Stephen Hendry, Kate Humble & Neil Oliver open Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival on Thursday


A BOOK festival launching this week will host a number of celebrities across the four-day event in the Borders.

The Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival begins on Thursday 13th June in Melrose, near Tweedbank and live events featuring top writers, sporting heroes and political pundits will take place.

Audiences across the event will hear snooker legend Stephen Hendry discussing the highs and lows of an incredible sporting career and Neil Oliver’s passion for the history of the British Isles.

Wildlife expert Kate Humble will share her joy on the simple act of walking and encountering life in its many unexpected forms and rugby coach Gregor Townsend discusses his career as coach and player of the Scotland national side.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Further highlights include gardening expert and much-loved writer Alan Titchmarsh, comedian and writer Susan Calman, politician Ruth Davidson and BBC Newsnight presenter turned novelist Kirsty Wark.

The festival’s director, Alistair Moffat, said: “The stage is set for four days of lively debate, fun and laughter.

“As well as the big names in sport, entertainment and politics, the programme has some lesser known, but equally fascinating, unexpected storytellers too.

“We look forward to welcoming our audience, authors and supporters to another bumper weekend of pure enjoyment.”

Michelle McLeod, sponsorship manager at title sponsors Baillie Gifford, said: “It’s incredible how much the festival has grown since it started 15 years ago.

“From its humble beginnings of four authors and fewer than 300 people, it’s now a thriving literary festival with more than 100 events and nearly 30,000 visitors. “

The festival will also host the 10th anniversary of the prestigious Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction and the £25,000 prize will be awarded to the winner on Saturday 15th June from a shortlist including Peter Carey, Cressida Connolly, Samantha Harvey, Andrew Miller, Michael Ondaatje and Robin Robertson.

Writers such as the How to Train Your Dragon author Cressida Cowell, Vivian French, Doctor Who’s David Solomons and Pru Irvine will entertain and energise the younger crowd in the popular Family Book Festival, which takes place throughout the weekend.

Mairi Kidd, Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland said: “The team at Borders Book Festival have once again pulled off a diverse, current and imaginative programme with something for everyone, from seasoned festival-goers to those who might be tempted along for the first time by the chance to hear from a sporting or comedy legend.

“It’s particularly good to see such a strong offer for younger audiences and their families, and that Scottish writers sit firmly at the heart of the programme.”

Tickets for this year’s Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival are available from Hub Tickets, at or at 0131 473 2000.