Alexander McCall Smith will kick off the 10th anniversary celebrations for the Walter Scott Prize with an operetta.
Founded in 2009 by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, the prize rewards outstanding new fiction set in the past with £25,000 to the winner, at a ceremony at Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival in Melrose, Scotland, every summer.
The Prize and Festival have commissioned an operetta written by acclaimed novelist McCall Smith, which will receive its world premiere on Saturday 15th June at 12pm. With music composed and performed by Tom Cunningham, the operetta takes the character of Dandie Dinmont from Scott’s novel Guy Mannering and weaves a story and music around it. Children from Melrose Primary School will perform alongside professional opera singers.
Actor Jack Lowden will also join in the festivities and will read extracts from the six shortlisted books at the prize giving ceremony on Saturday 15th June at 1.45pm. On Friday 14th June, three of the shortlisted authors assemble for a panel event at 6pm, chaired by book blogger Simon Savidge. Samantha Harrison, Andrew Miller and Robin Robertson will discuss their work and answer questions from the audience.
Prize sponsor and founder, the Duke of Buccleuch, said: "What a feast of exceptional writing has been showcased in Melrose in the 10 years since the founding of the Walter Scott Prize. Through the alchemy of historical fiction we have, together, crossed centuries and continents and met a cast of characters who I am sure have touched us all in some way or another. This year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Ivanhoe, and as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the prize with panache, we will think back on our local genius who set it all in motion.”
Tickets for all three events are available at www.hubtickets.co.uk/bordersbookfestival/online.