LITERARY sessions are set to return to their rightful place later this month.

In the early 19th century, the centre of the British literary world was not to be found amongst the publishing houses of London or Edinburgh or in the fashionable salons of Mayfair or Piccadilly.

It stood on the banks of the Tweed.

Abbotsford was the house built on words, the home of the first worldwide bestselling author, Sir Walter Scott, and it was a magnet and a mecca for writers, artists and great intellectuals.

William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, JMW Turner, Sir Humphrey Davy and many others basked in the glow of Scott’s reputation and the warmth of his fabled hospitality.

And even after his death in 1832, Abbotsford became a shrine, attracting pilgrims such as Charlotte Bronte and Charles Dickens.

Five years ago, the house was gloriously restored, a wonderful new visitor centre built and now with the launch of the Abbotsford Literary Sessions, old traditions are about to be revived.

Writers are coming back to Scott’s house.

Launching on October 27 and 28, four very different authors will discuss their new books in Ochiltree’s Café.

In association with Baillie Gifford and the Abbotsford Trust, Paula Ogilvie and Alistair Moffat have compiled a programme - two double bills over two evenings.

At 6pm on the Saturday Simon Jenkins, former editor of The Times and bestselling author, will talk about A Short History of Europe – from Pericles to Putin.

Europe has for two millennia been a remarkably successful continent. Yet, despite the importance of its politics, economy and culture, there has not been – until now – a concise book to tell this story.

Simon has written a gripping account of its evolution – a story that twists and turns from Greece and Rome to the Second World War and up to the present day.

Also on the Saturday Ben Macintyre will talk about his new book, The Spy and the Traitor.

Described by the master of the fictional genre, John le Carré, as ‘the best true spy story I have ever read’, the thrilling cold war tale is simply astonishing.

This fascinating account reveals the amazing story of Britain’s most successful Russian agent and is a tale of espionage and betrayal which changed the course of the Cold War.

At 6pm on the Sunday, Penny Junor will offer a lighter touch with her All the Queen’s Corgis.

It is an affectionate and entertaining look at the relationship Elizabeth II has with her most faithful companions. She looks at the dogs that have been bred, owned by and given to the Queen throughout her life, revealing a very private side that is seldom seen.

Neuroscientist Joseph Jebelli will complete the Abbotsford Sessions with a talk about his In Pursuit of Memory – The Fight Against Alzheimer’s.

This wonderful, moving book unpacks the facts and realities behind a more common killer than cancer, and explores the past, present and future of Alzheimer’s disease starting from the very beginning. It is a story as riveting as a detective novel.

A rich, varied programme - exactly the sort of thing that would have made Sir Walter smile.

The Abbotsford Literary Sessions in association with Baillie Gifford take place at Abbotsford Visitor Centre on Saturday, October 27 with Simon Jenkins (6pm) and Ben Macintyre (8pm), and Sunday, October 28 with Penny Junor (6pm) and Joseph Jebelli (8pm).

Tickets available from and 0333 666 3366.