Wigtown Book Festival: where city and country meet and fall in love

 Crowd outside The Open Book. Photo: Wigtown Book Festival

The seventeenth Wigtown Book Festival offers ten days of literary celebrations from Friday 25 September to Sunday 4 October 2015.
First christened as Scotland’s National Book Town by the new Scottish Parliament in 1999, Galloway’s Wigtown now boasts more than a dozen bookshops and related businesses.
This year’s eclectic and varied programme reflects the richness of Wigtown’s, and surrounding Galloway’s, culture, landscape and people.
As well as celebrating a vast array of literature, the festival brings together visual arts, music, film, food and drink and dedicated programmes for children and young people.
For the seventh year running, the festival has linked with Scotland’s largest arts and crafts open studios event, Spring Fling, to host an artist in residence. This year’s artist Gill White aims to create a colourful new artwork each day with which festival-goers can interact. Gill’s studio in Wigtown is at the Bowling Pavilion.
This year’s festival sees a musical first as Ben Please and Beth Porter of The Bookshop Band debut as the festival’s first ever musicians-in-residence. Based at the Open Book at 2 High Street, they will present an informal mix of music, reading and guests every lunchtime at 1pm, as well as performing at the Supper Room at the County Buildings on Tuesday 29 September and discussing the process of turning books into songs on Sunday 4 October. 

Wigtown Book Festival Box Office opens. Photo: Wigtown Book Festival

One of the festival’s most unique features this year sees Bill Drummond progress with 40 Beds, his sculpture in progress. Between 2006 and 2025 Bill is making 40 beds from wood by hand in public at locations around the world. One of these will be constructed in Wigtown, after which it will be raffled off. Once the winner has been drawn, he will deliver the bed himself, so long as it is within the Wigtown area.
He will also launch his Atlantic Archipelago tour with screenings of the film Imagine Waking Up Tomorrow and All Music Has Disappeared, which follows his attempt to set up a choir called The 17.
Participants in the 2015 festival include writers Leila Aboulela, Laura Barnett, Chris Brookmyre, Jenny Colgan, Caroline Criado-Perez, Gavin Francis, Janice Galloway, Mairi Hedderwick, Liz Lochhead, Val McDermid, Neel Mukherjee, Thomas Pakenham, Anthony Seldon, Malachy Tallack, Raymond Tallis and AN Wilson; comedians Jon Holmes, Phill Jupitus and Hardeep Singh Kohli; politicians Alex Salmond and Vince Cable; broadcasters Frank Gardner, Bridget Kendall, Rev Richard Coles, John MacKay and Mike Wooldridge; astronomer Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell; and legendary Corries folk musician Ronnie Browne.

View the full programme and book tickets for the Wigtown Book Festival online. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the Box Office.

This article was published on 28 Sep 2015