June 14 – 17
The Borders Book Festival is one of a clutch of small rural literary festivals whose reach and ability to attract big names defies its size. The programme for 2012 included some of the most notable writers in the publishing world, including William Boyd and Iain Banks, as well as broadcasting legend Sir David Frost, and guaranteed crowd pleasers Rory Bremner, Kathy Lette and John Sessions.
It seems that the intimate scale is part of the attraction for many writers, a place where authors mingle with their audience. Michael Palin, Borders Book Festival veteran proclaimed it the best book festival in Britain. A place where there is no formality, just a shared love of the written word and a cause to celebrate it.
Set within the grounds of Melrose’s Harmony House, the festival boasted sold out events and over 13,000 visitors who came despite the foul, sodden weather to enjoy the packed programme.
According to the organizers the highlights included:
‘Melrose Mastermind, with Sally Magnusson stepping into her father Magnus’ shoes to set questions to a set of four celebrity contestants, who got to sit in the original Mastermind chair; Sir David Frost in conversation with Rory Bremner; Ian Rankin talking about bringing back Inspector Rebus; the announcement of the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, which was won by Irish author Sebastian Barry; and Horrid Henry author Francesca Simon thrilling children in the festival marquee.’
Attracting young readers – bookworms of the future – is an important part of the programming for Festival Directors and the family schedule at the Borders Book Festival was a wonderful mix of author events, practical workshops and creative writing competition. Francesca Simon, author of the Horrid Henry books was there, appalling parents and delighting children, Philip Ardagh served the same purpose but for a slightly older audience and Vivien French kept it calm and cuddly for the toddlers with her Teddy Bear’s Picnic picture book.
If you made it along to the Borders Book Festival we’d love to hear your comments.
If you missed it, then don’t despair there’s always the Edinburgh International Book Festival 11 -27 August 2012 and the marvellous Lennoxlove Book Festival, near Haddington. Now into it’s fourth year and scheduled for 2 – 4 November 2012.