Largest and richest chapter yet

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The best litmus test is this – which sessions would I go to, or stand in a queue for, or whine when the box office told me that they were sold out? If the trite and daft answer is “all of them, of course!” then you are doing it wrong.

The Borders Book Festival programme is out on Monday, April 20, and it contains things in it I would never go to in a million years.

And that’s how it should be.

When you are putting the programme together, you must cater for tastes that are most definitely not your own. That’s one of the reasons why the 2015 Borders Book Festival is the largest, most diverse and richest-ever with more than 100 events.

We will have Scottish Opera, the carefully-named Really Terrible Orchestra, the Eat Your Words marquee with all its tasty food-related events, the Born in the Borders Street Market, a unique celebration of the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice in Wonderland with an absolutely star-studded cast – including two from the wonderful BBC film of 1966. We will have a trio of big political beasts – watch this space next week for their identities. The principal sousaphonist of the Really Terrible Orchestra, Sandy McCall Smith, will be in Melrose as will the glorious Celia Imrie. But dig down below the headliners and discover seams of Borders Book Festival gold.

Brilliant young Guardian columnist Owen Jones, afternoon tea with Sue Lawrence, the great cook and food writer, John Lister Kaye, and his lyrical vision of the natural world, Terry Waite and his comic novel, hilarious, outrageous M. C. Beaton, Gavin Francis and his history of human being.

All of our friends will join us to help with interviewing, introducing, entertaining – Jim Naughtie, Kirsty Wark, Sally Magnusson, Viv French, while the wonderful Rory Bremner will send everyone away with a laugh on Sunday night, and a tear in the eye because it will all be over for another long year.

So what sessions would I not go to? Maybe not Sticky Buns and Exploding Pizzas, or Hugless Douglas with David Melling. Or, on the other hand…..

The programme will be published on April 20 with full details of the events in this sneak preview. The 2015 Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival takes place at Harmony Garden, Melrose from Thursday, June 11, until Sunday, June 14.

Tickets will go on sale at midday on Monday, April 20, from www.bordersbookfestival.org or at 0844 357 1060.