South Scotland

Wigtown book festival gets under way

Wigtown guests Image copyright Other

A 10-day celebration of literature is under way in Wigtown, Scotland's national book town.

Hundreds of events are scheduled in the Dumfries and Galloway town until 2 October.

Organisers said it was the largest ever festival they had staged with a wide range of talks, performances and exhibitions.

This year's proceedings will include both a writer and an artist in residence.

The main theme of the festival this year is "islands" although there will also be a political feel with a look at the implications of the Brexit vote.

'Specific atmosphere'

Among the speakers on the opening day are former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind and ex-Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis.

The busy programme also includes comedian Susan Calman, long-distance cyclist Mark Beaumont, journalist Sian Williams and chef and broadcaster Prue Leith.

Adrian Turpin, artistic director of the festival, told BBC Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme that the event was generating about £3m a year for the local economy.

He explained its appeal: "A good festival, and I think we are a good festival, is about creating a specific atmosphere for a specific period of time.

"It's slightly different from ordinary life, where you can lose yourself in that.

"I think that's one of the things that people come down here for. It gets them away from the centre in a way, cares slip away and there are people standing in queues, and instead of talking about their shopping or whatever, they'll be talking about books. It's a really lovely atmosphere."

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