Scotland’s National Book Town is gearing up for a friendly invasion of book lovers when the annual Wigtown Book Festival gets underway this week.
Authors and authorities of every kind will be talking about a multitude of subjects including new evidence about the Viking Age Galloway Hoard – one of the greatest discoveries of buried treasure ever made in Britain.
There will be more from the “Dark Ages” with events looking at great European Epics such as the Anglo Saxon Beowulf and the Norse sagas.
One of the festival’s key themes is The Lost Province – an exploration of Galloway’s past as a melting pot of Norse, Gaelic, Anglo Saxon, Scots and Cumbric invaders and settlers and how their languages, art and culture helped shape one of Scotland’s most remarkable regions.
The festival starts on Friday and runs until Sunday October 6 and will see a host of well-known names taking part including Kirtsy Wark, Arabella Weir, Sinead Gleeson, Kathleen Jamie, Doddie Weir, Prof. Steve Jones, Ruth Davidson MSP, Geoffrey Roberston QC, Tom Devine, Melanie Reid, supermodel Eunice Olumide and Matthew Parris.
They will be joined by the likes of wine mogul Tony Laithwaite, author and illustrator Jackie Morris and Wigtown’s own best-selling author Shaun Bythell who is publishing a new set of his bestselling diaries, called Confessions of a Bookseller.
At the same time the festival is giving away thousands of free tickets for under-26s in its ongoing work to promote a love of literature and creativity among young people.
Adrian Turpin, Artistic Director of Wigtown Book Festival, said: “The 21st Wigtown Book Festival looks like being an epic. Advance ticket sales are almost 10 per cent higher than ever before and we are offering more than 275 events from talks, debates and readings to music, theatre, film and feasts.
“We are really looking forward to welcoming visitors of all ages and from every part of the world to Scotland’s National Book Town. This year we are have a programme packed with everything from history, archaeology, Dark Age treasure hoards and mythical monster slayers to contemporary fiction, current affairs, poetry, true-life stories and young people’s literature.
“And it’s precisely the friendliness and intimacy the festival offers, plus the chance to discover the very best writers and writing, that makes Wigtown so special.”
With 2019 being the UN’s International Year of Indigenous Languages, the festival will celebrate the power of conversation and will celebrate the country’s three native languages – English, Gaelic and Scots.
The brand new Wigtown Feasts, in association with A Year of Conversation, will involve a series of simultaneous suppers in houses across the town in order to give visitors, festival guests and residents that chance to mix, chat, dine and gain new perspectives.
This children’s programme Big Wig, continues to grow, and will begin with a party celebrating of the 50th anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
For the first time the line-up for young people’s festival, under the new name of WigWAM, has been integrated into the main programme. The events are open to all but free to under 26s.
· The Riddle of the Runes, The Whithorn Lecture – Dr David Parsons reveals new evidence relating to Saxon runes within the Galloway Hoard. Sponsored by the Whithorn Trust and taking place on Saturday, 5 October, 10.30am.
Before the festival started Dumfries and Galloway Council Events Champion Councillor Adam Wilson dropped by to see how preparations were going. While there he met Wigtown Festival Company board member Sandra McDowall, Ellie Marshall (8) who goes to Wigtown Primary School and Big Wig – mascot of the children’s programme, which Ellie is looking forward to.
For full details of Wigtown Book Festival go to wigtownbookfestival.com.
Picture: Colin Hattersley.