Volunteering at Wigtown Book Festival

Fred Kluit

15 August 2023

Wigtown Book Festival, as well as each branch of our year-round programme, would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our volunteers. Fred Kluit, one of our festival stalwarts, shares his story of coming to Wigtown and his long history with the festival.

"Roddy Doyle and Louis de Bernieres first lured Ans and me to Wigtown for a weekend. That was roughly 15 years ago. The tip came from Dumfries Tourist Information. The experience was so good that a year later we experienced the entire festival using Garlieston as our caravan base. A few years later, a cottage at East Kirkland Farm became our permanent home for the festivals. Events and rounds with the dog alternated. On the wall hung a homemade list of events for which we had bought tickets. Every day the pile of newly purchased and signed books grew higher.

Each subsequent festival, introductions continued to grow into friendships with local people. The combination of all this created the idea of spending extended time in Wigtownshire after our retirement. That became a reality in 2018. We live here and have since been happy to give some time and energy back to the festival that holds such an important place in our lives. Together with other volunteers, we organise the pop-up Festival bookshop and book sales after the events. And once a week I spend part of a day behind the counter in No. 11. All because of a visit to the tourist office in Dumfries asking "if there was anything fun to do in D&G that weekend."