Wigtown Book Festival 2012 programme announced

John Simpson
John Simpson

THE 14th Wigtown Book Festival programme was release this week and it looks sets to be yet another corker.

Running from 28 September to 7 October, the week will feature more than 175 events in Scotland’s National Book Town.

Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith

Organisers of the festival in the national book town, now also known as ‘Scotland’s most creative small town’, will be working with the Daily Telegraph as its media partner and ticket prices have either been reduced or held at their 2011 levels.

Among the dozens of speakers are travel writer Jan Morris, novelists AL Kennedy, AN Wilson, Alexander McCall Smith and James Kelman; poet John Hegley; BBC world affairs editor John Simpson; former foreign secretary Douglas Hurd; comedian and classicist Natalie Haynes; sex blogger Brooke Magnanti (creator of the Belle de Jour website); TV gardener James Wong; best-selling historians Tom Holland, Guy Walters and Tahir Shah; documentary-maker Jon Ronson; Astronomer Royal for Scotland, John Brown; former Bishop of Edinburgh Richard Holloway, and the Right Reverend Albert Bogle, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
This year’s festival will also offer a supporting programme of food events, theatre, jazz, classical and traditional music, and visual arts. There will also be broadcasts from BBC Radio Scotland’s Book Café and Brian Taylor’s Big Debate. As ever, the organisers will be inviting the audience to get out and about in the beautiful Galloway countryside – site-specific attractions include a torch-lit procession, a drive-in movie, fairy-tales in the forest and a star-gazing supper with BBC2’s Camper Van Cook, Martin Dorey.

As part of the Year of Creative Scotland celebrations, the festival will be including two special strands this autumn - “Dark Skies” and “The Audience as Artist”.

“Dark Skies” will look at the relationship between how the night sky has inspired literature throughout the ages, and will feature not just astronomers and writers inspired by the heavens but hands-on activities for adults and children, after-dark music and a pop-up planetarium.

The “Audience as Artist” will be also be a central theme of this year’s festival, where visitors will be asked to unleash their inner creativity by making something while in Wigtown. Festival-goers will be actively encouraged to write or paint, sculpt or knit – even bake! Their work will be displayed in a new venue this year, The Gallery, whose contents will change daily under the eye of a team of creators. We will also run a series of events about the history, philosophy and practice of craft, as well as hands-on workshops run by artists from Spring Fling, Scotland’s largest arts and crafts open-studios event. And, for the fourth year, the festival will host a Spring Fling artist-in-residence.

Festival director Adrian Turpin says: “A festival shouldn’t be a passive experience. It should be an exchange of ideas. So we are really looking forward to seeing what our audience comes up with and to showing why Wigtown was recently declared Scotland’s most creative small community.”

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.