5 Questions with Ian and Joyce Cochrane

20 June 2014

Tell us about your connection to Wigtown and the Book Festival.

In 2004 we had the completely mad idea of selling our home in Edinburgh, leaving our jobs (teacher and librarian) and coming back to Wigtownshire to run a bookshop (Joyce is originally from Newton Stewart).  We bought the Old Bank Bookshop in the July – opened for the festival that year and in early January the following year our daughter Helena was born. There was nothing but the rawl plugs in the Old Bank when we bought it....we now have over 5 rooms of books on practically every subject and a room dedicated to sheet music. Ten years on and Ian is still building new shelves!


Sum up your festival experience in 5 words.
Crazy, hectic, frantic, exhausting, wonderful


What's your favourite festival memory?
Having all the wonderful children’s authors in our garden! Simultaneous water-rocket launches in the back garden outside the Children’s Marquee. A visit from Pedro the turkey to the Old Bank Bookshop! Helena showing a rocket scientist from NASA her ‘moon’ book in the shop. Having to suddenly turn into a venue one very wet and windy Saturday morning and meet the amazing Ian Sansom.


Who would be your dream author to appear at the Festival?
Alice Walker, Benjamin Zephaniah, Margaret Atwood, Anita Shreve, Zadie Smith, Bill Bryson, Paul Theroux, William Boyd,  Armistead Maupin, Nawal-el-Saadawi, Sara Paretsky, Keith Richards, (yes, he collects books!),  Michael Rosen, Judith Kerr, Shirley Hughes,...we could go on...


Give us one recommendation or top tip for Wigtown, the Festival or

A very big brown sign at the border with England saying ‘Turn left for Wigtown, Scotland’s National Book Town.’