Wigtown Book Festival set to welcome back audiences and authors

Wigtown Book Festival is welcoming audiences and authors back to Scotland's National Book Town this autumn following last year's digital-only event.

Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 4:59 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 4:59 pm
Wigtown Book Festival artistic director Adrian Turpin
Wigtown Book Festival artistic director Adrian Turpin

Taking as its theme, ‘Hello Stranger’, the 2021 festival from September 22 to October 4 will be two days longer than in previous years, with more than 140 events for adults and young people, around half the pre-Covid number.

At the town’s heart will be a new, free outdoor venue, The Gardens, with a large screen and informal seating which aims to be Wigtown’s answer to Wimbledon’s Murray Mound.

Selected live audience events will also be streamed from Wigtown to audiences around the world.

The full programme will be released today (Friday) when booking is due to open online.

But a few of the authors attending the Galloway event in person include novelists Val McDermid, Francis Spufford and Salena Godden, philosopher AC Grayling, broadcaster Rory Cellan-Jones and biographer Emma Soames.

Other additions to the programme include Saltmarsh walks with Saltire Award-winning author Stephen Rutt and the announcement of the new Anne Brown Essay Prize for Scotland.

The Wigtown Poetry Prize will also return, and much more will be announced when the full programme is unveiled.

Artistic director Adrian Turpin said: “This year’s festival is all about the joy of being together again, although it will be bittersweet given the friends we’ve lost since the last time we gathered.

"We look forward to seeing familiar and new faces, and to showing that Scotland’s Book Town is open for business.

“As well as providing a relaxed outdoor space at this time, we hope The Gardens venue will help open up the event to the widest possible audience.

"The lack of walls is symbolic as well as physical.”

Extensive covid safety measures are being put in place across the festival. These include longer gaps between events and reduced venue capacities.

Wigtown Book Festival supporters include Creative Scotland and Dumfries and Galloway Council.

For more information visit www.wigtownbookfestival.com.