Emerging from email blizzard

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UNLIKE the 10,000 people who come through the gates of Harmony Gardens in Melrose every year in June, I don’t get to see much of the Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival.

Sad person that I am, I tend to stay in the office, working my way through a blizzard of emails, sorting out authors who missed their flights, a publisher who sent the wrong books, or schoolchildren who have lost their ticket/mum/sandwiches.

But this year will be different and I SHALL go the ball!

Unlike festival director Alistair Moffat, who appears to spend his time swanning around the lawn (how many linen suits can one man own?) interviewing authors, and – this is the part that really annoys me – enjoying himself, I shall be taking the 2011 book festival very seriously.

Of particular interest and for obvious reasons, my faves will be Andrew Murray, Mark Beaumont, Robert Powell and Larry Lamb. I will definitely be at their sessions, in the front row – checking that all is well, of course.

Then there are our lovely patrons Jim Naughtie and Rory Bremner. Rory is sold out, but I’ll nip over to the Morrison Hall to watch him on the big screen and by the time of the festival,

Jim’s session will be sold out too, so I’ll need to pull rank and squeeze in at the back to listen to this remarkable man talking about 20 years in Radio Four. It amazes me how he can talk so amusingly off the cuff, without a note.

Through a sense of duty. I suppose I’d better go and listen to the aforementioned Mr Moffat droning on interminably about DNA, otherwise I’ll never hear the end of it.

Then it will be a trip down another sort of memory lane with Dr Finlay and David Rintoul and who could resist an evening with Tom Conti?

And finally a glass of something when it is all over. Phew!

Paula’s choices

z Andrew Murray, Lochcarron Marquee, Thursday, June 16 at 9.15pm. £9, £7 concession).

z Mark Beaumont, Harmony Marquee, Thursday, June 16 at 7.45pm. £9 (£7).

z Robert Powell, Festival Marquee, Saturday, June 18 at 4.30pm. £13 (£11).

z Larry Lamb, Festival Marquee, Sunday, June 19 at 6pm. £13 (£11).

z Rory Bremner, Festival Marquee, Friday, June 17 at 9pm. £13 (£11); also screened live at Morrison Hall, £6).

z Jim Naughtie, Festival Marquee, Sunday, June 19 at 7.30pm. £13 (£11).

z David Rintoul, Harmony Marquee, Sunday, June 19 at 7.45pm. £9 (£7).

z Tom Conti, Festival Marquee, Sunday, June 19 at 9pm. £13 (£11); also screened live at Morrison Hall, £6).

z Alistair Moffat, Festival Marquee, Sunday, June 19 at 3pm. £13 (£11).