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People

Staff


Adrian

Adrian Turpin - Artistic and Strategic 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. 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. Anne is responsible for the day to day operations of the company, as well as fundraising and accounts. Having witnessed the desolation Wigtown experienced in the late 80s and early 90s, Anne thrives on seeing the town flourish, with busy streets and shops brimming with happy customers. She loves working with our army of volunteers and dedicated staff team to help others experience Wigtown's unique charms.

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Lee Randall - Guest Festival Programmer

With nearly 40 years' experience in journalism, publishing and producing cultural events, Lee's history with Wigtown Book Festival began with a request to chair an event. Lee has been heavily involved in the festival ever since, returning each year as a chair as well as hosting online events and writing website content during the pandemic. Her recent projects include producing Borders and Carlisle book festivals, mentoring through Creative Scotland and programming the Granite Noir Crime Fiction Festival. Lee is thrilled to be curating a unique and exciting programme for Wigtown Book Festival's silver anniversary this 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 programme at Wigtown Book Festival; Big DoG - Scotland's only stand-alone children's book festival; The Big DoG School's Tour; 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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Rosie Littler-Davis - Commercial Officer

Rosie, born and brought up locally, joined the Book Festival Team after graduating from Dundee University with an Honours degree in Biomedical Science. Rosie manages commerce and stock control, including overseeing the annual festival bookshop and managing Number 11 bookshop. She organised last year's annual Kist; our art fair showcasing local talent, and manages upkeep and booking for the The Print Room, our year-round event venue.

Rosie is passionate about animal welfare, sustainability, climate change and books. Her hobbies include music composition and foraging.

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Bee Williams - Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Children’s literature enthusiast and aspiring author, Bee is deeply passionate about good storytelling. She is therefore thrilled to be a part of the Book Festival mission of cultivating the literary culture of the region. Bee oversees marketing strategy, campaigns and content creation, including email marketing, social media administration, asset design, copywriting and market research. Bee also manages the Wigtown Book Festival website and is responsible for ticketing administration. Bee writes in her spare time and has won a number of literary competitions, most recently long-listed for the Mslexia Flash Fiction Award. She has two young children and enjoys writing and performing folk music.

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Laurie Bannister - Event Coordinator

Having grown up in Wigtownshire, Laurie is no stranger to The Wigtown Book Festival. Working for almost ten years in the festival’s Writers’ Retreat, she went on to gain a degree in Festival and Event Management from Edinburgh Napier University. With over five years experience in the events industry, predominantly working with luxury spirits brands, Laurie has returned to work in Galloway. After years of working in Glasgow and Edinburgh she is thrilled to be able to bring her skills home and make a positive contribution to the local area.

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Claire Yuen - Administrative Assistant

The daughter of local booksellers Claire has been visiting the area since 2001. Originally from Bedfordshire she relocated to Bladnoch with her family in August 2022 and received such a warm welcome through all of the local events that she felt at home straight away. Claire is a lover of stories, Art and good food. Her background is in the voluntary sector where she has held various roles all focussed on helping people. She has two school aged children, who are loving life at Wigtown Primary. As well as general administration and office management, Claire is supporting the administration of Wigtown Poetry Prize and The Autumn Kist.

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Kevin Witt - Sales Assistant

Kevin has lived in the Wigtownshire area for 22 years. He is currently convener for Wigtown and Bladnoch Community Initiative and was previously a Councillor for six years on Wigtown & District Community Council. He has BA Honours in Fine Art and Graphic Design from Camberwell College of Art and Design. Kevin is an avid reader and is pleased to bring his previous experience in the book trade to this post. Kevin supports the day to day operations and customer service at Number 11 bookshop.

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Amy Johnston-Stewart - Sponsorship Coordinator

Amy moved to Whithorn in 2013 after marrying a local farmer. She has a degree in History of Art and Spanish and worked in London and Edinburgh as an account manager in the wine trade for 9 years. She has three children, loves yoga, running and has always been an avid reader. She also enjoys walking her dog – and children – in the glorious Galloway countryside.

Her first foray with the Wigtown Book Festival was in 2015 when she opened a Pop up Wine Bar, 'The Book Cellar'. It proved popular and she loved it so much she ran it again for another couple of festivals. When an opportunity came up to work for the festival company in 2022, Amy jumped at the chance. She is now the Sponsorship Co-ordinator for the book festival and other events throughout the year. Amy is responsible for Friends of the Festival, Legacies and assisting with Fundraising.

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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 high school years. She has loved growing up in the beautiful Galloway countryside and working on her family farm. Esther is about to graduated last year with a degree in Theology at Edinburgh University and is currently studying for a postgraduate diploma in counselling. Having always loved books and bookshops, she is delighted to return to the festival team, celebrating the wonder of books and the joy of reading. Esther is supporting the delivery of Big Wig Children's Book Festival and the Wigtown YA programme.

Trustees


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Cathy Agnew - Chair

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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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.

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.

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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!

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Sandra McDowell

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.


Edward Hocknell

Shaun Bythell

Beth Goodyear

Patrons


Allan Little

Sally Magnusson

Bill Paterson

Lady Emily Stair

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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