Sunday, 14 October 2007

Sunday before last I did a talk/slide show at the Wigtown Literary Festival (Dumfries and Galloway), a visit which brought back happy memories of book-buying trips in the early nineties, shortly after Wigtown became Scotland’s National Book Town. I used to go with my mother, who had an antiquarian book business, and in those days there was just a scattering of secondhand book shops and a couple of guest houses: you could see the potential of the place but it was still very much a market town which had seen better days and was in the process of reinventing itself.

What a change! Wigtown now has dozens of antiquarian book shops and the week-long festival has an important place on the literary calendar, drawing big names. I took the above photo at 11.30 am, just after giving my talk in the County Building (in the background). An hour earlier I had had no trouble parking the car in the market square, but one of said big names, Jeremy Bowen, was about to talk to a full house in the marquee, and suddenly it was gridlock.

I popped into the marquee and stayed long enough to see how it should be done, then had to dash for the Stranraer-Belfast ferry and home to Islandmore.
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