It’s all change for the Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival. Back for the first time since 2019 (due to the Covid pandemic) it runs from November 2-7 instead of its usual early summer slot. With 2021 marking the 250th anniversary of the birth of Walter Scott, the event will also take place at the author’s former home of Abbotsford, rather than Harmony Gardens.
Multi-award-winning historical fiction writer Hilary Mantel is among the literary greats taking part, and politicians such as Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband, along with famous sportspeople and well-known TV personalities, are on the programme of more than 60 events.
Festival director Alistair Moffat said: “We are absolutely delighted to be welcoming the book-loving public back to the Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival this year, even more so in light of everything that the last 18 months has thrown at us.
“The festival will feel a little different this year: we are swapping the warm, sunny days of June for the autumnal beauty of November; and the iconic Harmony Garden for the magnificent home of Sir Walter Scott, Abbotsford.
“It seems totally fitting in this year of the 250th celebrations of Scott to be welcoming a host of great authors to his home, but, on a practical note, holding the Book Festival at Abbotsford also allows us to ensure that the Festival is Covid-safe and that our audiences, whom we have missed so much, can come and enjoy everything we have to offer with peace of mind.”
He added that the festival would return to Harmony Garden in June 2022.
For full programme details visit www.bordersbookfestival.org
Storytelling sessions and author events are taking place in various Scottish bookshops today to mark Bookshop Day (Saturday, October 9. 2021). Aimed at encouraging the use of local bookshops, this year’s celebration sees events taking place in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stewarton and Dingwall.
In Stewarton, Ayrshire, The Book Nook is holding “Activities with Authors” throughout the day. Authors taking part include Petra Baillie, author and illustrator of a range of children’s books including Illustrate your Own books and The Strange and Wonderful Adventures of Pippa; Sharon Baillie, author of Magenta Opium; Jerry Brannigan, author of Robert Burns in Edinburgh; children’s author Lindsay Littleson, whose books include The Titanic Detective Agency, Secrets of the Last Merfolk and Guardians of the Lost Unicorns; and Hannah Willow, author of Just Be, a children’s book about mindfulness and the natural world.
In Dingwall, Picaresque Books & Galerie Fantoosh will be holding a “Gathering of Authors”, with local writers donating signed copies of their books to go for auction in aid of Book Aid. Local authors including Barbara Henderson, Helen Sedgwick, Brian Devlin, Margaret Kirk, Virginian Crow, Morven-May McCallum, Verity Walker Eley, Sharon Gunnason Pottinger and Norman Newton will pop in the shop during the day. Signed books by Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, Graeme Macrae Burnett and SG Maclean will also be available to buy.
In Glasgow, Robin Ince will be Mount Florida Books at 8pm as part of his #100Bookshops tour to celebrate the release of his new book, The Importance of Being Interested. For event details visit: https://mountfloridabooks.com/blogs/events/robin-ince-is-coming-to-the-shop-9th-october-8pm
In Edinburgh, look out for colourful billboards featuring Dapo Adeola’s artwork in locations including: Princes St, Haymarket, Portobello, Fountainbridge until Monday, October 18.
One-thousand lines have been submitted to the Makar’s collaborative People’s Poem. With the window for submissions now closed, the Makar, Kathleen Jamie, is said to be working hard to compose the final work from the wide range of lines sent in from across Scotland, in English, Scottish Gaelic and Scots. The work will soon be realised as a film by Alastair Cook, as well as published on the Scottish Poetry Library’s website www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk