John Prescott heads all star line up at the Borders Book Festival

16 June 2010

The Borders Book Festival kicks off tomorrow in the stunning setting of Harmony Gardens in Melrose. The festival has grown in to a national UK event over 4 days in June. This year, the festival will stage the announcements of two of Britain's major literary awards; the inaugural Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction is sponsored by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch and will given to the best novel of 2009, and the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Scottish Arts Council Scottish Book of the Year will go to one of a shortlist of four.

The organisers have once again bagged themselves an impressive line up of speakers, including the recently revealed, mystery guest, John Prescott . An immense personality, who has been at the heart of our political history for over a decade. His story is fascinating, a journey from a humble background to Deputy Prime Minister, and one which is both inspirational and idiosyncratic. This promises to be one of the most absorbing and entertaining sessions of the 2010 festival.

Other big names speaking at the event include, James Naughtie will consider the new political landscape in the wake of the general election, the spell-binding communicator Kate Adie will join Alistair Moffat in conversation, and Gervase Phinn will be talking about his new book, Road to the Dales.

BBC reporter, John Simpson  looks back at the great events of the 20th Century and how a great journalist has interpretted their reporting. The comedian and actress,  Victoria Wood  will talk about books! Books that have terrified, inspired and amused her, as well as life in general! Britain's premier political satirist, Rory Bremner  will be at the festival off the back of his latest tour, Election Battlebus!

The level of interest and attendance at this festival is all the more impressive because the Book Festival takes place over only four nights and three days at the end of June each year. The world-class quality of the writers who come to the festival has driven this extraordinary expansion; Michael Palin, Germaine Greer, Ian Rankin, Iain Banks, Bernard Cornwell, William Dalrymple and many other bestselling names have come to Melrose at midsummer to talk to enthusiastic audiences.

Running in parallel has been the mushrooming of a Schools Gala Programme and a brand new Family Book Festival. These have attracted thousands of children, their parents and teachers and it forms part of a strategy to build audiences and readers for the future. The Borders Book Festival has been solidly supported by Scottish Borders Council, the Scottish Arts Council, EventScotland and many local businesses. And it seems set fair for a bright future

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