F estival begins in Scotland's book town

·2 min read

A 10-day celebration of stories and literature is starting in Scotland's national book town.

M ore than 200 events are planned between now and 2 October in Wigtown.

T he book festival begins with novelist Karen Campbell and poet Hugh McMillan premiering their modern versions of two traditional Galloway tales.

I t will also see the announcement of the winners of the annual Wigtown Poetry Prize.

T he Dumfries and Galloway town became the nation's book town by winning a competition in 1998.

S ince then, numerous book shops have opened and the annual festival attracts big names in the world of literature to south-west Scotland.

A rtistic director Adrian Turpin said: "There's a huge amount to look forward to this year, with guests ranging from Lisa Jewell and Robert Harris to Graham McTavish and Hannah Jackson."

I t also hopes to attract younger readers with its Big Wig programme which has its own mascot.

M r Turpin said the organisers had tried to take into account the wider situation in the country when putting this year's festival together.

"In the wake of the pandemic and with the cost-of-living crisis we recognise that many people are facing tough times," he said.

"Our hope is that by providing free activities and introducing pay-what-you-can events, the festival is affordable as well as fun for everyone."

T he festival has its own storyteller in residence, Renita Boyle, who will be running a number of events this year.

“Stories help us to laugh and cry, express joy and give voice to grief," she said.

"They bring healing and clarity, understanding and decisiveness.

"They can influence as well as entertain, turn wisecracks into wisdom, help us discern how to love, live and forgive.

"But more than anything - storytelling is essential to being human."