Wigtown offers 'bookselling residencies'

Wigtown offers 'bookselling residencies'

Scotland’s national book town, Wigtown in south-west Scotland, is offering members of the public the chance to experience the lifestyle of a bookseller in a series of residencies that will begin at this year’s Wigtown Book Festival (26th September-5th October) and continue for the next 12 months.
 
The Open Book project will invite interested parties to apply to live in and run a local bookshop, renamed The Open Book, for a period of up to six weeks. Anyone is invited to apply, with preference given to artists, writers, thinkers, and "bibliophiles". Participants will be given a crash course in bookselling and will be asked to contribute to a blog outlining their experiences, as well as keeping the shop open for a set number of hours a week.
 
Adrian Turpin, director of the Wigtown Festival Company, which is running the project, explained: “For many booklovers, the idea of running a bookshop is a dream. But it can be a tough lifestyle and one that demands dedication and inventiveness, as the many bookshops in Scotland’s Book Town show.”
 
He added: “The internet has had a huge effect on booksellers. The Open Book project is intended as an original way to examine some of the issues facing bookshops in the age of Amazon. It will also bring exciting new creative energy to the town.”
 
The project was partly inspired by the American author Jessica Fox, whose novel Three Things You Need To Know About Rockets (Short Books Ltd), describes how she left her job working for Nasa in California and, on a whim, moved to Wigtown to work in a local bookshop. She still lives in a bookshop in the town six years later.
 
Fox said: “Coming to Wigtown was a life-changing experience for me. I hope that it will have a similar effect on people taking part in the next 12 months.”
 
Situated in the countryside of Dumfries and Galloway, Wigtown was awarded the designation Scotland’s National Book Town in 1997 and is home to more than a dozen bookshops and book-related businesses. It also hosts the Wigtown Book Festival, which was set up more than a decade ago to help regenerate the economy of the town’s rural community. The festival became a charity in 2007 and is now the second largest literature festival in Scotland after Edinburgh. The 2014 Wigtown Book Festival will feature more than 200 events over 10 days, including appearances by Kate Adie, Clare Balding, Jonathan Miller, and Kirsty Wark.

Members of the public can express interest in being part of The Open Book project by sending an email to theopenbookwigtown@gmail.com.