Wigtown Book Festival unveils full line-up and top picks

Wigtown Book Festival has unveiled its full line-up – with guest programmer Lee Randall offering twenty five top tips for this year’s 25th annual event. 

Tickets go on sale on 1 August for the festival, which takes place in Scotland’s National Book Town from 22 September to 1 October. 

It will be a 10-day feast of activities and events including the chance to hear a host of authors discussing their latest books, plus poetry, film and music. 

The line up will include Hamza Yassin, Maggie O’Farrell, Judy Murray, Michael Morpurgo, Josie Long, Robin Ince and many more.

There will also be a series of powerful lectures and discussions on key issues ranging from the climate emergency to the 25th anniversary of the Scotland Act.

Guest programmer, Lee Randall, said: ‘Ever since I began chairing events in Wigtown, I’ve told people that a piece of my heart remains here year-round.  

‘To programme the 25th event has been a privilege and a challenge. How do you celebrate Wigtown’s journey while looking to the future?  

‘I hope that what we’ve come up with adds up to a full 10 days of delights – a really exciting mix of brilliant contemporary fiction and the very best in non-fiction alongside superb debut novels and Galloway yarns. 

‘This all rubs shoulders with wild walks, music, film, poetry, lectures and discussions.’

Lee’s top picks

  1. Hamza Yassin – Be a Birder: The man with the most infectious smile in TV talks about winning Strictly, a Sudanese childhood, dyslexia, Highland life and his passion for birds.  
  2. Maggie O’Farrell – The Marriage Portrait: The 2020 Women’s Prize Winner transports us to Renaissance Ferrara where a young noblewoman is forced into a dangerous marriage.   
  3. Judy Murray – The Wild Card: Who better to serve up a novel centred on the world of tennis than player, coach and tennis mum Judy Murray?   
  4. Henry Dimbleby – Ravenous: The UK food tsar who resigned in March at the government’s refusal to tackle junk food. This searing book explains why he was so worried.  
  5. Joanne Harris – Broken Light: A welcome return to Wigtown with her new novel inspired by Stephen King’s Carrie. Menopausal Bernie Moon takes control of her life after uncovering a hidden power.  
  6. Gavin Esler – Britain Is Better Than This: The former BBC Newsnight presenter and festival stalwart returns to offer a funny, forensic and lacerating take on why the country is falling apart.  
  7. Josie Long – Because I Don’t Know What You Mean and What You Don’t: The comic brings new stories to our stage exploring life’s funny, painful and poignant aspects.  
  8. Michael Morpurgo – Tales from Shakespeare: We welcome back one of Britain’s greatest storytellers. He’ll be discussing a life in books and why he is taking on Shakespeare.  
  9. Sally Magnusson – Music in the Dark: The broadcaster and author returns with a new novel about the legacy of the Highland Clearances, inspired by her grandmother’s family’s experiences.  
  10. Pat Nevin – Football and How to Survive It: The “accidental footballer” discusses his fabulously entertaining account of his turbulent time as player and CEO at Motherwell.  


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

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