Mantel to headline Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival

Mantel to headline Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival

Hilary Mantel is among a roster of award-winning authors headlining the Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival, which returns this year after a hiatus owing to the pandemic.

Mantel was the recipient of the 2021 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction with The Mirror and the Light (Fourth Estate) and her win will be celebrated at a ceremony at the festival.

She joins Alexander McCall Smith, crime-writing royalty Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, Christopher Brookmyre and Denise Mina, plus political heavyweights Ed Balls, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband on the bill across six days. 

The programme features more than 60 talks, workshops and activities, and runs from 2nd to 7th November in a new venue at Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott, just outside Melrose in the Scottish Borders.

Alistair Moffat, festival director, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be welcoming the book-loving public back to the Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival this year, even more so in light of everything that the last 18 months has thrown at us.

"The festival will feel a little different this year: we are swapping the warm, sunny days of June for the autumnal beauty of November; and the iconic Harmony Garden for Abbotsford, the magnificent home of Sir Walter Scott.

"It seems totally fitting in this year of the 250th celebrations of Scott to be welcoming a host of great authors to his home, but, on a practical note, holding the book festival at Abbotsford also allows us to ensure that the festival is Covid-safe and that our audiences, whom we have missed so much, can come and enjoy everything we have to offer with peace of mind.

"As ever, we are very grateful to our sponsors and funders for their continued support and are delighted to welcome on board this year as our media partner the Financial Times.

"We very much look forward to returning to Harmony Garden in June 2022, but, for now, we are thrilled to have so many wonderful authors joining us at Abbotsford this November for six days of unbridled literary pleasure.”

Also appearing at the festival are TV presenter and travel expert Michael Palin, political journalist and author Robert Peston, storyteller Mara Menzies and radio presenter James Naughtie, among others.

Michelle McLeod, sponsorship manager at Baillie Gifford, added: “It’s exciting to see the festival return to live events, in such a fitting location, with an impressive cast of writers and thinkers. We are very much looking forward to enjoying all that the festival has to offer, all situated in the spectacular grounds of Abbotsford."

For more information and tickets, visit the festival website.