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 young people’s portfolio into a new and exciting phase but his affiliation with Wigtown Festival Company goes much further back. Having first been involved with the festival as one of our young programmers in 2015 he has grown with the organisation over the last 6 years. A former media and fine arts student in his home city of Durham, Andy has a love of contemporary European art and culture, and when he is not reading YA, he can most likely be found with a non-fiction travel book (coupled with a flat white!). Andy is a judge for the Diverse Book Awards and passionately believes in giving a platform to marginalised voices through our young people’s programmes. Among other things, Andy is responsible for the production and delivery of Wigtown YA - the UK’s largest YA festival, Hooked, year-round young reader & writer development programmes, Book Week Scotland & Live Literature programmes, Book Bridge and youth recruitment, development and accreditation. You can find Andy on Twitter @ThatAndyStewart.

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Isla Rosser-Owen - Cultural Producer

Isla is a former freelance editor with a love of languages and international literature, in particular the contemporary literature of the Middle East and North Africa, and she joined the team at Wigtown after getting the book festival bug from programming Islay Book Festival. Isla works closely with our artistic director to deliver our adult programme each year, which includes the annual book festival and our other events, but also a number of year-round projects. Key projects at the moment include an international literary tourism programme called Spot-lit and a network for Scotland's book festivals. Isla also looks after our writer development programme, which among other things involves organising mentoring for writers in Dumfries & Galloway, hosting the regional literature forum, and planning Writers' Gathering D&G, our annual conference for writers. You can find Isla on Twitter @NextEditionIsla.

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Harvey Lindsay - Marketing 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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Rosie Littler-Davies - 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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Marjorie Lotfi 

Marjorie Lotfi is Co-Founder and Development Director of Open Book, a Scottish charity that runs over 1,500 shared reading and creative writing sessions each year in community projects, libraries, hospitals, prisons, for refugees and with the elderly across Scotland. A former capital markets lawyer with Davis Polk in New York and London, Marjorie now works largely within the third sector in the UK, often specifically on engagement and equality, diversity and inclusion. She is also a widely published writer, with her poems and prose appearing in journals, anthologies, newspapers and on the radio.

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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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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.  

Nicola Wood

Nicola Wood

Nicky went to Edinburgh University and has a degree in English literature and also in law. She qualified and worked as a lawyer, but eventually returned to her first love and became a book editor. She also edited the drama and dance programmes for the Edinburgh International Festival for four years. She and her husband have owned a cottage near Kirkcudbright for three decades, and feel a very close and fond connection to the area. Both have family connections in the Stewartry. She lives in Edinburgh and is descended from Greek revolutionaries and polar explorers.

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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.


Simon Leslie

Sandra McDowall
 

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