SOME of the best writers in the Borders are about to prove that it's good to talk.

Later this month a packed programme of events will be staged in Galashiels to promote the spoken word.

TalkFest will feature readings from poets and playwrights as well as workshops for aspiring writers.

Opening the first chapter of the inaugural festival at the MacArts Centre on Wednesday, January 24 will be a global online seminar being hosted by local writer Jules Horne and Canada's Reneltta Arluk.

They will take in-depth look at different perspectives on creating theatre based on location and environment.

And hopefully reveal how your surroundings influence your writing?

The free webinar, which runs from 4pm to 6pm, is followed on the Thursday evening with a host of emerging playwrights showcasing their work.

A cast of professional actors, Gowan Calder, Keith Fleming, Pauline Lockhart, Taqi Nazeer and Vivien Reid, will perform scenes from plays by the likes of Thomas Clark from Hawick, West Linton's Anita John, Kirsty Jobling from Melrose and Galashiels filmmaking duo, Sarahjane Swan and Roger Simian.

The curtain goes up on Thursday evening's Extracts at 7pm.

Selkirk playwright Tom Murray will take centre stage on the Friday for a presentation in script development.

Extracts from his new play, What Lies Beneath?, which was commissioned by the Firebrand Theatre Company, will be performed by cast members Janet Coulson, Fiona Wood and Ellie Zeegan.

There will also be a rare opportunity to see a performance of Rona Munro's short play, Brace Position, on the Friday.

The Friday evening double-bill begins at 7.30pm.

TalkFest concludes on Saturday, January 27, to hear a work-in-progress reading of Selkirk playwright Jules Horne's play Handfast for the very first time.

Handfast will be performed by the Nutshell Theatre Company, featuring Nicola Jo Cully, Joanna Holden, Robin Laing, Victoria Liddelle, Sandy Nelson and Mark McDonnell, from 7.30pm.

Also on the Saturday, Morna Young will host the practical playwriting workshop, In Your Own Words, between 11am and 1pm.

The author of Lost at Sea and Netting will share her experiences of capturing real voices on the page using individual exercises and group activities.

Martin O'Connor, who scripted Building a Nation and Theology, will host the Writing for Performance: An Introduction workshop on the Saturday from 2pm to 4pm. The whistle-stop, nuts and bolts session is aimed at giving beginners an insight into some of the techniques used by playwrights.

Secrets for keeping an audience enthralled will be revealed in the third workshop of the day. Oliver Emanuel will discuss the techniques writers use to build tension in their scripts during What Is Said And What Is Not Said from 4.30pm to 6.30pm.

Further details of the festival and links for buying tickets are available from