People from aound the world tuned in to the Boswell Book Festival’s virtual events last week, with viewers from the UK, America, Italy, Canada, Australia, China and Norway amongst other countries.

The Schools and Families programme saw over 40 schools signing up.

It was announced back in March that this year’s festival would return online because of the pandemic and to allow it to reach a wider audience across the globe.

The online variation of this year’s festival allowed organisers to announce a star-studded cast including broadcaster Andrew Marr, Andrew Cotter with ‘labradorable’ Olive and Mabel, Royal lady-in-waiting Lady Anne Glenconner, stand-up comedian Janey Godley and Melanie Reid, who, in her master class session, pointed out that ‘Memoir is the ultimate selfie.’

Festival Director, Caroline Knox, said: “The response to our first virtual book festival exceeded all our expectations with the registrations pouring in over the week. Talks will be available on demand until the end of June so there is still time to watch those you missed.

“It was wonderful to see our faithful Scottish audience extend around the globe and attract people who would never have been able to attend in person.

“The reaction this year has made us realise the appetite for this genre is worldwide and future festivals are likely to be hybrid events with both live and digital talks.”

With international links, through the Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee, the Toronto International Festival of Authors and the Italian Pisa Book Festival, an audience without borders was guaranteed. There was special interest in America in Lady Glenconner’s memoir and she accepted an invitation from the bookseller, Daniel Goldin, to speak in Milwaukee in person when restrictions are lifted.

Caroline sid: “It was a joy to finally deliver the Festival after a year of setbacks and to find that our unique theme of life stories, biography and memoir for which we have built a loyal Ayrshire audience also has appeal nationally and globally.

“We are extremely grateful for the generous donations we have received that allow us to look forward with confidence to being back at Dumfries House from May 12-15, 2022.”