart of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022, by inviting people to discover literature and storytelling in many different forms, whether that’s through fiction, non-fiction, poetry, pictures, theatre, music or art.
“And as we continue to rebuild after COVID, we hope people will join us to enjoy hearing and meeting authors in person, to take part in other events of all kinds and to discover the countryside – and literary traditions – of Galloway.
“Something else that’s very close to our heart is the importance, and the joy, of encouraging a love of literature and storytelling among the next generation – so we have compelling programmes for young people and children.”

Among the highlights of the young adults programme will be:

  • Astro-journaling with Annaliese Avery, author of The Doomfire Secret
  • Lyric writing with Christine Pillainayagam, author of Ellie Pillai is Brown
  • Love the Sinner (performance), Imogen Stirling – The Scottish Emerging Theatre Awards: Artist of the Year
  • Her Dark Wings, Melinda Salisbury – three times Carnegie nominated
  • Unashamed (performance), Harry Baker – World Slam Poetry Champion.

And for children the will be:

  • An Afternoon with Lauren Child – Kate Greenaway Medal and previous Children’s Laureate
  • Firesong by Vashti Hardy – Blue Peter Book Award 2020
  • The Wee Kirkcudbright Centipede – Scots language event
  • Karate Kids with Holly Sterling – half book event half karate class, shortlisted for The Telegraph Sports Book of the Year 2021.

There will also be the James Mirrlees Lecture (The World in 2050 and Beyond – Sir Martin Rees) and the awarding of the annual Wigtown Poetry Prize.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events said: “We are delighted to be supporting Wigtown Book Festival as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022.
“From icons of literature to local tales, Scotland’s Year of Stories encourages locals and visitors to experience a diversity of voices, take part in events and explore the places, people and cultures connected to all forms of our stories.
“Scotland is the perfect stage for events and this year’s Wigtown Book Festival will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s National Book Town with a varied programme of music, performance and literature.”

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