Take a lyrical journey deep into the starry nights of Galloway or enter the portals of an enchanted bookshop that can reveal untold stories about Scotland’s famous writers.

Into the Nicht, a series of night-time walks led by Dark Skies Ranger Elizabeth Tindall and author and adventurer Dan Richards, along with The Bookshop Untold, a storytelling performance full of mystery and adventure, are two of the attractions at this year’s Wigtown Book Festival (24 September to 2 October).

Books are just the beginning at the 10-day celebration of stories and literature which features everything from theatre, music, poetry, workshops and immersive art installations to talks by leading writers, journalists and, historians, archaeologists, naturalists and scientists.

Into the Nicht and The Bookshop Untold are special commissions for the festival which have been funded by EventScotland as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 – which spotlights, celebrates and promotes the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland.

Visitors can join Dan and Elizabeth for night-time walks in which they will experience acoustic art, music, poetry and literature and learn about the wonders of the night sky.

Elizabeth said: To some people the night’s darkness is a thing of fear, a time to close the curtains, turn on the light and sit in front of a warming fire. 

“I see it differently, as a place to work, a place of wonder and somewhere that makes me feel rooted in this planet. It puts us in our place as a spec amongst so many other specs, all wondering at the vastness of universe. 

“That to me is a starry, dark night sky and that’s what we want to share with people as we go deep into the Galloway night. 

“As we move from place to place I will show people the stars, and talk about what they are doing and what nature is doing in this season, while Dan introduces them to stories, songs, music and poetry. It will be a lyrical meditation on the night.”

The Bookshop Untold, which takes place in the Old Bank Bookshop, has been created by director and theatre-maker Nikki Kalkman from Glasgow.

She said: “Audiences will find themselves in an enchanted bookshop, a strange place where, once the closed sign has been turned and the customers have departed, weird and wonderful things start to take place. 

“Here among shelves packed with the works of Robert Burns, Jackie Kay, Walter Scott, Louise Welsh, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Muriel Spark they will discover the untold story of one of Scotland’s great writers.”

It’s a storytelling performance, which includes puppetry, where audiences will also meet a mysterious bookseller for everyone aged 12+ that will take them on a journey through history, Scottish literature, art, love, and loss. 

Adrian Turpin, the festival’s artistic director, said: “This year’s festival is at the heart of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022, and these two commissions are a fun way to tell stories in ways that are imaginative and engaging.

“We are really looking forward to welcoming visitors to our National Book Town to enjoy a huge range of events and activities – all taking place in one of the most beautiful parts of rural Scotland.”

Other things visitors can enjoy at this year’s festival include:

  • The best regional food and crafts at our daily producers’ market, The Kist 
  • Free entertainment and big screen fun at our outdoor venue, The Gardens 
  • Opening night fireworks and pipe band 
  • The incredible Scottish Fiddle Orchestra 
  • Shows at The Swallow, Scotland’s smallest and cosiest theatre 
  • Take a selfie with Big Wig, our children’s festival’s bumbling blue mascot 
  • The story of Lowland whisky at Bladnoch Distillery
  • The Deception Island art installation – a recreation of a 1950s science research hut from the Antarctic
  • Dancing the night away at the festival ceilidh.

Tickets and full programme www.wigtownbookfestival.com

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Notes for editors

About this year’s festival

Wigtown Book Festival has a vibrant programme of more than 200 events for its annual 10-day annual celebration of all things literary in Scotland’s National Book Town. Among the guests will be:

  • Deacon Blue frontman Ricky Ross (Walking Back Home)
  • Karen Campbell (Paper Cup)
  • Robert Harris (Act of Oblivion)
  • Hannah Jackson, The Red Shepherdess (Call Me Red)
  • Chris Brookmyre (The Cliff House)
  • Gerda Stevenson (Letting Go)
  • Outlander star Graham McTavish (Clanlands)
  • Lisa Jewell & Will Brooker (The Truth About Lisa Jewell)
  • Andrew Cotter: Dog Days (A Year with Olive and Mabel)
  • Chitra Ramaswamy (Homelands)
  • Jeremy Bowen (The Making of the Modern Middle East).

About Scotland’s Year of Stories

  • Led by VisitScotland, the Year of Stories 2022 will sustain and build upon the momentum of preceding Themed Years, showcasing a nationwide programme of major events and community celebrations.
  • From icons of literature to local tales, Scotland’s Year of Stories encourages locals and visitors to experience a diversity of voices, take part in events and explore the places, people and cultures connected to all forms of our stories, past and present.
  • Scotland’s Year of Stories will encourage responsible engagement and inclusive participation from the people of Scotland and our visitors.
  • Join the conversation using #YS2022 and #TalesOfScotland.
  • Following an industry consultation, Themed Years will take place every second year to enable more time for planning and collaboration. The next Themed Year will take place in 2024.

For further information and interview requests contact Matthew Shelley on 07786 704299 or [email protected]

Wigtown Festival Company Ltd, 11 North Main Street, Wigtown, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland, UK, DG8 9HN © 1999 – 2018. Wigtown Festival Company Ltd is a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. Scottish Charity No. SCO37984