Wigtown Book Festival 2019 | Programme

Whether you visit the festival every year or this is your first time, we wish you the warmest of Galloway welcomes. 

Take a look at Lucy Cartwright’s beautiful cover illustration, and you will find words in the fields, pages in the trees and questions sprouting from the ground. It perfectly embodies this year’s Wigtown Book Festival. 

Words flourish in few places as they do in Scotland’s National Book Town. So much of the culture and history of this beautiful part of south-west Scotland is written in its landscape, a central theme of 2019. And we hope that the seeds that we plant in our children’s and young people’s programmes will grow over the years to come. 

As ever, our sincere thanks to everyone who has made this year’s festival possible – generous sponsors, dedicated funders and, especially, our volunteers. You have done so much to nourish us all year. We hope you enjoy the harvest. 

Children’s Programme

Big Wig makes returns to welcome children and families to the 21st birthday of the festival which features almost 50 events for our youngest audiences. Aimed at 0-13s, the programme features new authors as well as some of our favourites.

This year's Book Bridge series, aimed at 10-13s, features authors including Victoria Williamson, Rossie Stone and Emily Ilett. You'll also find a two-day workshop with author Vivian French and artist Eilidh Muldoon on the second weekend. Look out for the logo throughout the programme.

We believe that hearing and telling stories is an experience that everyone can enjoy so whether you’re a reluctant reader, have a reading disability or additional support needs, we promise there’s plenty in the programme for everyone to enjoy. We are thrilled to work in partnership with PAMIS this year and look forward to welcoming tellers with the storytelling yurt on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 September.  Look out for the access logo throughout the programme. 

And there’s plenty for families to do around the festival with The Kist offering local and national food, drink, art and craft, The Map House / Taigh nam Mapaichean exhibition at the former Bank of Scotland, and our Very Hungry Caterpillar window spotting competition.

Save with our Family Day ticket - how to buy


WigWAM stands for Wigtown - Words, Art, Media and is the new name for our young people’s festival, programmed and run by a dedicated team of volunteers aged 13-20. For the first time this year, you will find WigWAM events in our main listings. And they are open to all ages - but free for under 26.

Follow the team on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.


Aimed at bridging the gap between Big Wig Children's Festival and the WigWAM programme for young people, Book Bridge is aimed at 10-13 year olds. 

Events include a range of authors and a two-day workshop with author Vivian French and illustrator Eilidh Muldoon.

Indigenous Languages

In the UN International Year of Indigenous Languages, we celebrate Scotland’s own. Activities include two days of drop-in Gaelic events and the relaunch of Wigtown’s Scots and Gaelic poetry prizes. We also ask why minority languages matter and welcome Celtic cousins from Galicia. 

This Farming Life

A series of events on the life agricultural, including the Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen and three of Galloway’s finest farmer-writers. Plus put your wellies on and see behind the scenes on inspiring visits to three very different farms. 

Lost Province

The ancient history of Galloway is written in its place names, which reveal an extraordinary variety of languages: Gaelic, Anglo- Saxon, Scots, Norse and Cumbric, the Brittonic language closely related to Old Welsh. The Lost Province celebrates the region’s past as a melting pot, through new writing, translation, illustration, speaker events and even an archaeological survey. 

Out & About

From brewery tours to birding, cycling to botany, we encourage visitors to make the most of a trip to the festival by getting out of Wigtown and seeing some of the many other attractions that make Galloway special. We even provide ride shares. 


Supported by Regional Screen Scotland, Bookspired is a mini-film festival within WBF19, where cinema and books meet. Films include 1984, The Snow Goose and Angelou on Burns, Elly M Taylor’s remarkable documentary about Maya Angelou’s fascination with Scotland’s national bard. 

In association with Driftwood Cinema 

Focus on Galloway

Epic North

Epic North is a short strand that takes a fresh look at Northern European epics, from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Finland and Scandinavia. Sessions include discussions of a key passage of the text. Book them all for a serious discount. 

Friday 27 September
Saturday 28 September
Sunday 29 September
Monday 30 September
Tuesday 1 October
Wednesday 2 October
Thursday 3 October
Friday 4 October
Saturday 5 October
Sunday 6 October