Wigtown BOOK Festival has launched its online festival programme for 2020 which promises to bring the sights, sounds and tastes of Scotland’s National Book Town to the world.

The festival, which in 2019 brought in some 20,000 people to the town, generating £4.2m for the local economy, has migrated online this year due to coronavirus.

A star-studded line up including Anne Applebaum, Alastair Campbell, Andrew Marr and Maggie O’Farrell will take to the virtual stage alongside 80 other guests from September 24 to October 4, meaning a programme packed full of literary talent.

Cumnock Chronicle:

A key aim of this year’s event is to promote the local businesses which have been hit by the pandemic and will not benefit from an influx of festival goers this year.

Organisers are determined that distance will not stop audiences from savouring the quirkiness, charm and atmosphere of Wigtown, which is home to more than a dozen second-hand and new bookshops.

Andrew Marr, who will be discussing his forthcoming book Elizabethans: How Modern Britain Was Forged, said: “I’ve always wanted to go to the Wigtown Book Festival and I am delighted to be taking part, albeit virtually, and look forward to going there in person one day.”

Adrian Turpin, the festival’s Artistic Director, said: “Wigtown is a distinctive place and we want to share its character with new and existing audiences in every way we can, putting the town in the public eye, nose and ear.

“But there’s a serious point. The UK’s book festivals - large and small - are remarkable because they each reflect the places in which they take place. We want to cherish that diversity in every way, even at a time when we can’t gather ‘in real life’.

Cumnock Chronicle:

“We also hope that next year we will be able to welcome in person many of those who experience Wigtown for the first time through this digital event.”

The annual Magnusson Lecture, in honour of Magnus Magnusson and introduced by his daughter, the broadcaster Sally Magnusson, will also be delivered by Rosemary Goring at the event.

Rosemary said: “It is an honour to be asked to give the Magnusson Lecture."

For more, visit www.wigtownbookfestival.com