Organisers say tickets sales were up by over 10% on last year for the four-day programme, which ran from Thursday to Sunday night, and included appearances by Absolutely Fabulous star, Jennifer Saunders, former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, comedian Rory Bremner, television wildlife presenter Steve Backshall and former prime minister, Gordon Brown.
This year’s Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction went to Robert Harris for his novel, An Officer and a Spy, for which he received a cheque for £25,000 and a trophy from prize sponsor, The Duke of Buccleuch.
Festival director Alistair Moffat commented: “This was simply the best, the best festival ever. Not only did 17,000 come through the gates at Harmony, the variety of events was startling and the audience responded hugely. Can’t wait for next year.”
Mr Harris was delighted to have won the Walter Scott Prize after losing out four years ago to Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.
“To win is fantastic. Walter Scott is a great hero of mine and the shortlist was amazing,” he said.