THE line-up for the seventh international festival of literature and thought at Traquair House has been announced.

This year's Beyond Borders Festival, which is titled The World in Scotland, and Scotland in the World, features a host of local and international writers, artists, politicians, and diplomats.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, historians and writers Alison Weir and Peter Frankopan, and emerging talents such as Isabel Buchanan will all appear at the weekend of discussions and talks.

Mark Muller Stuart, executive director of Beyond Borders told the Peeblesshire News: “Now more than ever, Scotland holds enormous potential to make a significant contribution in the realm of both domestic international affairs.

"In this year’s programme of panel discussions, visual and performing arts pieces, walks, and cycle rides, we are proud to harness the cultural heritage of Scotland and the Scottish Borders and to harness Scotland’s cultural heritage as a means to encourage local, international, and intercultural exchange.”

BBC Chief International Correspondent Lyce Doucet will chair a discussion between the First Minister and Staffan de Mistura as they explore the increasing role played by women in peace-making and politics.

They will also discuss Scotland’s support of initiatives such as a recent partnership between the Scottish Government and the United Nations, which brought ten members of the Syrian Women’s Advisory Board to Scotland.

The Special Envoy will also take to the stage with Scottish broadcaster Allan Little in a discussion of his life and work in some of the most volatile places on earth, including Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Syria.

Little, who is a BBC Special Correspondent, admits he enjoys Beyond Borders. He said: “[You’re] surrounded by people from all walks of life, but who have something in common, and they bring with them, from all the four corners of the earth, their own wisdom.”

Looking at the war in Iraq from a different angle, former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson tells the story of how she was outed as an agent, and veteran diplomat Sir Kieran Prendergast recounts the personal impact within the UN of Blair’s decision to go to war.

Exploring other international themes, Zimbabwean lawyer David Coltart and author Petina Gappah discuss their experiences of Mugabe’s Zimbabwe; President Clinton’s former advisor Tim Phillips examines Cuba- US relations; and the British Museum’s Jonathan Tubb, biographer of buildings James Crawford, Roger Michel from the Institute for Digital Archaeology explore the protection of cultural heritage.

On a more literary and historical note, author Alison Weir gives a talk on Mary, Queen of Scots and the murder of Lord Darnley – in the 450th Anniversary year of Mary, Queen of Scots’ visit to Traquair House – Jerry Brotton explains the connection between Elizabethan England and the Islamic World; Peter Frankopan tells tales of the Silk Roads; and William Dalrymple and Isabel Buchanan recount stories of their travels and experiences in Pakistan, India, and China.

Beyond Borders is staged at Traquair House on the weekend of August 27 & 28.

Weekend tickets, priced at £45, and day passes, which cost £24, are available from the festival website at