Borders Book Festival: Abbotsford to be venue on new dates

THE Borders Book Festival will move from its traditional venue this year, organisers have announced.

The 2021 edition of the Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival had been due to take place at Harmony Garden, Melrose, in September.

But organisers have now announced that the festival will be moved to Abbotsford, with it set to take place between November 2-7.

It is hoped “that Abbotsford will be able to welcome audiences”, say organisers.

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Festival director Alistair Moffat said: “Sometimes necessity can be turned into a virtue.

“With all the variables attached to the COVID pandemic and the necessary restrictions, it seemed prudent to push back the dates of the Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival to November.

“But that allowed us to move the festival to Abbotsford for 2021 and help celebrate the 250th anniversary of Walter Scott’s birth.”

Mr Moffat added: “Over the fireworks weekend we will have a cracker of a festival and with luck, audiences will be welcomed into the glow of celebrations with excellent authors at the home of the one of the greatest.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the festival took place online last year, with guests giving talks every week for several months. The event is normally held over four days in June.

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Plans for this year include a blend of more than 40 live and digital events across a six-day period.

Organisers say a “splendid cast” of authors, stars of stage and screen, sporting heroes and political pundits will assemble for the festival – which includes additional outdoor events.

The house and café will remain open for visitors attending the festival, according to organisers.

Giles Ingram, Abbotsford CEO, said: “In this, the 250th anniversary year of Sir Walter Scott’s birth, we are delighted to welcome the Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival to Abbotsford.

“First and foremost an author’s house, Abbotsford is also a stage set for Scott’s imagination and love of drama.

“Festival-goers will find no better backdrop as they enjoy one of Scotland’s most prestigious literary events.

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“During the festival the house will remain open to visitors wishing to absorb its unique atmosphere and explore Scott’s story, as will the café, gift shop and riverside walks.”

The Borders Book Festival is also traditionally the host of the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, which will be announcing its 2021 winner online and through media partners this summer.

Details of how the Borders Book Festival will host the prize in this special anniversary year will be announced in due course.

Meanwhile, details of the full programme will be available at www.bordersbookfestival.org ahead of the festival.

The festival will return to Harmony Garden in June in 2022, organisers say.

Border Telegraph | News