Borders Book Festival set to return with host of popular names

THE BORDERS Book Festival is set to return for the first time in three years, with organisers eager to welcome a host of well-known names.

A collection of authors, stage and screen stars and leading political figures will be in attendance at the renowned book festival.

Returning to its usual home at Harmony Garden, Melrose, in the Scottish Borders, for the first time since 2019, the four-day festival runs from Thursday 16th to Sunday 19th June.

The diverse programme of over 100 events includes names like Joanna Lumley, comedian Julian Clary, comedian, presenter, turned psychotherapist Jack Dee and current affairs specialists Andrew Marr and Allan Little.

The Borders Book Festival returns for the first time since 2019. (C) Alex Hewitt

Former cabinet minister Ed Balls, crime writer Val McDermid, TV wine expert Helen McGinn and BBC’s The Great British Sewing Bee judge, Esme Young will also be present.

Book Festival favourite Rory Bremner returns with two exclusive events: The Scottish Impressionists, and I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Buccleuch – a special edition of the BBC radio comedy panel game I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue – hosted by Jack Dee, with panellists Miles Jupp, Rory Bremner, Pippa Evans and Tony Hawks.

Festival Director, Alistair Moffat, said: “We’re raring to get the stage set and the show on the road to welcome our audience back to Harmony Garden after three long years.

“This year’s programme will delight the crowds with what everyone has come to expect of the Borders Book Festival: lively debate, a broadening of minds, insightfulness and, of course, a good dose of fun and laughter along the way. 

“It seems more fitting than ever to be back for four days of fun and celebration of the written word in what is Scotland’s Year of Stories. 

“I’m sure this year’s festival will mean we’ll have even more stories of our own to tell for years to come.”

The Financial Times hosts a series of events covering the big issues of the day inlcuding one with Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who served in cabinets under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, debating the future of naval base Faslane and the UK’s nuclear deterrent with CND campaigner Isobel Lindsay and military historian Trevor Royle.

The Family Book Festival, sponsored by Saltire Roofing and Building, takes place throughout the day on the Saturday and Sunday.

The two-day programme features author events, including Mairi Kidd sharing Scottish Fairy Tales, Myths & Legends and the chance to learn about Scottish dinosaurs with palaeontologist Steve Brusatte.

The winner of this year’s £25,000 Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction is to be announced, chosen from a short list of four books: Colm Tóibín’s The Magician, Andrew Greig’s Rose Nicolson, Amanda Smyth’s Fortune and James Robertson’s News of the Dead.

Culture Minister, Neil Gray, said: “Our Year of Stories celebrations have highlighted the rich diversity of voices we have in Scotland and the infinite ways there are of telling stories across genres and art forms.

“The Borders Book Festival explores many of these, from historical and crime fiction to politics and comedy, in this inspirational and entertaining programme.”

Alan Bett, Head of Literature and Publishing at Creative Scotland, said: “Book lovers will be delighted to see the Borders Book Festival return to its home at Harmony Garden, Melrose.

“This offers the opportunity for those local to the area to engage with literature in a live setting, while also drawing people from across the country.

“This is a broad and diverse programme of writers that offers something for everyone, in many cases touching upon the big issues facing the world today.”

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