BBC Radio 4: The 5ft Shelf

1 May 2018

Do you want to be part of an adventurous BBC Radio 4 project that celebrates books, reading, words, literature and lovely lovely people?  Then do please read on…


According to Charles Eliot – cousin of TS and one-time President of Harvard University – all the elements for a complete education can be obtained by spending 15 minutes a day reading from a collection of books that could fit on to a 5ft long shelf.  Charles Eliot may have gone on to create the Harvard Classics - but what would happen if all sorts of people from all walks of life were asked to curate and populate a 5ft shelf of their own today?      


Author, bibliophile, broadcaster and heavily-bearded-raconteur, Ian Sansom, is coming to Wigtown to find out.  From Friday 11 to Sunday 13 May, Ian will be taking up residency at The Open Book on High Street where he’ll be unveiling a freshly hewn – and enticingly empty – 5ft shelf.  All Ian wants is YOU! – the reading public - to help fill it up.


Just choose a book.  Ideally it should be real and loved and made of actual paper.  It could be about anything – cookery, spoon collecting or some weird obscurity rather than just another literary classic.  It simply has to have spoken to you somehow - unlocked your imagination, helped you to understand the world a bit better or maybe just made your heart sing.  Got something in mind?  Good.  Bring it along to the Open Book during Ian’s residency and use your finely tuned powers of persuasion to convince him of it’s rightful place on The 5ft Shelf.  No really!  It’s that simple.  Oh and there may be a man standing around with a microphone but just try to ignore him.  


To book a slot with Ian at the Open Book between 2pm-6pm on Friday 11/Saturday 12 May or to just find out more, please drop a line to Anne at Wigtown Festival Company: [email protected]


Conor Garrett, Producer, BBC