Borders Book Festival 2017 programme launched
- Henry Northmore
- 27 April 2017
Highlights include John Cleese, Michael Parkinson, Judy Murray, Joanna Trollop, Arabella Weir, Richard Ingrams and Anne Reid
The Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival always punches above its weight with an impressive lineup of authors, writers and speakers descending on Melrose very year. 2017's fest is no exception with a diverse programme that will appeal to kids, adults, serious readers and book geeks.
Here's our pick of the events on offer.
For comedy fans
Monty Python and Fawlty Towers star John Cleese is the big draw, in conversation with Rory Bremner (Sat 17 Jun). Mr Bremner will also be appearing in his own right on the same day. Arabella Weir of Fast Show fame talks about her career in comedy, TV and film (Thu 15 Jun). And while Jay Rayner is most famous as a food critic anyone who has read any of his reviews will know he can be devastatingly funny.
For TV addicts
Anne Reid (you'll know her from Last Tango in Halifax and Victoria Wood's Dinnerladies) presents an evening of stories and song (Thu 15 Jun). Adventurer and naturalist Steve Backshall will be on hand to discuss his close encounters with the world's deadliest animals (and the Strictly judges) (Sun 18 Jun). Get an insiders guide to Top Gear and now The Grand Tour with Script Editor Richard Porter (Sun 18 Jun). Round the weekend off with chatshow king Michael Parkinson (Sun 18 Jun).
For history buffs
One of the key events at the Borders Book Festival is the annual Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction presented on Sat 17 Jun. Ben Macintyre discusses the history of the SAS (Sat 17 Jun); Alec Ryrie talks about the impact of protestants on the modern world (Sat 17 Jun) while Sarah Fraser tells the story of Henry Stuart in her new book The Prince Who Would be King (Sun 18 Jun).
For crime fans
Crime is probably the most popular genre in fiction so no surprise to see Mark Billingham and Chris Brookmyre in their 'unflinchingly sweary two-man show' (Fri 16 Jun), Val McDermid (Sat 17 Jun) and Ann Cleeves (Sun 18 Jun) putting in an appearance.
For politics junkies
With a General Election just a week before the festival there's plenty of politics to get your teeth into. Jim Naughtie examines Trump's rise to power (15 Jun), Misha Glenny discusses cyber security (Fri 16 Jun); Alan Little looks at the future of democracy (Fri 16 Jun), Tim Shipman's new book covers the lead up and impact of Brexit (Sun 18 Jun) and former Minister for Women Joan Ruddock talks about her memoir Going Nowhere (Sat 17 Jun).
The two day Family Book Festival features Curtis Jobling (author of the Max Helsing series, Sat 17 Jun), Philip Ardagh (Sun 18 Jun), Captain Firebeard's School for Pirates (Sun 18 Jun), Derek Landy launching the tenth instalment of his Skulduggery Pleasant series (Sun 18 Jun) and more.
For sports fanatics
Meet the Yorkshire Rows, Four Mums in a Boat, who rowed across the Atlantic (Thu 15 Jun); A History of the Melrose Sevens shines a spotlight on local rugby (Sun 18 Jun), while Judy Murray, tennis coach and mother of national hero and world number one Andy, will discuss her autobiography Knowing the Score (Fri 16 Jun).
For culture vultures
Cultural correspondent Melvyn Bragg helped found the Borders Book Festival and returns with his new novel Now is the Time (Fri 16 Jun). Other big name writers worth catching include Joanna Trollop introducing her 20th novel City of Friends (Sat 17 Jun) and Richard Ingrams (Sat 17 Jun) with a new biography of Ludovic Kennedy.
Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival, Harmony Garden, Melrose, Thu 15–Sun 18 Jun.