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.
The friendly festival will feature more than 275 events; from talks, debates and readings to music, theatre, film and feasts. It will cover 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.
This year’s festival begins on Friday 27th September and runs until Sunday 6th October, with 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 diaries, called Confessions of a Bookseller.
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.
With 2019 being the UN’s International Year of Indigenous Languages, the festival will celebrate the power of conversation and the country’s three native languages: English, Gaelic and Scots.
New for this year, 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.
Other special events and happenings at this year’s festival will include a street writer typing stories for strangers, a pop-up venue celebrating Galloway’s history, and a comic workshop for people who can’t draw. There will also be book town tours, brewery tours and a big draw-off.
The children’s programme, Big Wig, will begin with a party celebrating of the 50th anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The festival line-up for young people, under the new name of WigWAM, has been integrated into the main programme for the first time. The events are open to all but free to those under 26 years. At the same time the festival is giving away thousands of free tickets for the under-26s, as part of ongoing work to promote a love of literature and creativity amongst young people.
When: 27th September – 6th October 2019
Where: Wigtown, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
£: Ticket prices vary, depending on the event. Some events are free
More info: wigtownbookfestival.com