Elizabeth Tindal and Stephen Rutt

The Saltmarsh Library Event

County Buildings
In person event
Mon 4 Oct
10:00 UK

Join award-winning nature writer Stephen Rutt and ranger Elizabeth Tindal as they talk about the majesty and mystery, culture and history of Wigtown Bay’s unique marshlands - the subject of Stephen’s new work, The Saltmarsh Library, which was commissioned by Wigtown Book Festival in 2020 as part of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters. The event will also feature excerpts from Colin Tennant’s accompanying film of the same name.

The salt marshes are one of south-west Scotland’s greatest natural assets. Sometimes known as The Inks, they are now part of the 2,845-hectare Wigtown Bay Local Nature Reserve, sitting within the Unesco Biosphere. The reserve hosts three species of migrant geese and overwintering whooper swans that migrate from the arctic. The area is also special for its fish species with sparling and twait shad breeding, and eelgrass beds that are important wildlife habitats.

The Saltmarsh Library will look at the saltmarsh as a keeper of stories. The marshland literally shaped Wigtown as tide patterns changed, and in its turn it was shaped by man. It has seen human drama like the drowning of the Wigtown Martyrs and has hidden secrets (such as evidence of the Chernobyl disaster revealed via isotopes in mud). As a huge carbon sink and at the mercy of flooding, it also reveals tales of our future climate.

About the speakers

Stephen Rutt

Stephen Rutt has published three previous books, The Seafarers, recipient of the Saltire First Book Award and a Roger Deakin Award, and Wintering: A Season with Geese and Eternal Season (2021). He studied on the literature and environment MA at Essex University and in 2015 spent seven months at the bird observatory in North Ronaldsay.

Elizabeth Tindal

Elizabeth Tindal has worked as a countryside ranger for more than 20 years. She wrote the original plan for Wigtown Bay as a Local Nature Reserve. During this year’s Wigtown Book Festival, she will be running six walks with Stephen Ritt on Wigtown’s saltmarsh.

Wigtown Book Festival Events

This year's programme is a combination of physical and digital events. Please ensure you book correctly. Digital events will stream through the homepage of wigtownbookfestival.com with young adult events streaming through the YA page.

Unless otherwise stated, events will last between 45 minutes - 1 hour.

Full Terms and Conditions for attending this year's Festival in person can be found on our website.

Asking questions
On live-streamed events, questions can be put into the live chat box on YouTube or by clicking the 'ask a question' box below the stream on the homepage of the website and they will be forwarded to the speakers.

Buy the books
Browse our online bookshop, which will stock all our speakers’ latest titles.

If you have any queries about any of the Wigtown Festival Company events, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing mail@wigtownbookfestival.com.