Over 22,000 people flocked to this year’s Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival, held in Melrose over four days from Thursday to Sunday night.
It was a massive 31% increase on visitor numbers from last year and included 8,000 people who visited the festival’s new expanded site in The Orchard, located over the road from the main Harmony Garden site.
This new feature included food and drink stalls, café, bar and a new event venue and with nearly 100 events over four days it was the biggest festival so far.
In addition, there was a culinary theme to chime with the Year of Food and Drink in 2015 and to mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, there was exclusive one-off performance featuring Rory Bremner, John Sessions, John Bird and Patricia Hodge.
This was the 12th book festival which has steadily grown to be a major feature of the Borders summer calendar of events and festival director, Alistair Moffat, was delighted: “We’re over the moon. Not only was our food & drink innovation, The Orchard, a resounding success, but we kept the magic in the main festival site, with even bigger audiences enjoying the superb speakers and events on offer.”
Among the other big draws this year were politicians Gordon Brown and Alex Salmond, broadcasters Peter Snow, Andrew Marr and James Naughtie, lingerie tycoon Michelle Mone, Terry Waite, Sir John Lister Kay, Jenny Colgan and Jonathan Miller to name just a few from the packed four-day programme.
English author John Spurling won the sixth £25,000 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction for his novel set in imperial China, The Ten Thousand Things.
The author was at the festival on Saturday night receive his prize from the Duke of Buccleuch.