Year of Coasts and Waters

Festival 2020

2 September 2020

The year 2020 has been designated Scotland's Year of Coasts and Waters, 12 months designed to spotlight, celebrate and promote opportunities to experience and enjoy Scotland's unrivalled coasts and waters, encouraging responsible engagement and participation from the people of Scotland and visitors.

As part of the national celebrations, Wigtown Book Festival is delivering a series of events and activities, supported by NatureScot, many of them celebrating the Solway Firth and Galloway’s own shores.

The festival programme starts on Thursday 24 September with the world premiere of the song cycle Ninian’s Gift, written by novelist Alexander McCall Smith and composer Tom Cunningham, which looks at the lives of the early Christian saints, notably St Ninian, who brought Christianity to Scotland.

In other events Ann Lingard will be talking about The Fresh and the Salt, her exploration of the Solway and its unique habitats and heritage; Professor Carol Hill of Glasgow University will take a trip through Dumfries & Galloway’s seafaring history.

Tamsin Calidas reveals a little of the complications of island living in her book I Am an Island, while (in a pre-festival event on 9 September) historian David Gange discusses his award-winning book The Frayed Atlantic Edge, which details his epic kayaking journey from Shetland to Cornwall.

The centrepiece of our Year of Coasts and Waters project is a new book, The Saltmarsh Library, commissioned from award-winning author Stephen Rutt, which explores the stories - of man and nature - which are contained in the remarkable marshland of Wigtown Bay. That will be published in 2021 and you can find out more about it here.

In the meantime, during the festival we will be releasing short films that explore the glory of Wigtown’s saltmarsh with Stephen and local ranger Elizabeth Tindal. There is also a shore foraging event with acclaimed forager Mark Williams and an exhibition of photographer Colin Tennant’s beautiful photographs which document the work of Solway’s fishing fleets.

Look out also for more Year of Coasts and Waters content in our podcast and the Bookshop Band’s daily chat show.

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