Tell us about your connection to Wigtown and the Book Festival
My friend Adrian Turpin was living in Wigtown and through him and our network of acquaintances, word filtered back about a terrific book festival taking place there each autumn. Intrigued by the idea of a Scottish book town, I’d visited once before, but out of season, and the charm of the place failed to grab me. What a mistake. Now you can’t keep me away. I am delighted – not to mention honoured – to return each year to chair author events and hang out with dozens of people who’ve become cherished friends.
Sum up your festival experience in 5 words
Community. Conviviality. Inspiring. Happy. Unmissable.
What’s your favourite festival memory?
I can never pick one favourite anything. An incomplete list: hearing women thank Fay Weldon for changing their lives. Sharing the stage with my pal Roberta Taylor. Hearing Candia McWilliam speak. Any session containing Ian Sansom, John-Paul Flintoff or Robert Twigger -- and one last year with all three! Making new friends in the authors’ retreat.
Who would be your dream author to appear at the Festival?
Don’t be silly, they are all a dream, both to chair and to listen to from a seat in the audience!
Give us one recommendation or top tip for Wigtown, the Festival or D&G
Try to spot a belted Galloway (cows that accessorise always get my vote). Eat a meal at the Reading Lasses. Take a leap of faith on an author you’ve never heard of.