Book your seat for festival

There’s a zingy line-up for the children’s programme at the 14th Wigtown Book Festival.

Famed illustrator Tony de Saulles will have youngsters drawing horrible things from Horrible History, Queen of Teen Cathy Cassidy reads from her latest book in the Chocolate Box series, and Shetlandic author and illustrator Debi Gliori asks Mr Wolf what the time is.

There’ll be events with a Dark Skies theme and events with an Audience as Artist theme, not to mention beach art, owl construction, and a Winnie the Pooh party with cake.

Ticket prices have either been reduced or held at their 2011 levels (and there’s a cheap rate for aliens).

As part of Wigtown 2012’s Dark Skies theme, look out for Late-night Stories “They Came from Outer Space” on Friday, September 28, at 9.30pm, when you can gather round for otherworldly tales suitable for children, aliens and adults.

There’s more on Saturday, September 29, when Scottish Opera presents its new musical show “A Little Bit of Northern Light”. Out in the dark, on the farthest edges of Scotland’s coastline, one lonely little lighthouse stands firm against the storms.

Or discover Damian Dibben’s gripping new fantasy series “The History Keepers”. Jake Djones isn’t like other 14-year-olds: he belongs to a secret society whose members travel through time to prevent evil-doers from meddling with history. On Saturday, September 29, Damian will be discussing his fantasy series, which is being enthusiastically compared to a certain boy wizard.

On Saturday, October 6, meet author Shalla Gray as she introduces Charlotte the Lamb. “Charlotte’s Woolly Yarn” takes you on a charming tour of Dumfries and Galloway, as Charlotte the lamb tries to find her missing fleece. Shalla Gray is a rising star, daughter of comic-book legend Alan Grant – and Charlotte is a lamb the under-fives will adore.

Discover an irresistible illustrated series on Sunday, October 7. It’s about friendship, secrets and an adorable, er, Thing. Young protagonists Ruby and Jackson get a shock when they find it living at the bottom of their gardens. Author Karen McCombie introduces “You, Me and Thing” for children aged seven or over.

For over-sixes, Ian Johnston will introduce “The Fine Art of Weightlessness” on Sunday, October 7. He’ll be doing his best to leave the ground through stories, songs, science and more. And then there’s a hands-on construction session which will send as many things into the air as possible. Prepare for an inspirational and rather messy lift-off!

Festival co-director and children’s programmer Anne Barclay says: “No festival should be a passive experience, and our children’s programme is absolutely jumping out of its skin this year. We’ve got authors for all ages, links into our Dark Skies and Audience as Artist themes – and endless ways to get hands on and brains buzzing.”

This year’s Wigtown Book Festival has been made possible by the backing of principal sponsor Baillie Gifford. The festival’s funders include EventScotland, Dumfries & Galloway Council and Creative Scotland.

Tickets for the Wigtown Book Festival can be booked online at wigtownbookfestival.com or by phoning 01988 402036.