Programme launched for biggest ever Borders Book Festival

The Borders Book Festival launches its biggest ever programme today, with over 90 public events featuring a dazzling line-up of stars.

Monday, 20th April 2015, 11:48 am
Gordon Brown is among the big names set to return to this year's Borders Book Festival

There will also be an expansion of the festival site in Melrose this year to celebrate the Year of Food and Drink Scotland 2015.

The festival, which is sponsored by Brewin Dolphin, has attracted some of our best-known writers, actors and broadcasters to the Borders for the June 11-14 event.

Appearing for the first time this year will be Patricia Hodge, Celia Imrie, Andrew Marr, Jonathan Miller, Dom Joly, Michelle Mone and Terry Waite. Political giants Alex Salmond and Gordon Brown will also be appearing, in two major events.

A big crowd came to the Borders Book Festival in 2014.

Familiar and much-loved faces returning to the festival for sell-out events will include James Naughtie, Peter Snow, Rory Bremner, Sally Magnusson and Christopher Brookmyre, all speaking in the beautiful surroundings of Harmony Garden in Melrose.

The Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival will celebrate the Year of Food and Drink in 2015 with an exciting new venue, Eat Your Words, an expansion of the festival site to include a specially-created food and drink-themed tented village in the Orchard opposite Harmony House, and a bustling outdoor street market on St Mary’s Road.

New venue Eat Your Words will host household names from the world of food and drink, including food writers Sue Lawrence and Prue Leith, and wine guru Nikki Welch, as well as live music events of jazz, Americana and swing presented in association with Galashiels based MacArts.

The Born in the Borders Street Market on St Mary’s Road, connecting the two sites, will offer the best in local, fresh produce for sale in a colourful covered market.

The Orde Café will provide delicious tea/ coffee and cakes, whilst our fabulous new bar, The Book Bar, will offer a selection of Borders beers, gin and tonics or simply a chilled glass of bubbles. The Brewin Dolphins Borders Book Festival is supported as part of the Year of Food and Drink 2015, delivered by EventScotland and VisitScotland.

To mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, the festival will be embracing all things Alice; with events for adults including an exclusive one-off performance featuring Rory Bremner, John Sessions, John Bird and Patricia Hodge, and a host of events for children including treasure hunts, storytelling, and the infamous White Rabbit appearing in costume to meet children throughout the weekend.

Following sell-out concerts in London and New York, The Really Terrible Orchestra provide another hot ticket at the festival. The orchestra, founded by festival regular Alexander McCall Smith, claim they are ‘so bad that they’re good’ and have become an overnight sensation. Further highlights include the announcement of the winner of the sixth £30,000 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, which features such fiction luminaries on its shortlist as Martin Amis, Helen Dunmore, John Spurling and Hermione Eyre.

For the younger audience, there is the ever popular Family Book Festival running throughout the Saturday and Sunday, with additional events taking place on Friday afternoon. This year includes fun-filled events with best-selling children’s writer David Almond; well-known illustrator Nick Sharratt and firm favourites Vivian French, David Melling and Gill Arbuthnott. The packed programme also has children’s workshops and craft activities, storytime and rhymetime, as well as pop-up music theatre and storytelling from Scottish Opera.

The Family Day pass will be available, where for £35, five family members can enjoy any number of events on either the Saturday or Sunday. It’s the ideal way to make the most of the Family Book Festival.

In addition, on Thursday June 11 primary schools from across the Scottish Borders will attend the Schools Gala Day, sponsored by Knight Frank. Pupils will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of tailored events including: a Jekyll and Hyde workshop by the National Library of Scotland; Battle of Britain with historian James Holland and other fun events with Vivian French, Barry Hutchison and James Campbell.

Alistair Moffat, festival director, said: ““We’re proud to present our biggest, most diverse and most tasty Book Festival programme ever. We can, hand on heart, say there is something to entertain everyone over the weekend, whether its opera, politics, adventure, history, cookery or simply superb fiction. Thank you, as always to our headline sponsor Brewin Dolphin, Scottish Borders Council and all our supporters for helping to make this possible.”

Jonathan Tweedie, Head of Brewin Dolphin’s Edinburgh Office said: ““We are looking forward to another great literary weekend in Melrose. The programme for 2015 offers another wonderful celebration of writing, with authors from a great variety of genres gathering in the Borders to share their stories and their expertise; we are thrilled to have such illustrious names joining us again this year.”

Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture, europe and external affairs, said: “With high calibre speakers appealing to people of all ages and interests, I have no doubt this year’s Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival will be another huge success.

“The festival makes an important contribution to promoting books and reading to young people, and to the local economy. The addition of Eat Your Words is a wonderful way for the festival to celebrate the relationship between food, drink and books as part of Scotland’s 2015 Year of Food and Drink.”