Sunday, 9 January 2011

Return to Syrupville

As has now become a tradition, nay institution, the boss and I made a triumphant, wine-fuelled return to the Wigtown Book Festival late last year.

For those who haven’t been paying attention, Wigtown is a wee place in Dumfries and Galloway that has the distinction of being officially hailed as Scotland’s Book Town, thanks to the ridiculously high proportion of book shops there. And they’re all second hand book shops, at that. Heaven.

In 2009 we were there as book fans but this time was different - this time we were journalists. The difference? We got some free tickets for stuff (thank you, Adrian) and so were able to attend a few more events than our negligible funds allowed last year. To be honest we were kind of hoping for backstage passes to behind the scenes parties with the drugs and the strippers etc, but it turns out book festivals aren’t quite the same as Jedward gigs, or at least they didn’t invite us if they are. No matter, maybe they’re waiting for us to prove ourselves and we’ll get to venture further behind the veil next time.

The festival began in 1998 and has steadily built itself into one of the premier literary events in the country, attracting big names from all corners of the writing world. This year was no exception, and numbered among those writers we didn’t see were Ian Rankin, Michael Foley, Margo McDonald, Val McDermid, James Robertson, Alasdair Gray, Alex Bellos, Fiona Watson, Matt Haig, Kathryn Schultz and Martin Berners Lee, to name but a, eh, eleven. I’m sure they were all superb and their books wonderful but I didn’t see them and haven’t read them so can’t really comment (got a few on the pile, mind). Those writers we did see, however, were uniformly excellent, and we'll be giving you a full insight in the forthcoming February issue of Words with JAM.

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