Wigtown Book Festival
It's easy to imagine (we speculate spuriously, and perhaps somewhat unfairly) the good denizens of Wigtown prior to the mid-nineties, stoically putting up with ceaseless jibes about male pattern blandness or the impact on the local, specialised economy from the comercially-driven upstart Toupeesville in nearby South Merkinshire. But to do that would be to unnecessarily detract from the rejuvenation seen in the Dumfries and Galloway town.
In an admirable and creative bid to regenerate a region beset by serious economic difficulties, Wigtown bid for, and subsequently received the honorary title of Scotland's 'book town' from the Scottish Parliament in 1999. With more than one eye on its successful Welsh counterpart, Hay-on-Wye, this year marks the 13th edition of the Wigtown Book Festival, taking place over ten days and featuring a grand total of 180 events. All this in a picturesque 'hamlet' with a population of just 1,000, though one which boasts 12 secondhand bookshops which do a good trade all year round. Impressive (literally).
High profile authors slated to attend include Max Arthur, Julian Baggini, Celia Imrie, Fergal Keane, Maggie O'Farrell, Martin Bell and Alan Bissett. There's also a children's strand featuring a 'Dalek-building workshop' (Hay-on-Wye, look out, you will be exterminat....), an Arab World strand with particular attention being paid to the continuing fall-out of the Arab Spring. There's also going to be an 'Active Scotland 2011' element which seemingly involves lots of lycra and something called blokarting as well as Wigtown's Got Talent, which sees the local aspirants taking on the established writer in...well, a fountain pen fight to the death we imagine.