People

Adrian

Adrian Turpin - Artistic Director

Adrian has been involved in the  Wigtown Book Festival since 2006 when he began to help with booking authors as a volunteer. Under his creative leadership, the festival has won a Creative Places Award, Thistle Award and Arts & Business Scotland Award. As well as programming, he is responsible for the strategic development of Wigtown Festival Company and is leading on the Spot-Lit Literary Tourism project. A journalist by training, he formerly worked as an editor and writer for The Independent, The Scotsman and The Sunday Times among others. He has a BA in English Literature from the University of Oxford and diploma in journalism from the City University, London. In 2017, he received an OBE for service to literature and the economy of Wigtownshire.

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Anne Barclay - Operational Director

Born and raised in Wigtown, Anne returned to the area after graduating in 2006 and has worked for the company since 2007. She often refers to herself as Jack of all trades but master of none because her role ranges from fundraising and accounts to programming the Big Wig Children’s Festival at Wigtown Book Festival and the Big DoG Children’s Festival in the Spring. Anne thrives on seeing the town flourish – busy streets and shops brimming with happy customers - having witnessed the desolation Wigtown experienced in the late 80s and early 90s. She loves working with our army of volunteers and dedicated staff team to help others experience what a special place Wigtown is, in the hope they’ll continue to return year after year.

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Andy Stewart - Producer (Children and Young People)

Andy joined us in the summer of 2019 to lead our CYPE portfolio into a new and exciting phase. A former media and fine arts student in his home city of Durham, Andy is now studying Business Management at the Open University. Andy is a judge for the Diverse Book Awards and a director at Visible Fictions, an innovative and dynamic creative production house based in Glasgow. Our CYPE portfolio is expansive and Andy is responsible for the production and delivery of Wigtown YA; Hooked - a young writers' weekend; Big Wig - the children's book festival at Wigtown Book Festival; Big DoG - a weekend festival for Dumfries; Wigtown Book Festival's education & outreach programmes; Wigtownshire Young Writers & Book Bridge - young reader and writer development groups; Book Week Scotland & Live Literature programmes; and youth recruitment, development and accreditation. You can find Andy on Twitter @ThatAndyStewart.

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Harvey Lindsay - Digital Communications Officer

Harvey joined the team back in 2017 while he finished off his degree in communications, advertising and PR at Edinburgh Napier university. Since then, he has been responsible for the book festival’s marketing, with a focus on social media, the website and regular eshots. Harvey also leads on the Open Book, a project that allows guests to run a bookshop for a week that is booked up for three years in advance and attracts people from all over the world. Over the years he has worked for other charitable organisations throughout Dumfries and Galloway and is always enthusiastic for work that enriches small communities, particularly through books. Outside of work, Harvey is a keen fantasy and sci-fi writer with the goal to be published one day. You can find Harvey on Twitter @harveylindsay5

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Emma Robinson - Event Coordinator

Born and raised in Wigtownshire, Emma has been involved with Wigtown Festival Company for many years, from starting out introducing children's events, to becoming a founding member of WTF (now known as Wigtown YA) and most recently joining the team as Event Coordinator. Emma studied French and Education at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, graduating in 2020. For a time, she lived in Chambéry and Dijon, France, where she loved the chance to develop her French speaking skills. She has always been passionate about Wigtown and the surrounding area and loves seeing the community come together. She is thrilled to have such an active part in encouraging the artistic and literary activity in Wigtown.

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Rosie Littler-Davis - Admin Assistant

Rosie, born and brought up locally, joined the Book Festival crew in September 2021, shortly after graduating from Dundee University with an Honours degree in Biomedical sciences. Her role as an assistant administrator involves Print room bookings, answering phones, stock control plus managing the database and online book shop. Rosie is passionate about animal welfare, sustainability, climate change and books. Her hobbies include music composition and foraging. She thoroughly enjoys the community feel and spirit of Wigtown and is looking forward to developing her role within the Company.

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Esther McGarva - Event Assistant (Children and Young People)

Born and raised on a farm in Wigtownshire, Esther began volunteering at Wigtown Book Festival during her highschool years. She has loved growing up in the beautiful Galloway countryside and working on her family farm. Esther is about to graduate with a degree in Theology at Edinburgh University and will be returning to study for a postgraduate diploma in counselling in the autumn. Having always loved books and bookshops, she is delighted to be a part of the festival team, celebrating the wonder of books and the joy of reading.

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Sandra McDowell - Chair

Born and raised in Wigtownshire, Sandra moved to Wigtown in 1969 where she and husband Allan raised their family, started a business and became embedded in the local community. A Councillor with Dumfries & Galloway Council for 13 years, she has been involved in Book Town since the concept was nothing more than a dream in 1996 and has been a constant champion for the town’s development ever since. She has served on the Board of Wigtown Festival Company since it became a charity in 2007 and is currently the Chair of the charity. She continues to advocate for and in the region and is Chair of Wigtown & District Community Council and Wigtown Community Promotions the organisation responsible for The Wigtown Market, Vice-Chair of the Galloway National Park Association and a Trustee of Crossroads Care and Wigtownshire Women’s Aid. In her spare time Sandra enjoys gardening and spending time with friends and family, particularly her four grandchildren.

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Roger Davis - Vice-Chair

Raised in Edinburgh, Roger moved from the Highlands with his young family to the Wigtown area in 1998 and has no intention of leaving. He has a background in professional social work and social work education having recently completed a 20 year career with the Open University as a social work lecturer/senior lecturer and latterly senior academic manager. Roger continues to sit as a panel member on Mental Health Tribunals and locally is a volunteer delivery driver with the Food Train. Roger joined the book festival volunteer team in 2019 and the WFC board of Trustees later that year. At the AGM in February 2021 he was appointed as WFC Vice-Chair. He retains a longstanding interest in the arts generally as well as in a range of outdoor pursuits including digging holes in the garden and on the golf course.

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Gerry Hassan

Gerry Hassan is Professor of Social Change at Glasgow Caledonian University. He has written and edited over two dozen books on Scottish, UK politics and social change including The Strange Death of Labour Scotland (2012), Caledonian Dreaming: The Quest for a Different Scotland (2014), and The People’s Flag and Union Jack: An Alternative History of Britain and the Labour Party (2019). Several of his books have been regularly used as key texts in universities, schools, as exam texts and have appeared as core texts on the French National Curriculum.

Gerry has a track record of events organisation – as producer of Changin Scotland from 2002-15, to co-director of Scotland’s Festival of Ideas (2014-16), and co-founder of Govanhill Book Festival (2019-21). He has worked in futures thinking and led Scotland 2020 and Glasgow 2020 – leading to the much cited publications: Scotland 2020: Hopeful Stories for a Northern Nation (2005) and The Dreaming City: Glasgow 2020 and the Power of Mass Imagination (2007). Gerry lives in Kirkcudbright and is Book Editor of Bella Caledonia and his writing and research can be found at: www.gerryhassan.com

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Cathy Agnew

Cathy’s professional career has always been involved with the arts – initially working for the BBC in London and New York before becoming a freelance documentary television film researcher and producer.

Since moving to south-west Scotland 35 years ago, she has continued to pursue a working life in the arts, mainly focussing on rural cultural development and regeneration. She set up the South West Scotland Screen Commission; the CatStrand Arts and Community Centre in New Galloway; and was Project Director for the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust in Dumfries – a project to create a National Centre for Children’s Literature in the very place that inspired JM Barrie’s Peter Pan.

Cathy was the founding Chairman of DGUnlimited, a charitable organisation that seeks to bring together and promote a network for Dumfries and Galloway’s artists and creative sector. A former Chairman of LEADER, Cathy is also a Trustee of the Crawick Multiverse in Sanquhar, an extraordinary land art park in a former coal-mine, created by Charles Jencks.

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Beth Cochrane

A writer and poet based in Edinburgh, Beth first became involved with the Wigtown Book Festival in 2015 as an Events Assistant, before joining its Board as a Young(ish) Trustee in 2017. She provides support in areas such as working with young people and has specialist knowledge in contemporary Scottish poetry. She has worked with the Scottish Poetry Library as Events & Volunteers Manager and is currently the Events and Learning Coordinator at the National Library of Scotland, as well as Commissioning Editor for independent poetry press, Stewed Rhubarb. Her writing has appeared with publishers such as 404 Ink, Gutter, SPAM, Speculative Books and Riggwelter. Beth is a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Awardee (2018) and a Cove Park Emerging Writer in Residence (2021).

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Philippa Cochrane

Head of Reading Communities at Scottish Book Trust, Philippa has 25 years’ experience of working in the arts. She currently leads the delivery of Book Week Scotland and all of Scottish Book Trust's programmes for adults and the organisations Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory group. She is passionate about the impact that reading and writing for pleasure can have in learning, mental health and wellbeing, and in supporting people's creativity and sense of connection across communities. Philippa brings her experience in literature programming, schools, adult and community learning, programme design and delivery, and large-scale event management to her role as a Wigtown Board Member. She is also always willing to talk greyhounds and cookbooks with anyone!

Sarah Nyland

Sarah Nyland - Treasurer

When Sarah returned to the UK after nearly 25 years away, she relocated to Wigtown, with her small but notable dog Narco. She had spent nearly 30 years working for Colgate-Palmolive, mainly as a Corporate Management Accountant, and latterly as a Trainer. Her roles took her all over the world, including living in New York, Paris, Poland and Switzerland, and many other interesting places. She officially joined the Wigtown Festival Company Board as their Treasurer in February 2020. Sarah also serves as a Finance Consultant to the Autumn Voices group. Her interests include her dogs, walking, cooking and of course reading. Sarah works part time as a personal/finance mentor.  

Nicolas Walker

Nicholas Walker

Nick grew up in New Zealand but has lived in Scotland for three decades, working as an NHS psychiatrist. He has always had an interest in community projects and the Arts. He has been involved in various community groups, from developing a community garden in Renfrewshire to setting up Wigtown & Bladnoch Community Initiative, and overseeing its purchase of the former Bank of Scotland in the town and its conversion into affordable tenancies and a small bunkhouse hotel.  Since moving to Wigtown in 2010, he has become a Community Councillor and published a book by local historians about Wigtown's WW1 Victoria Cross winner. He has been a volunteer for the Wigtown Book Festival but is now too busy as he is part of the Beltie Books & Café team contributing directly to Scotland's National Book Town. He became a Trustee of Wigtown Festival Company in February 2020.  

Patrons

Allan Little

Sally Magnusson

Bill Paterson

Lady Emily Stair

Duchess of Buccleuch

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Praise for Wigtown Book Festival

Galloway remains one of the nation’s best-kept secrets. And rather than fighting its rural surroundings the festival embraces them.

Avril Lennox, Sunday Times Scotland