Hamza Yassin, Judy Murray and Henry Dimbleby at Wigtown Book Festival

The first weekend of the 25th Wigtown Book Festival saw Scotland’s National Book Town welcome a host of celebrities and special guests.

Among those taking part were Judy Murray, who spoke about her new novel The Wild Card, and Hamza Yassin, the Strictly champion, cameraman and CBeebies ranger, who led a birdwatching walk and discussed his book How to be a Birder.

Former UK Food Tsar Henry Dimbleby, who resigned in February due to the government’s failure to tackle junk food, spoke about his book Ravenous – How to Get Ourselves and our Planet into Shape.

His book explores why our world food systems are going so badly wrong and the disastrous consequences for individuals, health systems and the whole of UK society due to poor diet and highly processed foods.

Henry Dimbleby.

It also looks at the immense damage the food industry causes to the environment and its impact on climate change.

Henry gave a stark warning that: ‘It isn’t just the planet that our food system is destroying it is also destroying our bodies.

‘In this country, by 2035, the NHS estimates that it’s going to spend as much treating type two diabetes, which is one condition of diet related disease alone, as it spends on cancers today. 

‘The Treasury thinks that of the 2.5 million people who are out of work a huge number are being affected by muscular skeletal diseases, type two diabetes, hypertension, diseases of diet

‘If you play this forward, we become not just a sick nation, but an impoverished one.’

Other well-known names included Pat Nevin, who discussed his book Football and How to Survive It, his highly entertaining account as life as a player then CEO of Motherwell.

Over the weekend children and families were also invited by visiting Belgian illustrator Tom Schamp to help create a large artwork inspired by Wigtown and the book festival.

Adrian Turpin, festival artistic director said: ‘We couldn’t have wished for a better start to the 25th annual Wigtown Book Festival. The town has been really buzzing with energy – and there’s still a week left to go with a huge amount more to look forward to.’

Among the attractions during the rest of the festival, which runs until 1 October, are:

  • Jeremiah Bourne in Time – Nigel Planer – who shot to fame as Neil in The Young Ones – discusses his new time-travel novel. Saturday, 30 September, 8pm.
  • Remembering Fay Weldon, My Mentor – Nigel Planer reveals how their close friendship was sparked by a short fan letter. Sunday, 1 October, 10.30am.
  • Fearless – Meet Louise Minchin for her first-hand account of swimming to the California shore from Alcatraz, free-diving under ice in darkest Finland and cycling across Argentina. Tuesday, 26 September, 6pm.

Read more news and reviews on Scottish Field’s book pages.

Plus, don’t miss the October’s issue of Scottish Field magazine.