5 Questions with Ian Barr

11 September 2015

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

In a former life I was the first Book Town Development Officer (what a title!) and so the Festival now is a wonderful opportunity to go back to Wigtown and enjoy meeting old friends and take in some thought provoking readings.


2. Sum up your festival experience in 5 words.

Stimulating, relaxing, natural, awe-inspiring, uplifting.


3. What's your favourite festival memory?

I have so many festival memories as a co-organiser for three years and as a book lover returning to Wigtown. One of my favourite memories is of driving the late Alastair Reid and late Peter McCarthy (a broadcaster, stand-up comedian and travel writer) back to Glasgow after the 2001 Festival (I think) and listening to their fabulous conversation.


One snatch of conversation went something like this:


Alastair: ‘Have you ever been to Costa Rica?’

Pete: ‘Yes.’

Alastair: ‘You know that they don’t have an army, and that in the event of war the Police becomes the Army?’

Pete: ‘Yes, I knew that, and that the Constitution states that if the country is at war, and the Police have become the Army, then the Boy Scouts take on the duties of the Police!’


It was fabulous stuff and just one example of what made the Festival special for me.


4. Who would be your dream author to appear at the Festival?

I used to love the work of Douglas Coupland, and still do but with slightly less fervour, so he would be my dream author.


5. Give us one recommendation or top tip for Wigtown, the Festival or D&G.

On the way to or from the festival, check out the Loch Arthur Farm shop and café at Beeswing. It is fabulous and is part of a charity that supports people with learning difficulties who help make the award winning cheeses and operate the farm.