Festival turns over a new leaf

In a bid to give it the best possible chance of going ahead this year, organisers of the Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival is moving the annual event from June to September.

Thursday, 14th January 2021, 1:50 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th January 2021, 2:02 pm
It’s hoped the Borders Book Festival can return to Harmony Garden this year. Photo: Alex Hewitt

Directors have announced that in order for the festival to return to its rightful home of Harmony Garden in Melrose, with some of the leading lights in literature actually appearing in front of fans, it has been moved to take place from Wednesday, September 15 to Sunday September 19, if circumstances at the time allow.

Having delivered a successful digital programme of more than 40 free author talks and workshops last year, attracting 21,000 views, festival directors Alistair Moffat and Paula Ogilvie have already begun work on the line-up for this year.

All being well by September, a sparkling, splendid cast of authors, stars of stage and screen, sporting heroes and political pundits will assemble once more in Harmony Garden, and running the festival over five instead of four days will allow for an even more packed and diverse programme of events, details of which will be announced in June.

Mr Moffat said: “After a difficult 2020 for everyone, we are delighted to be starting the New Year with the positive news that the Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival plans to return at the new time of September in the hope of being able to welcome our authors and visitors back to Harmony Garden safely.

“Something to look forward to in these dark winter months!

“Our journey back to a version of normality is likely to be longer than predicted as the Covid vaccination programme rolls out to all age groups in our audience.

“Taking into account the likely circumstances in the second half of the year, we will ensure the live book festival meets all and any remaining restrictions.”

The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, which is usually awarded at the festival, is reviewing its plans and will confirm this year’s arrangements in early April.

Meanwhile, judging for the prize is continuing on its usual schedule.

The book festival welcomes the continued support of title sponsor Baillie Gifford, as well as its many other loyal sponsors including Saltire Roofing & Building Ltd, Brett Investment and Bell Financial Planning.