Author Val McDermid and rugby star Gavin Hastings back Wigtown Book Festival fundraising appeal

23.09.21 wigton book festival scotland book town border

Household names including author Val McDermid and rugby star Gavin Hastings have thrown their support behind a fundraising appeal by Wigtown Book Festival. 

The festival began in 1999 and has been fundamental to rebuilding the economy of Wigtown, which is Scotland's National Book Town. 

Organisers say they need to find 25 thousand pounds to protect its future and ensure it thrives. 

Authors have spoken about the urgent need to support and value Scotland's cultural events. 

After going digital last year, the emphasis for 2021 is physical first - bringing authors and audiences back together in a COVID-secure environment. 

It will run until 4 October and has a programme of events that range from talks by authors to walks, workshops, lectures, awards, theatre and picnics. 

Val McDermid (who is at the festival to talk about her new book 1979) said: "Wigtown Book Festival has played a key role in transforming the economy of the entire community, so it's really uplifting to see it back and bringing us all together again. Let's hope a massive success this year will secure its future." 

Rugby star Gavin Hastings (Who will be speaking about The Legacy of the Lions) said: "I'm very much looking forward to taking part in Wigtown Book Festival and following in the footsteps of all the other writers from a sports background who have appeared there in the past.

"I really appreciate how it has grown into an event with such broad appeal, catering for an immense range of tastes and interests - and believe that it deserves our support to ensure that it continues to thrive." This year's festival will be one of the biggest of its kind in the country during 2021, even though it has been scaled back and will take place over 12 days rather than the usual 10, as part of its extensive COVID security measures.