Borders Book Festival set for speedy opening on Thursday

The Borders Book Festival makes its long-awaited return to Harmony Gardens on Thursday, as Sir Jackie Stewart OBE officially opens the weekend of stories, laughter and fun under the festival’s marquees.

By Kevin Janiak
Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 11:14 am
Updated Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 11:14 am
Sir Jackie Stewart will open this year's Borders Book Festival on Thursday. Photo: JEP.
Sir Jackie Stewart will open this year's Borders Book Festival on Thursday. Photo: JEP.

Festival director, Alistair Moffat, said: “At last, it’s time to get going again! Harmony Garden is looking festival-ready, and it won’t be long before we can fling open the marquees and welcome back the audience we’ve missed so much – not only welcome them back to a myriad of inspiring book events, but also to the mid-summer outdoor party that sets our book festival apart as a feast for the body, soul and senses as well as the mind.

“We do remain very mindful that we are holding the book festival in the aftermath of Covid, and there will be masks at venues for anybody who wants one and hand sanitisers on site."

A vast array of literary talent is on the cards over the four days.

Check out who’s coming and when on

Mr Moffat added: “As ever, we’re grateful to our Principal Sponsor Baillie Gifford, Orchard Site and Key Sponsor McInroy & Wood, Family Book Festival sponsor Saltire Roofing and Building, and for the support of Creative Scotland, EventScotland as part of the Year of Stories 2022, and Scottish Borders Council, who’ve continued to help us throughout very challenging times.

Motorsport legend Sir Jackie gets the four-day extravaganza off to a flying start, as he tells the phenomenal story of his life both on and off the track, in aid of Race Against Dementia, the charity he founded.

Following in the slipstream will be Sunday Times bestselling novelist Mick Herron, author of the darkly humorous spy thriller Slow Horses, joined on stage by actor Jack Lowden, who co-starred alongside Gary Oldman and Kristen Scott Thomas in the recent acclaimed TV adaptation, which brings to life the occupants of Slough House, an outpost of the intelligence services where disgraced spies are banished to see out the remainder of their derailed careers.

Running this Thursday to Sunday, June 16-19, the iconic book festival returns to Harmony Garden, Melrose, for the first time since 2019, with a programme of more than 100 events, including: national treasure Joanna Lumley on monarchy; comedian Miles Jupp; crime-writing royalty Val McDermid, Chris Brookmyre and Mark Billingham; current affairs veterans Andrew Marr, James Naughtie and Gavin Esler; former cabinet minister Ed Balls; award-winning The Shadows of Men author Abir Mukherjee; bestselling novelist Jenny Colgan; comedian turned psychotherapist Jack Dee; The Great British Sewing Bee judge, Esme Young; and the BBC’s Clive Myrie with a very special Melrose edition of Mastermind (with the original black chair, lent by Sally Magnusson), amongst many others.

Other book festival highlights include The Scottish Impressionists with Rory Bremner, Ronni Ancona, and Lewis MacLeod, as well as I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Buccleuch, a special Borders Book Festival edition of the legendary BBC radio comedy panel game, I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, hosted by the inimitable Jack Dee, with panellists Miles Jupp, Rory Bremner, Pippa Evans and Tony Hawks and music by Colin Sell.