With only two days to go until the opening of this year’s Borders Book Festival in Melrose the organisers must have everything crossed for a dry weekend. Trains will no doubt be full on the Borders Railway line – especially on the Saturday afternoon when crowds will flock not only to the Book Festival but to a Proclaimers concert nearby. Melrose will surely draw a very jolly crowd this weekend. Whatever the weather readers, writers, sports personalities, politicians and musicians will all gather for the Book Festival in the glorious gardens of Harmony House, celebrating the very best of Scottish cultural life in the tents of a festival now in its fifteenth year.
There is much to look forward to:
Visitors to the festival will enjoy sessions with one of Britain’s comedy greats Alexei Sayle; gardening expert and much-loved writer Alan Titchmarsh, wildlife TV-presenter Michaela Strachan; the voice of rugby Ian Robertson, comedian and impressionist Jan Ravens and BBC Newsnight presenter turned novelist Kirsty Wark.
Attempting to make sense of the current political turmoil will be Dominic Grieve MP on the Brexit process and what lies ahead; political commentator Matt Chorley with a light-hearted view of inside Parliament; Fintan O’Toole setting Brexit into historical perspective; James Naughtie’s authoritative take on what is happening to our political system and, to top it off, firm favourite, political satirist and impressionist Rory Bremner.
The 10th anniversary of the prestigious Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction will be marked by the world premiere of the Dandie Dinmont operetta written by Alexander McCall Smith, with music composed by Tom Cunningham and directed by David Lyle (music) and Alan Borthwick (artistic).
The £25,000 prize will be awarded to the winner at the Book Festival on Saturday 16th June from a shortlist including Peter Carey, Cressida Connolly, Samantha Harvey, Andrew Miller, Michael Ondaatje and Robin Robertson.
The McInroy and Wood lecture will this year be delivered by War Doctor David Nott, who for over 25 years has taken unpaid leave from the NHS to volunteer in some of the world’s most dangerous war zones.
Health and well-being are a prominent feature with events by Sue Armstrong on the science of how and why we age; Eve Simmons and Laura Dennison revealing the myths behind healthy eating; Kim Jones with practical advice on achieving a good night’s sleep and Michelle Thomas’s honest account of living with mental ill health.
How to Train Your Dragon author Cressida Cowell; Vivian French, artist Catherine Rayner; bestselling Beetle Boy author MG Leonard, Doctor Who writer David Solomons and cooks Mary Contini and Pru Irvine will entertain and energise the younger crowd in the popular Family Book Festival, which takes place throughout the weekend of Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th June, and includes kids craft activities, storytelling and creative workshops.