Wigtown Book Town

Wigtown was officially designated as Scotland’s National Book Town in 1998 and is now home to a wide range of book-related businesses. A book lovers haven – and with over quarter of a million books to choose from, old and new … it is impossible to escape empty-handed.

Wigtown’s Location

Situated in the southwest of Scotland, with the Central Belt & Ayrshire to the north, Cumbria & the Lake District to the south, the Scottish Borders & Northumberland to the east, and Ireland to the west, this kaleidoscope of beautiful pastoral landscape, rugged coastline, woodland and forest, moorland and mountain is a rich cultural melting pot.

Early Book Town and Byre Books

We were in Wigtown for a family holiday just after it was proclaimed Scotland's National Book Town in 1998. Thinking 'we could do that', we were lucky enough to find two semi derelict barns and some waste ground just off the main street that we could buy. We spent the...

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Wigtown Book Festival

The annual Wigtown Book Festival offers more than 200 events for adults, children and young people including literature, music, film, theatre, arts and crafts. The festival takes place for 10 days each autumn and has welcomed speakers such as Ian Rankin, Clare Balding, Celia Imrie, John Simpson, Joanna Lumley, Douglas Hurd, Sally Magnusson, Richard Holloway, Mairi Hedderwick, Nick Sharratt and Cathy Cassidy.

For more information please visit the Festival website: www.wigtownbookfestival.com

Shopping can be a relaxing day out

With easy access and easy parking in the town’s wide streets and market square, shopping is a pleasure in Wigtown. It’s an easy stroll round bookshops, gift shops, cafes and inns. New businesses and restored buildings all add to the vibrancy of the literary town. There are special facilities, including toilets, for people with a disability.

Buy a book – it’s a gift chosen with care

Wigtown has some twenty book-related businesses, with new and second-hand books galore. Second-hand books in good condition make very popular gifts, with so much thought going into finding just the right book. Stumped for a present? Everyone has an interest – fishing or philosophy, gardening or history – and they’ll love a book about it! How about a 1950s Dandy Book? You don’t have to be a youngster to enjoy an annual.

Paintings, prints and lots of cards

Books and painting go hand-in-hand, and we have specialist businesses that stock a wide range of paintings, prints and cards. Picture-framing and portrait-painting are on offer, too. A portrait in oils, taken from a photo? It’s possible in Wigtown!

Personal service that comes as standard

Most likely, the people serving you in Wigtown shops will own the businesses, and personal service is something they pride themselves in. They’ll help you find exactly the right book or gift, and they’ll advise on art or upholstery, or track down out-of-print publications.

Good food and refreshments

Enjoy a great day out, with meals and refreshments served in the town’s cafes, inns and hotels. We also have our own distillery in nearby Bladnoch – the region’s only distillery – with visitor centre and gift shop. Regular visitors turn their Wigtown shopping trip into a holiday, choosing from the wide range of local accommodation.

We look forward to meeting you when you visit this idyllic corner of south-west Scotland.

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Association of Wigtown Booksellers

Bit late posting this but find it on the iplayer.

www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bf7n60In May 2018, Ian Sansom and Conor Garrett of BBC Radio 4 made their way to Wigtown to record The Five Foot Shelf. It broadcasts today at 11.30am - please tune in.

What's it all about?
According to Charles W. Eliot - President of Harvard and cousin of T.S. - everything required for a complete, liberal education could fit on a shelf of books just 5-feet in length.

But what if people today from all walks of life were asked to recommend books to be included on a five foot shelf? Which books do they think might be required for a complete home education?

Ian Sansom has set a course for Wigtown - Scotland's National Booktown - to find out.
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Packed Programme Unveiled for the 20th Wigtown Book Festival

Scotland’s National Book Town celebrates with 10 days of events and entertainment featuring authors, campaigners, comedians and poets

A packed programme of authors, celebrity speakers and events has been unveiled for the 20th annual Wigtown Book Festival – described as the “brightest jewel on the festival circuit”.

Visitors to Scotland’s National Book Town during the festival, which runs from 21 to 30 September will be able to see broadcaster, writer, and presenter Clare Balding along with bestselling author Patrick Gale, and comedian Susan Calman who danced her way into the hearts of millions on Strictly.

Others include Louis de Bernières, who first captivated readers with Captain Corelli’s Mandolin,celebrated landscape artist Andy Goldsworthy, equality campaigner Jo Swinson MP, comedian and radio presenter Robin Ince, historian Tom Devine, leading crime writer Ann Cleeves, actor, writer and comedian Arabella Weir, philosopher John Gray,mountain walker and writer Cameron McNeish and broadcaster and writer Sally Magnusson.

There will also be a series of events as special celebrations for the 20th festival. These include panel discussions offering writers’ perspectives on how Scotland has changed in the past two decades and what Europe will look like 20 years from now.

Adrian Turpin, Wigtown Book Festival Artistic Director, said: “The 20thfestival is a very special moment for us and we are celebrating with a vibrant and exciting line-up of guests. Some are new to the event, others are old friends.

“We are also seizing the moment to look at a series of wider issues, including the ways in which Scotland has changed – for better or worse – since the late 1990s. And in a country, a continent and a world riven by upheaval and uncertainty we will explore what things might be like when the 40th festival comes around.

“It’s one of the great strengths of an event of this kind that we can bring together some of the most creative people alive today to get new insights and perspectives on every aspect of the past, present, and future.

“Another is that we have a lot of fun.”

Professor Dame Sue Black, the forensic anthropologist who became a household name with her TV series History Cold Case, said:“I am so looking forward to Wigtown book festival. It’s the brightest jewel on the festival circuit and I know it is going to be a really precious experience.”

Stuart Kelly, critic, journalist and author, who has been chairing Wigtown Book Festival events for more than a decade, added: “It’s a festival I absolutely love. What makes it special is that it has carved out its own identity. Every year Wigtown is distinctive.

“It’s also powerfully rooted in the area and the local people, offering a great deal for them and about their region as well as bringing in famous writers from all around the world.”

And 2018 will be no exception with an impressive line-up of authors and poets either based in or writing about, Wigtown and the rest of the southwest Scottish region of Dumfries and Galloway.

Historian Ted Cowan will discuss John Ross of Stranraer’s ill-fated voyage to discover the Northwest Passage, Shaun Bythell talks about his bestselling Diary of a Bookseller one year on and Sara Maitland presents A Pocket Pilgrimage – St Ninian’s Cave.

Julia Muir Watt will look at Whithorn: An Economy of People, and Mike Morley shares stories of sacrifice and bravery from his book Wigtown Warriors. Meanwhile, journalist Stephen Norris explains the unique charm of the Galloway hills and Jessica Fox discusses her re-released memoir Three Things You Need to Know About Rockets, which has now been optioned by a major Hollywood film company.
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