borders book festival

Sporting legends and inspiring women are the class of 2019 at the Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival

Sporting legends David Coulthard, Stephen Hendry, Bob Champion, Gregor Townsend andinspiring women Kate Humble, Ruth Davidsonand Susan Calman are just some of the highlights at this summer’s Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival.

The full-line up of over 100 events is announced today (23rd April) when tickets go on sale for the four-day book festival, running from 13th to 16thJune at Harmony Garden in Melrose in the Scottish Borders. 

Alistair Moffat, Festival Director said:

After a long winter and much discontent, the clouds are parting and a brilliant sun will shine on Harmony Garden in June. The marquees will rise, the seats will be set out, the sound systems installed, the show will begin and the spells of enchantment will weave their magic. For four glorious, glowing days, the world will come to Melrose to celebrate at what Michael Palin, Prue Leith and Neil Oliver have hailed as the best book festival in Britain.

In 2019 new faces will be everywhere, from lovely Alan Titchmarsh, Kate Humble, Michaela Strachan, David Coulthard and Fintan O’Toole. And in sessions with fascinating, unexpected storytellers, you will hear a pin drop. The epic tale of Lara Prior-Palmer’s victory in a thousand-kilometre Mongolian horse race will thrill and David Wilson’s amazing life as a former prison governor and criminologist will leave audiences wide-eyed.

The wonderful Walter Scott Prize has laureated the best of historical fiction for ten years and we plan a mighty celebration. In fact, the whole festival, with the strongest programme ever, is just that – a party that rejoices in the best of Britain and is one of the best parties in Britain.”

Entertaining on stage in June will be 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; historian Neil Oliver, 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 andLauraDennison 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 LeonardDoctor 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.

Adults get to go free to any Family Book Festival event so long as they are accompanied by at least one child!

In addition, throughout the four days there will be live music, the Orchard tented food village and plenty of free, fun activities making the book festival a great day out for all the family to enjoy.

Tickets for this year’s Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival are available from Hub Tickets, at www.bordersbookfestival.org or at 0131 473 2000.

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