Summer Festivals 2012: Books
- Charlotte Runcie
- 25 May 2012
Essential info on Bloody Scotland and the Wigtown and Borders book fests
Borders Book Festival
Where: Harmony Garden, Melrose, 14–17 June, bordersbookfestival.org
Price: £9–£13 per event.
Line-up: Sir David Frost, Hilary Mantel, William Boyd, Alistair Darling, John Sessions
There have been a few eyebrows raised by this year’s Borders Book Festival programme, and suggestions that it’s not quite as bookish as it ought to be. Spangly as a Katie Price paperback (don’t worry, she’s not coming), the big names are mostly from the worlds of theatre, politics and media, with Rory Bremner interviewing several celebrities known more for their personalities than their prose. Still, serious bookworms have no cause to complain, with some of the finest novelists of the moment also poking their heads around the marquee flap.
Where: Various venues in Stirling, 14–16 Sep, bloodyscotland.com
Price: £5–£9 per event.
Line-up: Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, Quintin Jardine, Stuart MacBride, Christopher Brookmyre
Given that crime is Scotland’s most popular literary genre (and, depending on where you’re from, weekend activity), it’s startling that this is the nation’s first ever international festival of crime writing. Organisers and all-round crime fiction mavens Alex Gray and Lin Anderson aren’t holding back; they’ve seemingly rounded up every Scottish author that ever sketched out a calculating psychopath or brandished a fictional shiv. Stirling gets its sleuth on as it puts up more than 40 writers over three days for author events, sessions on morality and forensics, and the inaugural Scottish Crime Book Award. Bloody Brilliant.
Wigtown Book Festival
Where: Various venues in Wigtown, 28 Sep–7 Oct, wigtownbookfestival.com
Price: £3.50–£32 per event.
Line-up: Still under wraps; booking opens in August
It’s tricky to predict exactly what Wigtown’s scrappy cluster of bookshops will offer up for their annual festival, but the programme is always thoughtful and quirky. Small and proud, Wigtown was recently given a Creative Place Award by Creative Scotland for being an outstanding artsy community of under 2500 residents, a fitting reward for a town with such a consistently purposeful attitude to showcasing contemporary literature. Loving books is Wigtown’s vocation and, with the injection of cash, it’s only on the up and up.
Other book events
Scotland's thriving offbeat literary scene please even the most bohemian of bibliophiles. Edinburgh Book Fringe (10–24 August) is an indie antidote to certain other August literary events in the city, and later in the year Edinburgh Independent and Radical Book Fair (24–28 October) supports writing that’s often neglected by bigger bookshops. The Scottish International Storytelling Festival (19–28 October, Edinburgh), meanwhile, celebrates oral tradition and the ancient art of folktales. And if reading’s great but you find it gets a bit, well, indoorsy, Books, Borders & Bikes (18 & 19 August) should blow some fresh air around your chapters.