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Packed programme announced for 2012 Borders Book Festival

Published: 4 Apr 2012 10:000 comments

A SPECIAL version of TV programme Mastermind will be staged at this year's Borders Book Festival in Melrose.

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Festival stalwart Rory Bremner teams up with Kirsty Wark and James Naughtie for a unique one-off event, hosted by Sally Magnusson.

They will be joined by TV interviewers Sir David Frost and Jeremy Vine among the headliners at the event, which runs from June 14 to 17. The full line was announced today (Wednesday).

Giants of the literary world will grace the stages, with a rare appearance by prizewinning author Hilary Mantel to mark publication of the sequel to Wolf Hall, Richard Holloway talking about his much-heralded memoirs Leaving Alexandria, and three of the UK's most acclaimed novelists William Boyd, Andrew Miller and Patrick Gale speaking about their new books.

And for those with a taste for danger, Andy McNab will launch his new thriller, James Holland will describe the exploits of the Dam Busters, and adventurer Mark Beaumont returns to the festival to speak about the Transatlantic rowing expedition that was nearly his last.

Other big names to feature in 2012 will be Peter Higgs, discoverer of the Higgs boson particle, actors and writers Art Malik and Susan Wooldridge, reunited for the first time since The Jewel in the Crown, Scots Makar Liz Lochhead, war correspondent and Hezbollah hostage Charles Glass, and bestselling Scottish authors Ian Rankin and Iain Banks.

Alistair Moffat, festival director said: "Within the constraints of four days, one walled garden, four marquees and the collective energy and imagination of the festival team, how can I keep insisting that this is the best yet? Easy. Make it different.

"This year we have 34 authors new to Melrose: two of Britain's very greatest novelists, a visionary television programme maker and inventor of entire genres, two of our best known politicians and two of Britain's most gifted radio broadcasters. And not only do we have wonderful guests, we have also assembled the best interviewing team imaginable: Kirsty Wark, Sally Magnusson, Rory Bremner and Jim Naughtie. And there is much, much more to delight us all this summer in Melrose."

The Family Book Festival once again offers fun for all ages, with acclaimed author Philip Ardagh, Horrid Henry author Francesca Simon, Dr Death and the Med-evil Medicine Show - a scientifically and historically accurate panto for children and adults alike - and the chance to spot Where's Wally? throughout the weekend as he celebrates his 25th birthday at Harmony.

The 'Family Day Pass' makes a return, while the Schools Gala Day on 15th June, sponsored by Knight Frank, offers a programme of events with authors, illustrators, performers and stand-up comedians, aimed at nursery and primary children.

The shortlist for the third Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction was also announced at the programme launch.

The Duke of Buccleuch, sponsor of Prize, pronounced the six books to make it to the shortlist: PURE by Andrew Miller, ON CANAAN'S SIDE by Sebastian Barry, HALF BLOOD BLUES by Esi Edugyuan, THE STRANGER'S CHILD by Alan Hollinghurst, THE SISTERS BROTHERS by Patrick de Witt, and THE QUALITY OF MERCY by Barry Unsworth. The winner of the Prize will be awarded at a special event at the Borders Book Festival on 16th June, while some of the shortlisted authors will take part in a separate panel event.

Councillor Graham Garvie, Scottish Borders Council's Executive Member for Culture said: "The Festival grows from strength to strength every year. Under Alistair Moffat`s inspiring leadership, it has become a truly international event which brings huge benefits to the Borders economy and also much enjoyment and enlightment to all who attend."

And he added: Scottish Borders Council are proud to be associated with and pleased to continue their support for it."

The festival welcomes several new sponsors, as well as consolidating its long relationship with lead sponsors Brewin Dolphin. Jura Single Malt Whisky will sponsor the Walter Scott Prize, providing the shortlisted authors with the opportunity to stay in their special lodge on the Isle of Jura, sample the award-winning whisky, and write a short story based on their stay.

The Scottish Borders Brewery expands its festival involvement this year with marquee sponsorship, whilst the festival enjoys the continued funding and sponsorship of Scottish Borders Council, Creative Scotland, Knight Frank and Davidson Chalmers.

The Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival has focused its charitable support on one partner this year: Borders Children's Charity, and 99% of every penny raised will go directly to help Borders children who are in desperate situations.

Jonathan Tweedie, Brewin Dolphin, said: "We are delighted to support the Borders Book Festival, now firmly established as a cultural highlight both in the Borders and in Scotland. Following on from the success of last year, we are looking forward to another high-quality, diverse programme of authors and events in June."

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