Welcome to the festival

23 August 2021
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Welcome back

Since we started planning in the uncertainty of spring, “physical first” has always been the mantra for this year’s festival. In 2020, following the first lockdown, we turned on a sixpence to produce an entirely digital Wigtown Book Festival. It was what was needed to keep the show on the road and we hope it managed to give a sense of the event and the town not only to those who were missing their annual fix, but also to new audiences around the world.

But there’s no getting away from the fact that Wigtown is a very particular place with a particular atmosphere. A visit to the festival isn’t just about events, but also the smell of secondhand bookshops, the snatched views of the Galloway landscape and the chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones. 

So the prospect of being able to bring audiences back in the flesh is an emotional one. And, while the ongoing restrictions mean there will be fewer events than usual and no main marquee (thank you to Wigtown Church for stepping into the breach!), we hope this year’s festival will feel like at least a step towards normal.

If the festival has a theme this year, it’s one of celebration, of the things that we have missed during the pandemic and all the things we have come to value even more: culture, nature, conversation, the power of the written word. Most of all, it’s a celebration of being together, and never has that been more desired.

To new visitors, then, we say “Hello, stranger” and offer the warmest of Galloway welcomes. We hope this will be the start of a long acquaintance with Scotland’s National Book Town and all who sail in her. And to the rest of you, welcome back. It has been too long.

Adrian Turpin, Artistic Director

P.S. If you really can’t make it in person, don’t panic. We will also be streaming a wide selection of events throughout the festival.