It’s not just about books, as Wigtown’s Spring Festival proves

The Wigtown Soap Company will keep things fresh
The Wigtown Soap Company will keep things fresh

Our National Book Town welcomes spring to Wigtown next weekend with a series of events highlighting why the town was given its literary and creative status.

From arts, theatre, music, workshops and exhibitions to events for families and book lovers - most of which will be hosted in the town’s independent bookshops - this three-day event gives a taste of what the town can do.

Kicking things off on Friday morning at the County Buildings is the Wigtown Writers’ Gathering, a unique opportunity for writers from (and beyond) Dumfries and Galloway to congregate. The focus is to support established and emerging writers in developing their practice through workshops, breakout groups and networking.

The day-long event also offers one-to-one sessions with publishing professionals including novelist Louise Welsh. Bookings for workshops are limited on a first-come, first-served basis.

Tie-up your evening with a wee concert at The Old Bank Bookshop from the Mermaids. When the two MacFarlane Sisters won the Wigtown Book Festival talent contest last year, the comedian Natalie Haynes described them as looking like “mermaids with the voices of angels”.

Since then they’ve played throughout Scotland, as well as auditioning for Britain’s Got Talent and of course locally just two weeks ago, they played at the House O’ Hill Beer and Music Festival. They return with their haunting blend of vocals, ukulele, guitar and piano, new songs and covers.

Or how about the Wigtown Book Festival Dinner and Charity Auction at Bladnoch Distillery, This charity dinner to raise funds for this year’s book festival includes a three-course meal, tea, coffee and welcome drink, auction lots donated by visiting authors and other supporters.

Throughout Saturday, you will find craft workshops, photography, children’s events, talks from authors and even a scary walk at 9pm.

Again on Sunday, enjoy a spring fair from 10am with stalls and another day of literary treats, which continues through to Monday.

Local names such as Helen Ryman, Aldaron Woodcrafts, Wigtown Soap Company, Gina Lawson (Lillycrop) rugs and furnishings, David Moses Photographer, Eunice Murray, Creeside Charcuterie and of course Renita Boyle. If you’re thinking of going to the fair but have some little people to consider, why not drop them off for a free story telling session: How Notter to Spotter an Otter with Renita Boyle in the Wigtown Bay Visitor Centre, Top Floor, County Buildings, on Sunday 5 May, 3pm and have some time to peruse the stalls in peace.

To see a full programme, visit www.wigtownbookfestival.com and click through the What’s On section.